Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Just one more week until the midterm elections. Finally the end of silly season is just about here. Candidates and their supporters (named and unnamed) now face the daunting task of moving voters from their couches to the voting booth because, at least for the present, the number of ballots cast for candidates determines the winner rather than the number of dollars raised by campaigns.

This has been an unusual campaign season for any number of reasons, not the least of which has been the emergence of the Tea Party as a "grassroots" movement. Given the last two years, the Republican Party rightfully assumed that they could pretty much take over Congress, especially with the US Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case. Oddly enough, that dream was shattered by people who for years had aligned themselves with that party but who decided this time they weren't just going to do so. As this article in the Los Angeles Times suggests, the monolithic party organization as a means for getting out the vote isn't quite in play for the GOP this time around.

With the campaign in its final week, well-funded conservative groups have shifted their focus from the airwaves to voters' phone lines, front doors and mailboxes — part of a get-out-the-vote effort that could tip the scales in tight races across the country.

But the push to get the nation's conservative voters to the polls is fractured and untested, with some "tea party" activists refusing to cooperate with more mainstream Republicans, in contrast to the unified and well-organized parallel effort by unions and Democrats, according to key players on both sides. ...

"There is a sense now that Republicans may not be able to capitalize on the backlash against [President] Obama and the Democrats because they lack the well-organized voter ID and get-out-the-vote effort that they have had in the past," said Lawrence Jacobs, a University of Minnesota political scientist who has been comparing the ground game of both parties. There is enormous variation now state to state, he said. ...

For the GOP, this year's patchwork approach is a dramatic departure from the last decade, when a single well-organized entity — the Republican National Committee — ran sophisticated voter mobilization programs that were years in the making. But the RNC has faltered in funding and organization recently, and outside groups have stepped up efforts, many of them starting only recently.
[Emphasis added]

After years of catering to the Religious Reich, the GOP now finds itself in the unenviable position of having to cater to the wacky right. Instead of "walk over" wins in Nevada and Delaware, one race is too close to call, and the other will indeed be a walk over, but for the Democrats. Will Republicans a fraction to the left of Attila the Hun hold their noses and vote for candidates who don't have a clue? I don't think so.

But it all comes down to getting the people to the polls.

The Democrats just might pull this off, with victory being declared after losing only a handful of House seats and one or two Senate seats.

One can only hope.



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