Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Primary Night in America - May 18, 2010

The biggest news, because it was earliest, was that Rand Paul, who comes from the libertarian wing of the GOP (that's putting it mildly) just won the KY GOP primary. What does this mean?
1. Well, the first thing it means is that the GOP electorate in KY is probably smaller than the GOP would like. In fact, the Democratic primary is having much higher turnout. With 60% of precincts reporting, there are about 300,000 Democratic primary voters and 200,000 Republican primary voters. Low turnout favors an energized minority.
2. Rand Paul is not a "christian" conservative. This is a defeat for the GOP establishment.
3. Also, it's a defeat for McConnell and his "no, no, no" strategy. McConnell, the other sitting senator from Kentucky, endorsed Grayson. A grassroots revolt by Republicans against their own party leaders can be spun as anti-Obama by TV spinmeisters, but it's a stretch. With Bennett's defeat, the word is that Republicans are not happy with their own party.
4. Democrats are enthused in KY. Rand Paul was the enemy they wanted, because he's so far "out there" compared to most Republicans, and he doesn't have the "christian" vote wrapped up either. We recall that Ron Paul is a libertarian fave (Rand's father) but that's a small % of the electorate. 10% is far above Ron Paul's support in almost every state. Rand Paul puts the KY seat in play, a possible Dem pickup this year.

So my thesis of a couple weeks ago is bearing out to some extent (ahem!). The Tea Party is not the forerunner of a big GOP wave, but just a division of an ever-smaller, ever more out-of-touch party. With an improving economy, expect the Democrats to become more optimistic over the next weeks and months.

In fact, Democrats went to the polls in large numbers today. Liberals turned out incumbent Specter in favor of Sestak for Senate in Pennsylvania. Democrats turned out to win the 12th CD, special election, for a Democrat after Jack Murtha's death - this was a seat the GOP thought sure to claim if there was any truth to a conservative wave out there. And in Arkansas, liberal Bill Halter with union and moveon.org support is giving Blanche Lincoln a run for her money. The race is almost tied with 38% in.

This is not a nation that is voting against Democrats, against liberals, or against Washington. Poll numbers show that Democrats are re-engaging, and independents reconnecting with them, as the economy improves.

I have a thought that we are seeing something interesting. Neither party really expects control of Congress to change. Everyone expects the GOP to make up some ground, but not 9 Senate seats and 30 house seats. So neither party is showing the innate willingness to run centrists in order to win in November. Neither party is that worried about revolts or upsets either. With a growing feeling among party leaders that nothing is in the balance but individual fates, we are seeing a lot of playing to the base.

UPDATE: Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is headed to a runoff with Bill Halter, a man who was 10-12 points behind her in the polls just last week. With 52% of the vote in, she's only 2,000 votes ahead of Halter. The parallel to Sestak is astonishing. Both surged in the last 2-3 weeks as the Democratic electorate finally took the race seriously. I suspect the fact that Obama is very popular among Democrats shows here in invigorating Dems to turn out to support real Democrats, not the DINOs.

1 comment:

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