7 Lessons for Democrats and Republicans From the 2009 Elections
The Democratic party is in disarray. Though they managed to get Barack Obama elected and have the power, their enthusiasm has been waning due to Bush being out of office and Democrats controlling everything. However, Republicans are energized by anger over taxes while independents continue with support for tea parties despite not necessarily liking George W.’s policies too much- all signs that voters will be engaged come election time as well!
1) Voter enthusiasm among Democrats, particularly the young voters and African-Americans who catapulted President Obama into victory four years ago when he was first sworn in for his two terms at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue —has waned since 2008’s elections ended on November 4th. Much of this Democratic energy had stemmed from antipathy towards former president
The recent election in Virginia proved that the Democratic party is losing its effectiveness among voters. In 2008, Independents were split between Republican and Democrats but this year they voted 2 to 1 for Republicans. This is not a surprise considering nine straight elections have been won by the out-of-office parties of governorships since 1988 (the first time an incumbent president was reelected).
In New Jersey, voters were angry at the political establishment and voted for a Republican governor.
2) In the most recent election, voters exhibited their dissatisfaction with top-level politicians by voting against both incumbents and political parties. In New York City’s mayoral race, Michael Bloomberg won a much closer victory than expected over his opponent even though he was an incumbent running for re-election in one of America’s largest cities. Voter anger also played out in Virginia where Bob McDonnell managed to unite voter frustrations under a single candidate while maintaining Republican values despite being chosen as the party boss’ choice rather than winning through popular vote.
As Republican nominee for United States Congress from New York’s 23rd congressional district, the conservative third-party candidate Doug Hoffman failed to unify conservatives and took away votes that would have gone to the GOP. This left Bill Owens, a Democrat supported by Republicans as well as Democrats on his side of the aisle with 50% more voters than Hoffman.Republicans across the country were thrilled when a conservative candidate won one of their districts. That is, until North County decided to elect a Democrat instead and turn 100 years worth of history on its head in doing so. The lesson for Republicans? When they can unify voter anger against Democrats then they will win; but if not, discontent could be redirected at established republicans through bitter primaries or third-party efforts which would lead them losing.
3) Democrats have the control of both Houses and Presidency, which means that voter anger has been directed at Democrats. Historically, when a president’s party holds those positions during midterm elections they normally lose seats in Congress. Three times out of 150 years is about 1% chance for this to happen!
Democrats will have an uphill battle in the 2010 election because of their performance and President Obama’s lack of a ground game. They were swept away by huge turnouts in 2006, 2008, but these are now more difficult to maintain with unemployment rates for minorities at 50% or higher than whites. The Democrats also do not seem to be taking advantage of opportunities that they would normally take such as youth voting which is down 3%. Even though it was only one state Senate seat this year who lost due to redistricting; things could get worse if people go back on promises made about health care reform.
4) The Republican party has had a tough time in the Senate this year, with more seats up for re-election than Democrats. This makes it difficult to grab any substantial amount of power without making major changes that were not seen as common before 1994. Even so, Republicans are likely to gain seats due to some excellent recruiting and an environment where people want change but just don’t know what form that can take yet.
5) The GOP seemed to be invincible in 1994, picking up 20 seats from retirement. Nowadays few vulnerable Democratic districts are open heading into the mid-terms. In 2010, many voters still have a bitter aftertaste from Republican rule and will likely vote for Democrats as an automatic alternative instead of Republicans again this time around – change is not always welcome or embraced by some Americans who want things to stay more traditional
The House GOP had been out of power since 1964 when they were elected into office 40 years ago but quickly lost their foothold during President Obama’s first term with drastic changes made under his administration that left little room for opposition across Capitol Hill at the expense of conservative values which was previously favored among American society before he took over in 2008
6) Republicans have been recruiting a lot of candidates for both the House and Senate. One limitation is that GOP recruitment in the Northeast region, as well as on West Coast has not been at its best- yet it still remains strong elsewhere. Republicans are largely regional party with most members originating from Southern states or bordering regions to them; they need to focus more on building up their nationalized coalition instead of using litmus tests if they want win over voters all across America this year’s election season!
7) The Republican party has used taxes as a major issue in this election, and it seems to be paying off. Democrat Creigh Deeds suggested he might raise taxes while Republican Bob McDonnell said that under no circumstances would he allow them to go up. High-income suburbs like Loudoun County voted Democratic for Obama, Tim Kaine, and Jim Webb but snapped back just one year later with 60% of the vote going towards Republicans including local delegate seats.
In New Jersey, Somerset County went from Obama to Republican Chris Christie in the last election. The county’s wealthy residents joined them as they did with Morris County and other more rural areas where taxes are a concern for lower-income people across party lines.
In Virginia, coal country counties reacted harshly to the Obama administration’s cap-and-trade policies and became Republican strongholds. The GOP won a seat in the State House for their first time ever with 57% of votes from these areas; meanwhile, McDonald had his greatest margin here by winning 68%. Coal subjects’ reactions were localized but very strong against Obama’s energy policies.
The Democrats need to improve the economy and get Afghanistan under control. Failure in these areas will result in increased unemployment, which is an issue for this electorate since it’s a Democratic constituency. Similarly, American casualties during the war against terrorism are not looked upon favorably by most voters–especially those that belong to a party with philosophical ties of their own when it comes to foreign policy matters such as warfare overseas.
Republicans need to come together as a party and focus their energy on defeating Democrats in order to make the country great again. They must be disciplined, get over petty disagreements with one another, and take back Congress for America before it’s too late.