Why Republicans are Terrified -- And Why That Should Worry You

caricature of frightened Republican elephant
Last month, Nate Silver took a look at Republican chances to win a majority in the Senate. The verdict: maybe, but probably not. Of course, it really is hard to say with any certainty this far in advance, but this assessment does not say good things about the party overall. If all things were equal, Republicans would be the clear favorites. The vast majority of Senate seats being contested in 2014 are held by Democrats -- 21 of 35 -- meaning the Republican Party can use most of their resources working to gain seats, while Democrats will be forced to spend mostly on holding them. And out of all those 21, Republicans need a mere 6. In other words, they could lose all those races at a rate in the neighborhood of 3:1 and still come out on top -- but they probably won't even reach that paltry level of success.

Today Republicans get more 2014 bad news. Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg writes that Democrats will likely pick off a few governorships that cycle.

While the fight for the House of Representatives will take center stage next year, another battle could be almost as important for the two parties: control of a handful of big-state governorships.

Republicans like to point out that while they lost the presidency and seats in both chambers of Congress in 2012, their party continues to hold governorships in 30 states, including nine of the country’s 12 largest states.

But most of those governors — 23 to be exact — were elected in 2010, a great GOP year that doesn’t reflect the nation’s (or many states’) political fundamentals. (That number includes Utah’s Gary R. Herbert, who ran in a special election in 2010 and again in 2012.)

In congress, the big Tea Party wave turned into the one term Tea Party anomaly. And it's looking like that will likely hold true at the state level, as well. It's at this point that Democrats and liberals will need to pay close attention. You'll notice that these races where Republicans are expected to do poorly -- governorships and the senate -- are all statewide races. That means these races can't be rigged by gerrymandering. Not only is that why Republicans can expect to have a bad year, but it's why it's the year Republicans are most likely pull out the stops on dirty tricks to win elections. You see, if things turn out as predicted, the GOP will be royally screwed.

"If Democrats can win a number of these big-state governorships, even if they don’t take back the U.S. House, it could well bolster the narrative of Democratic momentum leading up to the 2016 elections," Rothenberg writes. "It also would put Democrats in the position to retain those governorships four years later, in 2018, when states will select governors who will play a role in the next round of congressional redistricting."

And it's that last point that dumps ice water down Republican spines. The only real power they have left in the elected branches of government is the House of Representatives, the only one they can (and have) won through gerrymandering. If they lose governorships -- and with them, the ability to draw unfair district boundaries -- things can go very, very badly for them very, very quickly. They could easily see Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate, a Democrat in the White House, and the likelihood of at least one appointment to the Supreme Court under these conditions. That would mean a level of liberal control in Washington unheard of for decades -- House, Senate, White House, and a Supreme Court majority. For conservatives, it's the perfect storm.

so, for Republicans interested in being something other than an ineffective crank minority party, there are only two choices: cheat or reform. Every day we're seeing more and more evidence that reform is nearly impossible. The insane partisans are just becoming more deeply entrenched and all efforts at change are quickly becoming nothing more than cosmetic. So that leaves cheating. Republicans are very comfortable doing that. Especially the base.

You see, it's the base that makes it impossible to change the GOP and it's the base who believes all the insane crackpottery they're told. They really do believe that Democrats are secret Soviets and terrorist-sympathizers bent on taking away everyone's guns, putting everyone in FEMA camps, and destroying America from within -- at least, when we aren't agents of Satan here to turn America from Jesus with gay rights, feminism, and Sharia law. They're willing to cheat for the same reason a terrorist is willing to use a roadside bomb -- asymmetrical warfare.

And that base is what became the Tea Party caucus. Those people aren't just at home listening to Rush Limbaugh spout nonsense on their radios, they're in congress, they're in governors' mansions, and they're in statehouses around the country. They see this coming and they are terrified. So they'll do whatever they can, up to (and perhaps including) out-and-out election fraud. They'll push their voter ID laws, cut back on early voting hours, and make it more difficult to register voters. What do you think this whole Voting Right Act case in the Supreme Court is about?

It's about the need to steal elections, because of the inability to win them fairly. Republicans aren't just on the verge of losing a few elections, they're on the verge of losing everything.

So they're desperate and willing to do anything


[photo via DonkeyHotey]

No comments:

Post a Comment