Though the five months between now and Election Day might seem like an eternity in politics, at least one thing is clear: Top tier Republican candidates are solidifying the playing field and ensuring that the GOP will challenge more than enough Democrat-held seats to put the majority in play.
As we enter the height of the campaign season, both the field of candidates and the issues at hand are becoming crystal clear and they all bode poorly for Democrats. A significant number of Republican candidates in targeted races have cleared the final hurdle before the general election. They are now ready to dedicate the next five months to holding their opponents accountable for an agenda that has been entirely ineffective in stemming the tide of a devastating recession and, in the eyes of many voters, has actually made the situation worse. Combined with a political environment that grows more turbulent by the day, Democrats will be on the run from now until November.
GOP CANDIDATES ALREADY CAMPAIGNING FOR NOVEMBER
With 50 percent of the country’s primaries now behind us, top-tier Republican candidates are already playing offense against Democrats in over 40 seats – a larger number than we need to win back the majority. These top-tier candidates have either already won their primaries or are on pace to win the Republican nomination, which will allow them to focus on their path to victory with an eye toward November.
Contrary to assertions that recent contested primaries have left the GOP divided, we need to look no further than last night’s results to see that strong candidates have emerged to give Republicans the best possible chance for victory in November. By-and-large the primary contests that have taken place have served to strengthen the respective candidacies of those like Robert Hurt and Scott Rigell in Virginia. In these districts and countless others, Republicans and independents are quickly coalescing around GOP nominees in a concerted effort to send Democrats a message on Election Day.
From a district-by-district standpoint, the numbers are stacked against the Democrats. The Cook Political Report has consistently predicted “a very tough political environment for Democrats come November, with severe losses likely, significantly greater than the average first-term midterm loss of 16 seats in the House.”
REPUBLICANS SURGE ON THE GENERIC BALLOT
An abundance of quality Republican candidates makes life difficult enough for establishment Democrats, but recent polling is even more troubling for the majority party. A survey released last week by the Gallup Organization revealed the best showing for Republicans on the generic ballot in the history of the polling firm. Republicans climbed to a 49%-43% lead over Democrats while also maintaining a 15-point advantage in voter enthusiasm. According to Real Clear Politics, this indicates an even wider advantage for Republicans once likely voters are taken into consideration.
Yesterday’s Gallup Poll builds on the anti-establishment mood that has been developing for well over a year. Sixty percent of registered voters believe that it’s time for new blood in Congress, representing one of the highest measures of anti-incumbency since Gallup began tracking the question. For a party that controls every lever of government in Washington, this predominant national mood will present serious problems.
ECONOMIC OUTLOOK: DEMOCRATS HAVE NO PLAN FOR JOB GROWTH
It’s not difficult to see why the American people are ready to give up on this Democrat majority. From day one, it’s been clear that the aim of their legislative agenda has been advancing political goals rather than presenting a plan to stem an ongoing economic crisis and put the country back on track. The failed stimulus, the National Energy Tax, the government takeover of healthcare, and a litany of unnecessary and wasteful spending bills all present a convincing case: This Democrat majority is either committed to forcing through an agenda that stands in the way of economic recovery or simply is not capable of creating legislation that eases the burden of spending and debt on the economy and puts Americans back to work.
Now, it looks as though House Democrats will refuse to pass a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Instead of creating a plan that cuts government spending, decreases the size of the federal government, and restores fiscal responsibility, Democrats have decided that they will continue spending at will – and they refuse to give the American people a blueprint on how their taxpayer money will be used. Despite the prevailing notion that the viability of the Democrat majority depends on the country’s economic outlook over the coming months, the Democrats’ election strategy appears to be pursuing business as usual and hoping for the best.
AN UNPRECEDENTED POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT
Adding to the laundry list of challenges facing Democrats as they attempt to hold onto the House of Representatives is a developing political reality that they refuse to accept. As they push forward with their unpopular agenda and runaway spending spree, Americans are left dealing with the consequences of a faltering economy. The national unemployment rate now stands at 9.7 percent, a figure never before seen in an election year. In fact, according to nonpartisan election analyst Charlie Cook, unemployment has never been above nine percent for an entire election year since the Great Depression.
The troubling mix of anti-incumbent attitudes, a toxic political environment, and a faltering economy means that Democrats are facing a monumental challenge, the severity of which may very well continue growing throughout the summer. Combined with a field of aggressive Republican candidates who will be able to spend the next several months holding the majority accountable for its reckless political agenda, Democrats will be playing heavy defense from now through Election Day. With five months to go, Republicans have established a foundation of candidates that will only grow as we continue our fight to retire Nancy Pelosi and take back the majority in the House of Representatives.