Not only have women been a majority of the voters in recent elections (53% in 2012), they also kept President Obama in the Oval Office (55% of those women — nearly 30% of all voters — voted for President Obama in 2012). Obviously, women — specifically, unmarried women — decided the 2012 election.
There they go again indeed, right on schedule. From MSNBC to the Georgia Senate election to a memo from an ex-Obama pollster, the age-old race card has reared its ugly head again.
The difference this time? An increasing number of Americans, some of them prominent, are calling out the perpetrators.
Let’s start with MSNBC. Take a look at this from Bill O’Reilly who opened his Fox show the other night with a clip from — where else? — Chris Matthews’s Hardball. As Matthews sits on-camera quietly sipping something from a cup during a discussion on Ebola and ISIS, MSNBC regular Howard Fineman, once upon a time of the late Newsweek and now of the Huffington Post, calmly plays the race card. “Can I mention race here?” Fineman asks Matthews, who of course answers in the affirmative: “You may.” And off they go:
Less than two weeks from November 4, Obama’s support is looking too weak to avoid another midterm defeat. Four years ago, Obama led Democrats to a loss of six Senate seats, 65 House seats, and loss of the House of Representatives. While November’s election has been slow to take shape, a Republican advantage is now becoming clear.
Even taken at its best, Obama’s standing in the polls hardly heartens Democrats. Obama appears to be close to where he stood four years ago. Within the numbers, things are even worse.
According to Rasmussen nationwide polling released October 20, Obama’s total disapproval was 52 percent and his total approval was 46 percent. Those totals almost exactly match his standing in a 10/20/12 Rasmussen poll — 52 percent disapproval and 47 percent approval. That such seemingly close numbers four years ago still led to a midterm thrashing is bad news for the president’s party.
October 27, 1964. Fifty years ago. It was a Tuesday night, one week from election day. As the Johnson-Goldwater campaign wound to its end, with Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society liberalism he was championing poised to win in a landslide over GOP nominee Senator Barry Goldwater, Americans turned on their television sets to see one last political commercial. They quickly discovered a very familiar face in a very unfamiliar setting.
Actor Ronald Reagan, longtime movie and TV star, newly the host and occasional star of Death Valley Days, a weekly TV series based on the old West, was introduced by an off-screen voice for a “thoughtful address” sponsored by the Goldwater campaign. Suddenly, there was actor Reagan (here) standing behind a bunting-draped podium in front of a live audience. Within seconds, Reagan was on his way to changing American history. He began as follows:
Perhaps it’s not surprising coming from our first Community Organizer president that the trait the administration claims is most needed in an “Ebola czar” — not that it’s been shown that such a position needs to be created in the first place — is, as Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health put it, “somebody who’s a good organizer.”
It’s been proven that rabble-rousing on the South Side of Chicago does not qualify one to lead anything more significant than a golf foursome (though you have to give Obama credit for spending his time doing what he’s best at, showing a clear understanding of the principle of comparative advantage).
Similarly, one wonders just what the newly named czar, Ron Klain, has “organized” that should give the American people confidence that the most incompetent administration in modern U.S. history is doing what needs to be done to keep citizens safe from a virus that the media is turning into the biggest medical scare since the Spanish Flu.
John Warner. Susan Collins. Chris Christie. The first a longtime GOP Senator from Virginia, now retired. The second the senior GOP Senator from Maine. The third the GOP Governor of New Jersey who doubles as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. And all three symbols of exactly what troubles the Republican Party, even as liberalism and its policies have led the nation and the globe into chaos.
First, the Virginia Senate race: the Republican nominee is Ed Gillespie, a Washington lobbyist, ex-White House aide, and one-time chairman of the Republican National Committee. Gillespie is hardly a fire-breathing far right-winger. Todd Akin he is not. If anything, in the establishment versus Tea Party divide that so preoccupies the media, Gillespie is the Establishment to a T.
So one would assume that former Virginia Republican Senator John Warner, whose old seat is up for election this year, would be out there rallying to Gillespie’s side in the battle against Democrat Mark Warner (no relation).
Barack Obama is no doubt heartened that his fellow Nobel laureate Paul Krugman recently declared him to be “one of the most successful Presidents in American history.”
Too bad for Obama that Krugman isn’t running in November. These days most Democrats would not place the words Obama and successful in the same sentence. Come to think of it, most Democrats dare not mention Obama’s name. Yet Krugman doesn’t seem too concerned:
Barack Obama’s mouth provides Republicans with their best opportunity of the midterm cycle.
In this space two weeks ago, at the end of a broadside against Karl Rove and the national Republican establishment for their infelicitous conduct toward fellow Republicans and tepid presentation of the issues in this fall’s midterm election campaign, your author offered this:
A lack of trust and credibility, both with the voters as a whole and with the conservative base, is what’s dissipating the much-expected Republican wave. And while Rove beats the fundraising drums at the Wall Street Journal, the party is neither working to end the war with the Tea Party nor offering reasons why a GOP majority even matters. As such, control over the Senate majority mostly depends on mistakes by the other side in the next six weeks.
We’re less than five weeks out from the midterm elections, and by all appearances they will go well for the Republicans. Gains in the House and Senate are likely, with the majority in the Senate within reach. Pick-ups are likely at the state level as well—just as important, but frequently overlooked. So you can be relatively sure that on the night of November 4, there will a ton of backslapping and plenty of folks walking around with that winning glow.
Here’s the problem: Winning will give the Republican Party a new, and false, sense of confidence, which could mask the significant deficiencies that remain in the Right’s political infrastructure. These deficiencies, if not rectified on a national scale, will make it impossible for the GOP to win the White House in 2016.
Many factors determine a party or candidate’s ability to win the White House. Some reside in the realm that we can call luck or fate, but many others are controllable. What Republicans need to understand—yesterday—is that there are plenty of the latter, and myriad things the party can do, regardless of who the nominee will be in 2016, to make winning back the Oval Office much more likely.
“….we have elevated men and political parties to power that promised to restore limited government and then proceeded, after their election, to expand the activities of government.” —Barry Goldwater in The Conscience of a Conservative (1961)
Why is the GOP struggling? This was supposed to be a “wave” election. The money isn’t coming in, says Karl Rove in a cautionary column titled “Why a GOP Senate Majority is Still in Doubt.”