Question. Can the voter apathy door swing both ways? | THE POLITICUS

Question. Can the voter apathy door swing both ways?

     Before you brand me the Rosslyn Village Idiot, read all the way through. There’s a valid point that I think is worthy of consideration. Besides, as I well know, debating my idiocy is what the comments beneath the diary are for.

     There is a longstanding beef in the Democratic party. We lost state houses, state legislatures, and even bodies of Congress because of the fact that Democrats have the nasty habit of showing up in great numbers when there is a Presidential candidate on the top of the ticket, but tend to sit it out when it comes to the mid term elections, when the GOP kicks our asses.

     But, let’s look at the GOP strength in past midterm elections for a moment. For 16 out of the last 24 years, the Democrats have controlled the White House, a sure barb in the side of the Republican base. The Democrats, with not only the White House, but at least one congressional chamber were feeling phat. Both Clinton and Obama managed to enact legislation and get things done, and complacency set in among the Democratic base, so they sat out the midterm elections, and the GOP cleaned up by ginning up hysterical support in their base while we took a pass.

     But what happens when the shoe is on the other foot? Let’s look at recent history. On January 20, 2001 when George W. Bush took over, the Senate was tied at 50-50, and the GOP had a slim 9 seat majority in the House. But 9/11 played a huge role on the national psyche, driving support up for Bush, and in the 2002 midterms, the GOP took a 3 seat majority in the Senate, and increased their House lead to 24 seats. When Bush was reelected in 2004, the GOP consolidated its hold, raising their Senate advantage to 10 seats in the Senate, and 29 seats in the House. ( SOURCE ). Bush (or should I say Cheney) had a lock on all of Congress.

     But what happened in the 2006 midterms? Republicans should have been ecstatic and motivated, they had the world at their feet. But Bush tripped up repeatedly. Bush tried to privatize Social Security, and fell on his face. The “quick” victory in Iraq became another Vietnam style quagmire, souring US support for the war. I’ll let Wikipedia explain the outcome;

The 2006 United States elections were held on Tuesday, November 7, 2006 in the middle of Republican President George W. Bush's second term. All United States House of Representatives seats and one third of the United States Senate seats were contested in this election, as well as 36 state and two territorial governorships, many state legislatures, four territorial legislatures and many state and local races. The election resulted in a sweeping victory for the Democratic Party which captured control of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and won a majority of governorships and state legislatures from the Republican Party.

     This was a midterm election, supposedly right in the GOP wheelhouse. The Democrats should have been demoralized, they were on the outside looking in. But when the election came around, the Democrats were mobilized and motivated, and for whatever reason, apathy or disillusionment, the GOP voters stayed home. As a result we rolled their ass up like a cheap living room rug.

     While it is early in the process yet, I am of the opinion that we may be looking at a similar dynamic heading into the 2018 midterm elections. There are several reasons why I feel this way, and I’ll cover each of them briefly.

     First, the Trump “base”. The hard core Trump supporters are thrilled, he’s blowing shit up left and right. But Trump has already blown off his core supporters. Following his victory, on his “thank you tour”, he literally told them that he didn’t need them anymore. Maybe in four years, if he ran for reelection, but they did their job, he was done with them for now. With Trump comfortably in control, will his base be motivated to come out to the polls in 2018 if his name is not on the ballot?

     Second, the Trump “swing voters”. A large portion of these were from “rust belt” states, and they voted for change from the status quo. They voted for Trump to bring back coal and manufacturing jobs to their depressed communities. When they find out that he can’t deliver on it, and instead Ryan and McConnell want to take away their health care, and strip whatever they can of their desperately needed social net, how motivated will they be in 2018 to come out and give Mein Furor another chance?

     Last, the Democratic base. History shows that Democrats are apathetic in midterm elections, especially when things are going their way. But in 2006, they showed up in a tsunami, flipped both chambers of Congress, and took over state houses all over the place. One thing you can say about Trump, he is the ultimate motivator to the Democratic base. The incredible protests starting on inauguration day, and continuing forward have proved that. And they’re just getting started on the GOP side. With the kerfuffle over the cabinet appointees, the GOP hasn’t even started to push their toxic agenda yet. When that happens, watch out. And we Democrats have discipline now, we’re mobilizing from the ground up, and will hopefully organically integrate the protest movement into the fold.

     It is often said that “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to relive it”. And so I ask you, are the augers of fate and history swinging once again back into alignment with the stars of 2006, with the Republicans feeling all soft and comfortable with their control, and the Democrats mobilized, and “fired up, ready to GO”! Let mne know what you think in the comments.


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