The pundits are already energetically pronouncing the Republicans the inevitable winners in this November’s election. These assumptions are based on the theory that the Earth doesn’t revolve around the sun and that seasons never change. Projecting what will happen in an election that is seven months away based upon where things stand at this particular moment in time seems to display an intentional tunnelvision. There actually seems to be a degree of delight in these pundits, a preference in such an outcome as they predict an oncoming train wreck of our democracy in which a radical Republican controlled Congress brings complete gridlock and dysfunction under a Democratic President. Perhaps this is because the greater the conflict in our society, the more job security, income and attention they can get.
However, just because pundits are relying on the political environment in the U.S. to remain petrified for seven months, it doesn’t mean that will actually happen. Here are five reasons why the Democrats could win in this year’s elections.
1. NATIONALIZING THE ELECTION
We’ve all heard how the approval ratings of Congress have been at record lows yet people still re-elect their own Congresspeople. To address this disconnect, if Democrats running for Congress nationalize their election, they may be able to overcome this dichotomy. Democrats have already been talking publicly about presenting an election year agenda that includes income equality, raising the minimum wage and protecting voting rights. By offering their voters a more substantial choice on policies, laying out the specific, national agenda they will pursue on real issues that directly affect voters and standing them up side by side with the gridlock that voting for the Republican candidate would cause, they may be able to breakthrough to enough voters who want things to get better for them and the country.
Democrats could additionally point out that Republicans are running on kicking 10 million Americans off of health insurance, returning control of who can or can’t get insured to the insurance corporations, destroying the health care guarantee of Medicare and crippling the safety net for the neediest Americans in order to reduce a deficit most people no longer see as a pressing issue. Nothing could be more detrimental to the GOP than explaining as simply as possible, what would happen if a majority of them were in control of both houses of Congress.
2. THE WORKING POOR GET FED UP
The groundswell of discontent has become obvious, if under-reported by the media. There have been strikes and protests at many fast food restaurants and other minimum wage employers. There has been an increase in those falling below the poverty line while the Republicans have led a charge to slash government support and aid to those suffering in poverty. In fact, Republicans have intensified their campaign to demonize the poor, as a nation would with an enemy with whom they were at war. This de-humanizing of the poor, the naked animosity and spite Republicans aim at them, the way in which they try to frame them as inferior human beings, could intensify in election year rhetoric and legislating and finally cause the simmering frustration of the poor to boil over and spill out in a politically meaningful way.
3. THOSE WHOSE VOTING RIGHTS ARE UNDER ATTACK COULD BECOME MORE MOTIVATED TO VOTE
This phenomenon was witnessed in the 2012 election and could arise in 2014 as well. As hard as Republicans tried to oppress and restrict the votes of minorities and non-Republican voters in red states in 2012, it actually resulted in those same targeted voters becoming more resolved to vote in that election. All of the voter suppression activities of Republicans, clothed in the fraudulent “Voter ID” facade, may actually inspire activists and voters to take whatever steps are needed for their vote against those politicians to be counted. Add to this that the Department of Justice under Eric Holder is very committed to blocking and overturning these voter suppression laws and the successes they have will empower voters that will know full well which politicians have been trying to take of their right to vote away…and thus need to be voted out of office.
4. WOMEN TURN OUT TO DEFEND THEIR DIGNITY AND RIGHTS
The women’s vote went decisively for President Obama in 2012 and since then, we have only seen more unrestrained attacks on the rights and dignity of women from the GOP. Whether declaring that they as white men should have the right to control women’s bodies and health, their opposition to equal pay for women and claiming that supporting pay equality actually demeans women, or the sexist attacks on women candidates and potential women candidates, women may be alienated even more so from voting Republican despite their political affiliation. The turnout by women who are Republican could be reduced and turnout by women who are offended by Republican chauvinism could be energized.
5. THE REPUBLICAN PANDERING TO THEIR EXTREMIST BASE TURNS OFF MOST OTHER VOTERS
As this election year progresses and the Republicans seek to energize their base, they will need to ramp up the use of hateful, prejudiced and offensive statements to connect with the mindsets of the base they are pandering to. This means that such popular sentiments as, “Screw the Poor!”, “Screw the Minorities!” and “Screw the Women!” will have to be repeatedly expressed in one form or another. Many are rightly concerned about the money that the Koch Brothers and others in the Republican Billionaire/Millionaire Haters Club will pour into this year’s election and how that could influence voters. What occurred in 2012 though were results that undercut the assumed effectiveness of spending hundreds of millions on a product people didn’t want. On the other hand, if that money is spent on commercials that eventually offend voters and turn them off of that candidate, it could be a sword that cuts backwards instead. The more voters are aware of the hatreds, greed and heartlessness of a candidate, the less likely they could be to vote for him or her. As noted above, the primary campaign issue for Republicans is to kill Obamacare but that means robbing 10 million and counting Americans of health care they currently have and allowing insurance companies once again to refuse insurance to anyone with pre-existing conditions. Is that really a winning argument at face value (with the charged “Obamacare” label stripped off?). And what about those 10 milliion Americans, might they be more motivated to vote in an election that could have real consequences to them personally, if they could lose their health insurance (which they may never have been able to have before) due to the results of an election, might they not be more motivated to show up on election day and try to protect themselves and their families? What kind of an impact could those 10 million voters have in elections?
There are no sure things in politics…even if pundits would like the public to believe they have some special insight into the future. What has been proven is that pundits are more frequently wrong than they are accurate and never pay a price for proclaiming as probable things that turn out to be incorrect.
Just last November, pundits were saying that Obamacare’s troubled rollout had doomed it to failure and Chris Christie was so nationally popular, he was the odds on favorite to win the GOP Presidential primary and perhaps the White House. And that was just five months ago, yet the landscape has changed dramatically from then…and they turned out to be dead wrong once again.
Sorry pundits, the hands of clocks keep turning, new events keep occurring each week that can change the direction in which politics and society are leaning.
To put it simply and classically, there are more things in heaven and earth, pundits, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. And Democrats holding onto The Senate and making a good showing in The House might just be two of those things.