The midterms and the blue tide

There was a lot of huffing and puffing leading up to this midterm.  In the end, it appears that the nation didn’t experience a Red Wave or a Blue Wave.  Breakwaters held on both sides.

In every campaign, there’s a primary goal and a passel of secondary objectives.  Each party succeeded in winning their Number 1 priority.  For Republicans, retaining the Senate.  For Democrats, winning the House.  Both parties succeeded.  But… Republicans set their sights on a more vital goal.

Control of the House allows Democrats to make trouble.  Lots of trouble to be sure, but Democrats cannot control legislation with only half of Congress and a presidential veto hanging over their heads.  On the other hand, Republicans retain the authority to approve presidential appointments, which allows them to continue rejiggering the judiciary and executive further toward a conservative orientation.  While Democrats can hamper -- but not hamstring -- the executive, Republicans can mold two branches of government.

In the end, Republicans held off the Blue Wave, picked up a few additional Senate seats, held house loses to the historic average, and rid themselves of some troublesome chaff within their own ranks.  All in all, a pretty good midterm for Republicans

Here’s the rub.  Republicans focus on winning elections.  Democrats focus on skewing the process in their favor.  When they gain control of government, they immediately start tilting the table.  This last election demonstrated how successfully they have executed this strategy in the Northeast and West Coast.  Republicans failed to pinprick either of these Democrat bulwarks.

New York appears insurmountable for any Republican and surrounding states are only slightly more competitive.  On the other coast, Californian slipped further toward the left wing of the Democrat Party.  Oregon and Washington are solidly Democratic.  Nevada flipped solidly blue this mid-term.  With a mass migration of Californians to Arizona, that once conservative state has turned purple.  New Mexico and Colorado?  True Blue.

Once Democrats get a grip on the reins of government, they hold on for dear life.  They have ruinously run cities for decades with zero chance of a Republican turnover.  (Only one of the ten largest cities have a Republican mayor.)  This is no accident. It’s called “machine politics” for a reason.

The Democratic goal is clear.  They want uncontested elections.  One-party rule.  Democrats prefer not to have opponents and get testy when they must campaign for reelection.  Without competition, they can elect office holders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and reelect people like Maxine Waters and Bob Menendez.  In California, they have rigged the system so that in the general election, it’s possible that Democrats run against each other.  For example, Dianne Feinstein just won her reelection against Democrat Kevin de León.  Nifty trick, that.

Arguably, Republicans won this election, but Democrats are winning the long game.  The nation wasn’t buried under a Blue Wave, but a Blue Tide is creeping in from both coasts.  Unless Republicans find a way to reverse this tide, it’s only a matter of time before the United States is ruled by a Chicago-style machine.

The first task is to shore up the Red states, especially Texas, Florida, and Arizona.  A prerequisite is immigration control.  Next, encroach on Democratic territory. That will require piles of money and candidates that appeal to voters in those states.  On the surface, the cost may appear high to flip a couple congressional seats, but a toehold can be invaluable.  Republicans must challenge in court the most grievous Democrat election prerogatives.  Republicans should continue to give Democrats every opportunity to expose their true beliefs and hidden agendas.  Lastly, Republicans need better messaging.  Democratic assaults can be spotted from miles away, but Republicans often get caught flatfooted.  Not only don’t they have a counter message at the ready, they forget to repeat it.  Too often they go on a Sunday morning program, lay out a set of talking points, and return home thinking job done.  Democrats repeat their messages ad nauseum because it works.

The 2018 midterms held off a blue onslaught but won no new political ground.  Republicans need to extend their time horizon to win the war.  Democrats win the hearts of their constituents, Republican win their minds.  The big winner will be the party that wins the hearts and minds of Americans.

There was a lot of huffing and puffing leading up to this midterm.  In the end, it appears that the nation didn’t experience a Red Wave or a Blue Wave.  Breakwaters held on both sides.

In every campaign, there’s a primary goal and a passel of secondary objectives.  Each party succeeded in winning their Number 1 priority.  For Republicans, retaining the Senate.  For Democrats, winning the House.  Both parties succeeded.  But… Republicans set their sights on a more vital goal.

Control of the House allows Democrats to make trouble.  Lots of trouble to be sure, but Democrats cannot control legislation with only half of Congress and a presidential veto hanging over their heads.  On the other hand, Republicans retain the authority to approve presidential appointments, which allows them to continue rejiggering the judiciary and executive further toward a conservative orientation.  While Democrats can hamper -- but not hamstring -- the executive, Republicans can mold two branches of government.

In the end, Republicans held off the Blue Wave, picked up a few additional Senate seats, held house loses to the historic average, and rid themselves of some troublesome chaff within their own ranks.  All in all, a pretty good midterm for Republicans

Here’s the rub.  Republicans focus on winning elections.  Democrats focus on skewing the process in their favor.  When they gain control of government, they immediately start tilting the table.  This last election demonstrated how successfully they have executed this strategy in the Northeast and West Coast.  Republicans failed to pinprick either of these Democrat bulwarks.

New York appears insurmountable for any Republican and surrounding states are only slightly more competitive.  On the other coast, Californian slipped further toward the left wing of the Democrat Party.  Oregon and Washington are solidly Democratic.  Nevada flipped solidly blue this mid-term.  With a mass migration of Californians to Arizona, that once conservative state has turned purple.  New Mexico and Colorado?  True Blue.

Once Democrats get a grip on the reins of government, they hold on for dear life.  They have ruinously run cities for decades with zero chance of a Republican turnover.  (Only one of the ten largest cities have a Republican mayor.)  This is no accident. It’s called “machine politics” for a reason.

The Democratic goal is clear.  They want uncontested elections.  One-party rule.  Democrats prefer not to have opponents and get testy when they must campaign for reelection.  Without competition, they can elect office holders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and reelect people like Maxine Waters and Bob Menendez.  In California, they have rigged the system so that in the general election, it’s possible that Democrats run against each other.  For example, Dianne Feinstein just won her reelection against Democrat Kevin de León.  Nifty trick, that.

Arguably, Republicans won this election, but Democrats are winning the long game.  The nation wasn’t buried under a Blue Wave, but a Blue Tide is creeping in from both coasts.  Unless Republicans find a way to reverse this tide, it’s only a matter of time before the United States is ruled by a Chicago-style machine.

The first task is to shore up the Red states, especially Texas, Florida, and Arizona.  A prerequisite is immigration control.  Next, encroach on Democratic territory. That will require piles of money and candidates that appeal to voters in those states.  On the surface, the cost may appear high to flip a couple congressional seats, but a toehold can be invaluable.  Republicans must challenge in court the most grievous Democrat election prerogatives.  Republicans should continue to give Democrats every opportunity to expose their true beliefs and hidden agendas.  Lastly, Republicans need better messaging.  Democratic assaults can be spotted from miles away, but Republicans often get caught flatfooted.  Not only don’t they have a counter message at the ready, they forget to repeat it.  Too often they go on a Sunday morning program, lay out a set of talking points, and return home thinking job done.  Democrats repeat their messages ad nauseum because it works.

The 2018 midterms held off a blue onslaught but won no new political ground.  Republicans need to extend their time horizon to win the war.  Democrats win the hearts of their constituents, Republican win their minds.  The big winner will be the party that wins the hearts and minds of Americans.