We ought to keep it in perspective. True, the House flipped to the Dems, but in many of the lost seats, the incumbent Republican decided to retire. There were about 40 such retirements. The idea that the Dems have some kind of mandate is silly in light of the fact that the GOP not only held the Senate, but picked up seats. The Dems know this, even if their media allies (pardon the redundancy) and much of their base is blissfully unaware. Similarly, in Wisconsin, where I reside, the GOP clobbered the Dems in both the House and the Senate. Walker lost by 1.1% of the vote. And yet… its worth talking about some of the reasons the GOP lost when they did, as there might be some instructive lessons to it.
Since I’m in Wisconsin and know Wisconsin a little more intimately, let’s just start there.
If Scott Walker had not emphatically and fully defunded Planned Parenthood, he probably would have won. If Walker had not pushed through and passed the Fetal Baby Parts bill, he probably would have won. If only Robin Voss had not insisted that every pro-life measure be pursued with enthusiasm, and instead forced pro-life advocates to settle for just one ‘big’ measure each year to minimize the political fallout, things would have been different. If the legislature had now bowed to Voss’ overt pro-life position, the GOP would probably have prevailed. If Walker had thrown cold water on the ‘constitutional carry’ movement in his state, the outcry against him would have been minimal. Next time, Walker should consider giving a tax rebate for school supplies; it would have been a cheap ploy for votes from the poor, perhaps, but these people would have thanked Walker profusely for letting them keep more of their own money, and never forgotten the gesture. In the same vein, if only the state Republicans had ensured that pre-existing conditions was covered, there could have been no way for Democrats to accuse them of being cold-hearted. There are some other blunders, but we’ll just leave it there.
Things are worse at the Federal level.
First and foremost, given that the GOP had the House and the Senate for three consecutive election cycles, but not the presidency, one can excuse their exuberance, when, in 2016, the GOP enjoyed overwhelming numbers in all three branches, with the victory of Donald Trump. Given that the GOP was hurtled into renewed vitality due to the outcry against Obamacare, no one should be surprised that the GOP’s first move was to finally and fully repeal Obamacare.
Repealing Obamacare was a big mistake!
Defunding Planned Parenthood was a big mistake!
Funding the border wall… and building it… was a big mistake!
Pressing forward with a national recognition of the second amendment’s constitutional right to self-defense and ensuring that citizens can carry concealed and defend themselves in WHATEVER state they might be in… a big mistake.
Next time, the major tax overhaul should be done in stages, instead of all at once. While it could be argued that doing it in stages means that the second half might not get done (eg, if the Dems get the House), clearly, the political capital lost in JUST DOING IT caused serious harm.
If only the GOP had not radically scaled back the budget, finally bringing our spending in line with the revenues, things would have gone much differently. Eliminating the Department of Education and other unconstitutional departments left a bad taste in people’s mouths. The sharp turn towards having a Federal government that corresponds to its enumerated powers in the Constitution was just too much, too fast.
Next time, Trump should not put forward a true, genuine, unabashed originalist for Supreme Court. Use Susan Collins as your measure. If its someone that she can support, you know that the American media and the Democrats (pardon the redundancy) will patriotically stand by the nominee, and put the nation before politics.
Jeff Sessions should have recused himself. It was Mueller’s laser focus on the charge of ‘Russian collusion’ that tempered much of the support Trump was counting on. Sessions probably would have been accused of being a racist, biased, pig; but at least the investigation would not have veered into wild tangents having nothing to do with the original accusation.
Speaking of investigations. Everyone knows that the Clinton Foundation did NOT engage in ‘pay to play’ with foreign countries. Certainly, the Clintons did not benefit from donations to their foundation. And that whole Uranium One thing, which, on the face of it, screams Russian Collusion? We ought to have known that by pushing forward with these investigations, the Clintons would have just blamed it on “a vast right wing conspiracy.” If the GOP had stayed out of it, the media would have felt more comfortable honestly and fairly investigating and portraying the Clintons’ activities, and the Democrats would have been forced to play it straight.
Speaking of the American media and the Democrats… in the face of the repeated, relentless, hypocritical smears of Republicans (and Trump supporters in particular), in which they were accused–constantly–of being racists, bigots, misogynists, closet Ku Klux Klansmen, etc, the Republicans should not have told their accusers to shove it up where the sun doesn’t shine.
Next time, a more conciliatory approach should be considered, where the GOP attempts to find ‘compromise,’ allowing that indeed, if a half dozen people in a country of 300,000,000 decide to run for office as Republicans, it must surely mean that racism is a problem for the GOP. Next time, when the GOP is accused of hating women, don’t bother pointing out that A., Republican men are usually married TO WOMEN, or B., that Republican men have daughters, or C., that Republican men have mothers. From this line of attack, the Dems were confronted with the possibility that maybe it was THEY who were the bigots, making brazen use of genitalia just to win votes. And when Republican women are likewise accused of being misogynists, next time don’t laugh in their faces. It was offensive.
You get the idea.
I suggest that from now on, the GOP pursues their agenda with just a tad more timidity, ever conscious that if they enthusiastically push for it, it might backfire on them. They should not ever be deceived again that their MASSIVE wins in 2010, their MASSIVE wins in 2012 (aside from the presidency), their MASSIVE wins in 2014, and their MASSIVE wins in 2016, means that Americans actually want them to enact a Republican agenda.
Meanwhile, the Dems have eked out a relatively minor take-back of ONLY the House, and they believe they have a mandate. Why, yes, obviously. I mean, isn’t it clear? And Evers and his MASSIVE victory over Walker, leaving the legislature ENTIRELY in the hands of the GOP, obviously, OBVIOUSLY, means that the time has now come for Republicans to ‘come to the table’ and govern the old fashioned way… by compromising (read: ratifying whatever it is the Dems propose today).
I well remember the shellacking the Dems got in 2010. If only they had done everything in their power–every, slimy, thing–to get Obamacare passed, the GOP would not have had the resurgence it did.
Of course, this article is pure irony. (It is a bloody shame I even have to say that). Switch everything around, because the opposite of everything I said is true. Here is another truth: if the GOP cannot or will not boldly act on its principles over the course of 4 consecutive election cycles, a majority of which enjoyed near 100% GOP control (this is especially the case at the state levels), its hard to see why even those who share those principles would bother voting for them anymore. If you vote for a guy to do X, and he doesn’t do it, why would you vote for him again? At some point, the argument, “Because the other guy will do Y!” isn’t going to fly. Maybe, indeed, that is the real reason why the GOP lost in 2018.