November is eight months away and already the pundits are predicting the outcome of the midterm elections. I won’t burden you with the details but the bottom line is “Democrats are in trouble.” For one reason or another, they argue, the Republican Party will gain seats in both the House and the Senate. They might even win complete control of Congress.
To me, it is a prospect too horrible to contemplate. But, if you step back and take a look at Congress as it is now, how much more damage can the Republicans do to America than they’ve already done?
The House of Representatives has become a loony bin in the grip of the Tea Party and the Senate is hobbled by filibusters and other procedural tricks. This is the worst Congress ever, and Americans have had it with both major parties.
But all is not lost. Despite the intricate prognostications, people tend to vote the way they’ve always voted, and there are more Democrats in America than Republicans. Of course, the number of Independents is increasing and it’s anybody’s guess who they’ll favor in November. My bet is they will tend to vote against incumbents – in both parties.
One reason for the pundits’ pessimism is the recent special election in Pinellas County, where Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink. But I don’t think that’s a reliable predictor.
Sink reportedly said some pretty dumb things. She is quoted as saying immigration reform is needed because there are so many jobs for hotel maids and so on in Florida. And she damned Obamacare with faint praise, promising to fix it when she got to Washington. Furthermore, her commercials toward the end of the campaign were rather tepid, suggesting she would work with Republicans to achieve bipartisan results.
That’s obviously no way tro fire up your base. And, naturally, the base did not bother to vote.
I think that’s the key in November. If Democrats don’t bother to turn out, they’re doomed indeed. And if the party chooses uninspiring candidates like Alex Sink, they can expect to get beaten.
The Republicans, for all their internal squabbling and backbiting, are fired up. They share a common hatred of Barack Obama (I don’t have to tell you why, I’m sure). They will be going to the polls in droves, that’s for sure.
And if Democrats stay home, they will get what they deserve.
On the other hand, if Democrats vote – and persuade their friends and relatives to vote – they will certainly have an opportunity to give the President a Congress he can work with to achieve his goals.