The election will not be an affirmation of conservative politics, no matter what happens.
The party that holds the presidency always loses congressional seats in the midterms. In the last 50 years, there have been only two examples where that did not happen: In 1998 (when Republican attacks on Clinton backfired) and 2002 (when Bush was still riding high after the 911 attacks). So it will be an absolute surprise if that does not happen on November 4th.
But we know that if the Republicans gain control of the Senate (which is likely but not guaranteed), it won’t be because of some great mood in the country to embrace right-wing politics.
Four years ago, when the GOP reacted strongly to Obama’s election by voting in great numbers and sweeping Republicans into power, some very conservative Tea Party candidates became governor. “Hooray!” they exclaimed. “Now we can put our policies into play and prove that our ideas will save the economy!”
They did what they said they would — they cut taxes on businesses and the wealthy, cut funding to education, and trimmed government down to next to nothing.
These states are now in the worst financial condition they have ever been in. The Tea Party experiments all failed, to a one. And the voters are mad. These governors are all losing their re-election bids.
Here in Pennsylvania, Governor Corbett is over 15 points behind in the polls. This is in a state where a governor has never lost re-election. His policies pushed Pennsylvania back from one of the fastest-growing job creating states in the nation to dead last. Our debt rating has been lowered many times.
Governor Brownback in Kansas similarly destroyed his state. Maine is floundering. Wisconsin is in bad shape. Even Florida is struggling.
All of these states elected Tea Party governors and all of these governors are fighting to be re-elected. That is hardly an endorsement of their policies.
This is not a nation-wide trend. Other states are doing great. California, which was in terrible state when Schwarzenegger left it, elected a bunch of Democrats who put into play policies which have given the huge state a budget surplus for the first time in many years. New York is doing just fine. If you look at which states are doing best economically, you’ll see mostly Democratic-run ones at the top (you have to get to #9 to find one run by Republicans) — and this is despite the fact that there are more Republican governors than Democratic ones.
And even if you ignore the economy, these guys fought tooth and nail against women’s health issues, gay marriage, and giving their poorest health care.
The fact is, as I’ve pointed out before, angry people vote more, and no one is ever angrier than a Fox-news-fed Republican. If Republicans and Democrats voted in equal percentages, we’d always win because there are more of us than there are them. But we don’t. We Democrats tend to stay home on election day and then wonder how such idiots could get into office (when it’s really our own fault).
So don’t let the pundits tell you on November 5th that the GOP wins is a sign of voters loving their policies. The facts state otherwise.