MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus on Twitter · Facebook · Flickr · Newsletters 
Friday, April 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 49.0° F  Overcast
Collapse Photo Bar

Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:07 am

2014: This will be a big year for Republicans. Traditionally the party holding the White House loses seats in Congress in its 6th year. The Democrats also tend to be less successful at turning out their base voters in off-year (non-presidential) elections. Republicans have an advantage due to gerrymandering of district boundaries following the 2010 census, which happened to coincide with a big Republican election year, giving them an unnatural advantage in state legislatures. And, finally, it's six years after 2008, which was a great year for Democrats -- so a lot of Democratic senators will be up for re-election in 2014 (Ds will be defending 20 seats, Rs only 13). There's a good chance the Democrats will lose the senate, particularly with seats in risky states like Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia in play. All in all, it's a perfect storm battering the Democrats.

But as we saw in 1994 and again in 2010, the buildup to an off-year election can drive the Republicans far to the right, and success in that election can make them over-reach, leading to ...

2016: A rebounding economy, the popularity of outgoing President Obama, and backlash against the even-more-radical post-2014 Republicans gives the Democrats the White House for another four years, as voters who stayed away from the polls in 2014 turn out again. The Republicans also lose badly in the Senate, due to both coattails from the Presidential race and the fact that 2016 is the sixth year after 2010 ... so the GOP is defending a whopping 24 senate seats to the Democrats' 10, an even more lopsided situation than the previous election's. Among the endangered GOP senators are those in Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania ... and Wisconsin.

After losing three consecutive Presidential elections, the Republicans are finally ready to moderate a bit. The economy continues to grow modestly, and neither party seems to have a big advantage...

2018: Once again, the Republicans do well in the off-year election, with the lingering effects of 2010's redistricting combining with the opportunity to pick off Democratic senators -- including several who were elected in improbable states during the Republican senate disaster of 2012. (Likely GOP targets include Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia, and Florida).

Well, there you have it -- the winners and losers of the next three elections. After that, my crystal ball gets a bit foggy.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4858
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby rabble » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:23 am

The 2014 prediction assumes that the GOP will completely recover and get back in lockstep. I think the pot, gay marriage, and immigration issues will cause the healing to be a series of fitful starts and stops as they clumsily try to pretend they give a shit about some demographics while keeping their base which is bigoted against those same demographics.

I think they'll pull it off eventually but it's going to take them longer than two years to do it especially if the economy improves even slightly.

It will be a good year for them because of the gerrymandering and a buttload of anonymous cash but even with that, it will be another election where they don't meet their own expectations.
rabble
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5779
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:39 am

I'd love to agree with you. But they managed to turn around very fast after their debacle in 2008 to win a lot of races in 2010. I think history will repeat itself.

Unless the Supreme Court does something totally unexpected in June, I think SSM is going to be much less important as an electoral issue in the future. Enough people in the GOP can read the tea leaves, and they're not going to choose to die on that battlefield. They'll resist it where they can, but it will be a "kinder, gentler conservatism" where they're just seeking to carve out "religious liberty" exemptions etc.

Meanwhile, the Senate is the biggest prize on the ballot in 2014, and it's just going to be a disaster for Democrats that year. Yes, the Republicans threw away a couple of Senate races that they could have won this year, but you can't expect them to keep doing that every time ... and in 2014 they have fat targets all over the place. If the Republicans don't retake the Senate that year, their leadership ought to commit hara-kiri out of embarrassment (except that shame is not really a part of the GOP genome...)
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4858
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby rabble » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:06 am

It will depend on a lot of variables. Will Rush and O'Reilly help or hinder? Will any candidates make any more idiot rape statements? Can we find any hotbutton issues that will bring more voters to the polls? Like maybe some pot or gay marriage referendums? Any more storms likely to come along for the global warming deniers to rail at?

Lotta stuff can happen between now and then.
rabble
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5779
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby pjbogart » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:09 am

The Democratic Party needs to begin energizing voters for midterms. Assuming that Obama is still receiving high marks from the base at the end of 2013, he needs to place more emphasis on House campaigns than he did in 2010. Midterm campaigns tend to be much shorter and receive far less media coverage, they kind of sneak up on us and many voters don't make it to the polls. That's a huge advantage for Republicans, who capitalize on the low turnout with an energized base of extremely reliable voters.

We should amend the Constitution to make all federal offices four year terms so that everyone comes and goes at the same time. It would be a bit chaotic on Capitol Hill, but would better reflect the will of the people (and they could use some chaos up there).
pjbogart
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6020
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 4:57 pm

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby wack wack » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:38 am

It seems like part of Obama's plan for a second term involves campaigning all the time: taking every issue directly to the people. Perhaps he's decided the way to break the midterm down cycles is to keep the electorate up all the time.

The demographic changes in America are big and real. I's been reported that Romney only carried two groups, older white men, and married white women. In other words, women married to older white men. Dying people. White people are not coming back in any appreciable way, especially to the current Republican party.

I also sense that maybe, just maybe, the electorate is finally done believing every lie. This means the Republicans will have to really believe whatever change they embrace, not just say they embrace it.

It's hard for me to imagine the ideas of "tradition" and "precedent" in politics being any less relevant than they are right now. Not irrelevant, but less relevant predictors than ever before. It's as new a political wold as has ever existed in my lifetime.
wack wack
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 3012
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2003 5:32 pm

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:57 am

I love all the optimism I'm hearing from you guys. No one would be happier than I to be wrong about 2014. But I just think we could have been saying all the same things four years ago. We're not talking about precedents from the antebellum era or something.

