Tags: Healthcare Reform | Trump Tax Reform | congressional | democrats

GOP's Great Potential Excels at Mediocrity

GOP's Great Potential Excels at Mediocrity
(Doug James/Dreamstime)

By Thursday, 16 November 2017 01:20 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Precursor to massive carnage, or fully-expected minor setback in an off-year election? In the wake of election results that weren’t favorable for Republicans, that is the $64,000 question regarding the GOP’s fate.

Here's an objective look at what the elections meant, and what they portend for 2018:

First. The inside baseball crowd doesn’t decide elections. Instead, the Great American Middle does, and they have no idea who Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Donna Brazile. They have zero interest in hearing about the budget reconciliation process.

Our hyper-partisan society notwithstanding, what matters to them, above all esle, is:

  • Economic security. Will their jobs be shipped overseas? How much remains in their paycheck after taxes and paying for college? Will they have enough money to retire?
  • Physical security. This means grave concerns over North Korea’s nuclear weapons, mitigating terrorism, as well as the stopping of mass shootings).
  • Health security. Meaning, being able to  afford quality health insurance, quality medications — especially in retirement and in the instances of job loss.

There is an exponentially-increased awareness among Americans that almost everything in their lives is affected by Washington, D.C. 

As a result of this, people are paying closer attention, while simultaneously seeing their patience grow thin. That’s why, over the last two decades, there have been unprecedented "wave"elections. This is when the majority party has been unceremoniously kicked to the curb: 1994, 2006, 2008, and 2010.

The message is that people won’t tolerate stagnation and incompetence. Voters will continue to implement sea changes in Congress and the White House, and they will do so until things dramatically improve.

Adding to voter frustration are continual stories of scandal in both parties.  These generate two significant results. Some citizens become so apathetic that they end up ignoring politics altogether; others become driven to actively organize and clean house. 

Given that both parties are embroiled in controversy, it remains to be seen which takes a bigger "voter fatigue hit" in 2018.

The prevailing sentiment was that the elections were calamitous for Republicans, since the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey were won by Democrats. Wrong.

New Jersey is an overwhelmingly Democratic state. Chris Christie’s election eight years ago was an aberration. Christie was successful in his first term, but became too big for his britches, literally — falling out of favor. Given his incomprehensible 15 percent approval rating, it was a no-brainer that the GOP candidate (Lieutenant Governor Kimberly Ann Guadagno) had zero chance.

And neither was Virginia a surprise. No Republican had won statewide in eight years. Demographic changes continue to favor Democrats so much so that the GOP’s chances for a statewide win diminish more each year.

To say those races were a harbinger is a red herring.

Of much larger significance are how races played out in traditionally Republican districts. As election day dawned, the GOP controlled 66 of 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates. When polls closed, it was carnage, twelve GOP incumbents lost. Three open seats flipped to Democrats.

The same was true in historically Republican areas of New York state, like Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties, where Democrats won.

Democrats also made unprecedented gains in the Philadelphia’s Republican suburbs. It’s not an exaggeration that in some cases, the last non-Republicans to hold power in these counties were Whigs and Federalists.

The only bright spot for Republicans were the statewide judicial wins in Pennsylvania — a not-insignificant achievement given the Keystone State’s prominence in determining control of Congress and the White House.

A combination of factors led to the Republicans’ dismal showing. First, many races were in areas where demographic changes hurt the Republicans. That said, the GOP has yet to find a way to appeal to those outside its traditional coalition — a failure clearly to its detriment.

Second, Democrats out-hustled Republicans. They were hungrier, more motivated, and considerably more organized. Too many Republicans, especially in suburban areas, rested on their laurels and became lazy, allowing technology to supersede retail politicking.

Sorry, but Facebook messaging and e-mail blasts cannot replace going door-to-door, packing the schedule with speaking engagements and coffee klatches, as well as greeting commuters on freezing train platforms at 5 a.m.

Victory goes to the lean and hungry. This is a lesson many Republicans need to re-learn.

Third, Democrats made Donald Trump the issue, and it worked. In races that saw historic shifts, there were no local hot-button issues that generated anti-incumbent backlash: no scandals, no tax increases, nothing. The Democrats’ message was simple — to vote Republican is to vote Trump. That, along with many Democrats’ unprecedented hatred of the president, was enough to turn the tide.

Fourth, many Republicans, including part of the President’s base, simply weren’t motivated. Some didn’t realize the importance of the elections, but much more so, many Republicans are fed up with empty promises and party infighting. They are beyond irritated that virtually nothing has been accomplished in Washington over the last year, despite the GOP holding all the cards.

Repealing Obamacare was perhaps the most-promised Republican pledge in history, and yet it remains intact. No border wall has been constructed. The Iran nuclear agreement hasn’t been scrapped.  America remains embroiled in the Mideast. North Korea’s bellicose leader has threatened nuclear war, yet has been met only with bluster.

Tax reform remains elusive, China is getting a free pass, trade deals have not been revamped, immigration reform is nonexistent, and travel bans remain tied up in court, with the administration rolling over to the judiciary. And that’s just for starters. 

The question is whether Republican leaders, including the president, will finally enact the platform that got them elected, or if they’ll keep playing the blame game, convincing themselves that Hillary, Obama, and congressional Democrats are at fault.

The Republican Party is mistaken if it thinks it will retain power solely by enacting tax reform. Cutting the corporate tax rate — while absolutely necessary — doesn’t resonate with the average voter. Any personal tax cut will not come in time to affect the 2018 elections.

The party needs a lot more if it is to survive.

The GOP stands at crossroads. For it to prosper, it must articulate what it stands for, starting with an immediate nationwide media blitz. Above all, it must expand its base to include non-traditional constituencies, while not compromising what it means to be a proud Republican.

Never before has so much been possible, yet with so little results. If the Republican Party doesn’t wake up, soon the Grand Old Party will be just that. Old.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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Never before has so much been possible, yet with so little results. If the Republican Party doesn’t wake up, soon the Grand Old Party will be just that. Old.
congressional, democrats
Thursday, 16 November 2017 01:20 PM
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