by Michael Bryan
is widely acknowledging that the 2008 election cycle is not likely to
be kind to the GOP. In fact, most folks are expecting something of a perfect storm. I’m expecting a generational re-alignment. Not only will Obama
win, he’ll win huge: Reagan vs. Mondale huge. Not only will Democrats
defend their Congressional majority, they will extend it by at least 30
more seats in the House (maybe as many as 60) and by 5 or more in the
What this means in Arizona is
that Democrats will make pick-ups in AZ-1 and AZ-3 and successfully,
even handily, defend recent gains in AZ-5 and AZ-8. AZ-2 and AZ-6 will
be the last GOP hold-outs in the Arizona House delegation, mainly because the Democrats haven’t chosen to put those districts in play. Obama
may not win Arizona, but McCain won’t have any coat-tails here. McCain certainly won’t turn Arizona into a safe place to be a Republican, as many Republicans hope and pray.
We’ve already seen, through bye-elections in some very red districts,
that McCain isn’t having any positive effect on GOP chances nationally and linking Congressional Democrats to Obama in your messaging is the best favor you can do for your Democratic opponent.
The GOP ‘brand’ has been too profoundly damaged by the last 7 years of
misrule to be easily restored. In fact, The very reason McCain is
the nominee is because the GOP ‘brand’ simply isn’t selling, so the
Republicans nominated their ‘maverick’ to try to distance their 2008
campaign from the wreckage. Unfortunately for them, McCain was forced
to make obeisance to so many core constituencies during the primary that he
thereby severely damaged his credibility as a reformer – now he just
looks like another GOP party hack who is just a bit more of a hypocrite
I also expect new Democratic
majorities in state houses across the country, including Arizona. We
are only 4 seats away from taking the Arizona House, and I see a clear
path to picking up more seats than we need just here in Southern
Arizona, let alone pickup opportunities around the state. Phil Lopes
will be our new Speaker of the House come 2009.
dooms the GOP is the insistence of their base to hold fast to some of
the least productive aspects of their discredited brand, even as their
candidates are getting trounced by Dems
for running on those very themes.
I see highly qualified and competent
GOP candidates here locally who would have the most electoral appeal to Independents
and moderate Dems
having to tack strongly to the right on issues like taxes, guns, gays, and
immigration just to stay afloat in primary contests. The very candidates who
have the credibility and new ideas to rebuild the GOP brand at the
grassroots level are being weeded out by their own party in pursuit of
ideological purity. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. In the short
term, the self-destructive behavior of Republicans benefits my own party electorally, but in the long-run it
impoverishes our politics and deranges the national dialog.
result of this chest-beating by Republican candidates for their
discredited and deeply unpopular "movement conservative" constituents
will be that the GOP’s
nominees will be way off message for the coming general elections, or
their primaries will simply produce candidates who don’t even realize
how deeply their own party has been wounded. Such insular ideologues
who never speak to anyone outside their party will be absolutely
decimated in the current political environment.
Candidates who should
be busy recreating the GOP brand around issues average people actually
care about, are instead forced to chain themselves to the very cultural
hot-button positions and consistently failed policy nostrums that
voters are throwing overboard as economic hard times toss the ship of
state. The result will be an electoral Armageddon for the GOP and the
beginning of 40 years in the wilderness they so desperately need to
purge their ranks of the fascists, racists, and kooks who have taken
over and encouraged Republicans to worship false idols.
Those who say that the Democrats
aren’t winning this elections so much as the GOP is losing it are
absolutely right. It won’t matter much when the votes are counted:
either way it’s a bloodbath.
But there is much bad news in such a victory for
Democrats. Many will learn the wrong lessons from it.
When an experimental animal is randomly rewarded it will associate
completely random, even harmful behaviors with the reward and start
repeating those behaviors obsessively in hopes of reward. Democrats are
going to get a huge reward for engaging in the most politically useless
and harmful behaviors. The result will be utter irrationality by my own party.
The lessons that our appartchikis will glean will be that Democrats won by staying on message and talking about the laundry list of programs and policies that "Americans
care about", when the truth is that we will have won in spite of their
nattering along about our list of legislative "accomplishments".
could have run the current GOP coalition out of American political life
permanently. We would have forced their remaining electorally-viable remnants to join with the
Libertarians to rebuild something resembling a viable opposition party. Had we rammed home
just how terribly the GOP has screwed up our country through investigations of
the manifold criminal enterprises of this Administration and a slew of
impeachment hearings, we could have broken the GOP as thoroughly as the
Whigs or the Mafia. But our leaders don’t understood where the
political jugular lies. Instead, we have folks like Nancy Pelosi to
whom the political death sentence that the GOP so richly deserves is
simply off the table.