Until I see something very specific and very big happen that's different, my default assumption is that we're just going to repeat the dance steps from 2009-2010 and then 2011-2012. Democrats will sit back and grumble while Republicans get all energized and win big. Then the country will wake up and say "ugh, we can't let those radicals win the presidency" and it's rinse, lather, repeat.

Maybe the Republicans will screw up badly over the debt ceiling, Obama will resolve the crisis in a way that looks adequately presidential, the Republicans will go bonkers and try to impeach him, the polls will tilt against them, and it'll be a repeat of 1998 instead of 2010.

But I wouldn't count on it.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4858
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby gargantua » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:50 pm

Numerically and historically, Kurt's analysis is very sound. Doesn't mean it's going to unfold that way, but it's more likely than not.

I think economic performance may make a big difference. There are signs the economy is starting to heal. If it's perking along in 2014, it will provide quite a different environment than the Democrats were faced with in 2010. That may not prevent some electoral losses, but could certainly mitigate them.
gargantua
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 3852
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2002 1:30 pm
Location: Madison

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:52 pm

kurt_w wrote:Unless the Supreme Court does something totally unexpected in June, I think SSM is going to be much less important as an electoral issue in the future. Enough people in the GOP can read the tea leaves, and they're not going to choose to die on that battlefield. They'll resist it where they can, but it will be a "kinder, gentler conservatism" where they're just seeking to carve out "religious liberty" exemptions etc.


When I wrote that, I had no idea that Glenn Beck, of all people, would illustrate that point so nicely.

The Left has, basically, won on same-sex marriage. That might sound like overstatement -- lots of states still don't have SSM -- but the outcome is obvious and there's nothing the opponents can do to stop it in the long run.

That's good for same-sex couples who want to get married. It's not so good for Democrats who will find it disappearing as an issue just when they've discovered they can use it as a weapon, after years of having it used against them. But that's what happens when you win on an issue -- it stops being an issue.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4858
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby rabble » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:19 pm

kurt_w wrote:The Left has, basically, won on same-sex marriage. That might sound like overstatement -- lots of states still don't have SSM -- but the outcome is obvious and there's nothing the opponents can do to stop it in the long run.

That's good for same-sex couples who want to get married. It's not so good for Democrats who will find it disappearing as an issue just when they've discovered they can use it as a weapon, after years of having it used against them. But that's what happens when you win on an issue -- it stops being an issue.

I think you underestimate the Republican capacity for batshit crazy.

It's possible that this issue will just blend right into their overall family values plan but I think it more likely there will be at LEAST two years of two steps forward one step back, infighting, factions, and uncertain politicians trying to please everybody

They are an authoritarian organization who have spent decades building and programming an unthinking unswerving base. And I don't think they gave them a reset switch.

One thing I'm sure of is that it will be interesting to watch how the fundies and evangelicals handle it.
rabble
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5779
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby snoqueen » Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:11 pm

I agree with what wack wack said. The political parties are only part of this equation. What's harder to predict is changes in the electorate. We turned a corner on SSM. What other corners are, well, just around the corner? We can't tell, and that's the whole point.

Factors adding to the unpredictability:

-- economic and human consequences of more global-warming related disasters, both coastal ones and inland

-- changes in the media. People are starting to see through the right-wing media's version of reality, and the 1/3 of the electorate they recently commanded has already dropped closer to 1/4. What other media-related changes are in store is anybody's guess. Younger people pay attention to entirely different media, so trying to guess the future by observing the behavior of Fox News is like driving by watching your rear-view mirror the whole time.

-- What will be the interests, preferences, and tendencies of our newest voters born in the early 90s? SSM is an old-people's joke to these young people, who could vote in a far more liberal manner than any of their predecessors. If they decide to actually show up and vote, they could throw a wrench into the most carefully constructed statistical models.

The political parties are followers, not leaders, with regard to big emergent changes like these (much as they'd like to think otherwise). What happens to the people, and among the people, in the next 2, 4, or 8 years is primary. The responses of the political parties is secondary. If they do well, they further their cause. If not, they don't.
snoqueen
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 10984
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:42 pm

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby Average Joe » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:32 pm

kurt_w wrote:
That's good for same-sex couples who want to get married. It's not so good for Democrats who will find it disappearing as an issue just when they've discovered they can use it as a weapon, after years of having it used against them. But that's what happens when you win on an issue -- it stops being an issue.


It will take much more than 20 years for gays to forget who fought for them.
Average Joe
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1609
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:33 am

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:43 pm

I believe it.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4858
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:52 pm

rabble wrote:I think you underestimate the Republican capacity for batshit crazy.


Indeed. Not a week into the new session and this is what they introduce. Co-sponsored by our moderate[sic] friend and future hopeful president, Paul Ryan:

Despite the deep unpopularity of fetal personhood bills in 2012, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has again decided to cosponsor the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a bill that gives full legal rights to human zygotes from the moment of fertilization.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/0 ... 40365.html

If they keep up this type of legislation, they will indeed continue to lose. They keep re-introducing bill after bill no matter how unpopular, only to have them struck down and laughed upon each time.

Maybe Ryan realizes he has no chance in hell of ever becoming president, so he's just going for it.
Stebben84
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4548
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:59 pm

Re: Kurt's crystal ball for future elections

Postby pjbogart » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:13 pm

Keep in mind that the reason Republicans are so good at off-year elections is because they have a more reliable voter base. Human zygote bills might sound bat-shit crazy to you, but when the polling places are packed with bat-shit crazy people, they get the last laugh.

I suspect that despite calls for moderation, particularly on immigration issues, Republicans will press their advantage with the single issue voters by wasting a lot of time on right to life, gun rights and anti-immigration bills. You're only facing the voters who show up, right?
pjbogart
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6020
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 4:57 pm

Next

Return to National Politics & Government

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


FacebookcommentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR

Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar