On a sunny Tuesday afternoon in Southern California, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie arrives at a private home overlooking the San Diego skyline for a lunch with local supporters. California’s big coastal cities – Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego — are common destinations for nationally recognized Republican candidates and elected officials to raise funds […]
California’s business climate has enough challenges: high taxes, regulatory zealotry, and any possibility Jerry Brown could make it back into the Governor’s office. Now, the state has to contend with the possibility California will be known as the place that may legalize – and massively expand – pot use.
As though we want to make it any easier for Governor Rick Perry to lure even more businesses to Texas.
“We support effective anti-drug education programs, stiff punishment for alcohol and drug-impaired drivers, and stiff penalties for drug dealers and drug users,” reads the California Republican Party’s platform. It’s a sound policy that puts the best interests of Californians first and foremost.
The number one factor preventing young people from trying illicit drugs is cost, and legalization would without question lower cost and expand access to dope. As a result, hundreds of thousands of more Californians would no doubt become the users of illicit drugs. The proponents of legalization certainly don’t want to wage a campaign on the fact that their effort will produce more dope users in everyone’s community, workplace, and public places.
A wave is building in American politics. Whether that wave produces a second Republican Revolution, or a more mild course correction for the nation’s politics, remains to be seen. In any case, victory for the GOP in November hinges on the Republican Party’s success in convincing the American people it is a viable, preferred alternative to the leadership and direction offered by Barack Obama’s Democratic Party.
History is clearly on the side of the GOP. In the last 12 mid-term elections, the party not holding the White House has enjoyed a net gain in Congress and state legislatures in 10 of them. The magnitude of the net gain has historically been in inverse proportion to the President’s approval rating, and President Obama’s is in the tank and likely to remain there. Historically Presidents enjoy little improvement in their public approval during the second year of their term.
How best to maximize the party’s opportunity for victory and build on the party’s recent successes in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts was a major focus of last week’s meeting of the Republican National Committee in Hawaii.
Here at the summer meeting of the Republican National Committee, the 2010 election is seen with special importance because the governors and legislators elected this year will draw the congressional district lines that will form the playing field for control of the House of Representatives over the next decade.
While the 2010 census is not yet complete, population projections are now available, and with them we can see which states will gain, and lose representation.
The losers: high tax states in the Northeast and Midwest will lose representation in the House. Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois will each lose a seat. Ohio will lose two.
The winners: states in the South and the West (other than California), mainly low tax states, will gain seats. Southern states South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida will each gain a seat. In the West, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Washington State will each gain a seat. Texas, a low tax state that has aggressively lured companies and people from around the nation, will gain an astonishing four seats in the House.
Politics is cyclical, and Scott Brown’s victory in last night’s special Senate election in deep-blue Massachusetts proves that 2010 will be nothing like 2008.
Since Barack Obama has taken office, the Democrats have lost control of the governor’s offices in Virginia and New Jersey, forfeited the opportunity to control the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and now the United States Senate seat previously held by Ted Kennedy.
For the Democrats, there is no nice way to spin the loss. Massachusetts does not have a single Republican House member, and the party is virtually an endangered species in the state legislature. It is not a “purple” or competitive state – Massachusetts is Democrat country, and yet the incumbent Attorney General could not win a race that should have been a walk in the park.
The party in power brought this debacle on themselves.
Barack Obama’s public approval rating has dropped to as low as 47% in the last week, according to Gallup. Although the President will not appear on the ballot again until 2012, how the public views his presidency will have a direct impact on each party’s performance in next year’s mid-term elections.
The party holding the White House has lost seats in 10 of the last 12 mid-terms, going back to President Kennedy’s 1962 losses. Even in that year, with a 74% approval rating following the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy’s Democrats lost seats in the House. Historically, the public uses mid-term elections to correct for the perceived excesses of the party in power, while the absence of coattail effects may result in some seats reverting back to the party with the natural advantage in the district.
In the latest political indicator to show further shift toward Republicans, independent voters are now favoring GOP congressional candidates by 22% over their Democrat competitors, according to Gallup.
The ongoing shift of unaffiliated voters toward the Republican Party stands in stark contrast to the 2006 and 2008 elections when independent voters preferred Democrats. Taken alone this trend is significant enough, but when viewed together with falling Presidential approval (47%) and growing numbers of Americans who are identifying with the Republican Party (40%, up from 35% in Jan.), we see that we are working in a political environment very different than the one we were in a year ago.
When reviewing political trends, one common mistake is to assume that by definition independent voters are all ideological centrists whose personal philosophy falls somewhere in between the Republican and Democrat parties. The subsequent advice from those who make this assumption is that victory goes to whichever side chooses to “move to the center.” Simple.
Milton Friedman famously observed that there is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program. In the political world, the Democrats have learned that something of the reverse is also true: there is nothing so temporary as a permanent political trend.
One year ago, Democrats were proclaiming they had established in 2008 a winning political coalition that would last a generation. Independent voters had joined labor unions, ethnic and other groups to form an invincible coalition that would guarantee Democrat victories for the foreseeable future.
Well, the “foreseeable future” lasted about as long as a failed one season comedy on NBC.
What a difference a year makes. Today, Democrats are clearing out of two governor’s offices while Republicans are preparing to move in. A Republican is preparing to take a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, four counties in New York State fell this month, and the list goes on.
“Hope” and “change” may have been enough in 2008, but that didn’t cut it in 2009.
Thankfully, Internet content remains largely free of government intrusion and regulation. Americans are increasingly going online for news, to plan their travel, and perform other everyday tasks like banking and keeping up with relatives. They’re also going online for the information they need to determine how they will vote. As candidates and parties consequently step up their online presence, outdated campaign finance laws are giving the bureaucrats a new opening to impose restrictions and regulations on Internet content.
Consider Scott Wagner, the candidate for St. Petersburg mayor whom the Florida Elections Commission ordered to take down an online ad because it didn’t include a “Paid for by” disclaimer. Wagner argued the “paid for by” disclaimer should not have been required because it was only “paid for” by someone once it was clicked on, not before.
Democrats are playing defense in some key U.S. Senate races that should otherwise be considered safe.
Historically, Senate incumbents already tend to be a bit less safe than House incumbents simply because one cannot gerrymander a state. House lines are often drawn and redrawn to protect incumbents, while states don’t change borders without something major…like a war. Even in that revolutionary year of 1994, 92% of House members seeking re-election won, while 90% of Senators won.
A review of the position some incumbent Democrat Senators find themselves in shows a level of vulnerability that is out of the ordinary, and certainly a far cry from the last two election cycles which saw heavy Democrat gains.
We’ve already discussed on these pages how Sen. Barbara Boxer is barely clinging to 50% re-election support in a state that went heavily for Obama and she’s represented for 17 years in the Senate alone, plus the House. But a look at some other states shows she is not the only Democrat incumbent with concerns.