Republicans are understandably upbeat about their election prospects. But while they are sure to make gains on Election Day, the greater prize of re-taking at least the House of Representatives is far from a foregone conclusion.
Some Republicans may be tempted to cruise into November playing the political equivalent of a prevent defense, merely trying to avoid major mistakes while riding a tidal wave of voter discontent with the Obama-Reid-Pelosi regime. But Republicans can and should do much more.
Recent polls show registered voters are virtually tied in their preference for Democrats and Republicans. This prompted House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) to talk recently about a Democratic “resurgence.” And more and more conservatives worry that the GOP may end up a few seats short of a majority.
Republican and independent voters are far more energized than are Democratic voters—the Republican primaries saw record-high turnout, while Democratic primary voting hit an 80-year low this year, according to a study by American University.
But while the GOP will benefit from the huge enthusiasm gap, Democrats will rely on their money advantage to try to avert an electoral catastrophe.
Republicans have funding advantages among outside groups. But the latest numbers show that the top campaign committees for Democrats had a combined $69 million in the bank, while Republicans had $48.6 million. And the Democratic National Committee has committed $50 million to this year’s midterms, three times what it spent in 2006.
The unions are also spending. Two major unions announced recently that they will spend $100 million to re-elect liberal congressmen. As the New York Times reported, “Labor leaders, alarmed at a possible Republican takeover of one or both houses of Congress, promise to devote a record amount of money and manpower to helping Democrats stave off disaster.”
The A.F.L.-C.I.O. alone is spending $50 million on races in 26 states and is deploying 1,500 full-time campaign workers to key races.
The Obama political team that ran circles around Republicans in 2008 is also stepping up. While Team Obama seems to be stuck on stupid at the moment, it would be a mistake to dismiss the effect Obama could have on the campaign trail for Democratic candidates.
Obama’s poll numbers are up slightly, and he’s already started an ambitious campaign schedule. Obama is reportedly planning a series of campaign events this fall, including stops in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Nevada. Obama is donating millions from his campaign account to the party’s campaign committees.
The Democrats are even deploying Michelle Obama to the campaign trail. According to the New York Times, the First Lady will appear on behalf of Democratic candidates in the Midwest and West starting in mid-October.
On top of this, The Hill reports that Senate Democrats may leave town early, at the end of September instead of staying in session until October 7, to allow vulnerable members more time to campaign.
Another concern is left-wing voter fraud, accusations of which have increased after every election in recent memory. This is not just about ACORN registering ineligible voters and Black Panther intimidation at polling places. Many states have failed to clean up voter rolls with ineligible voters. And the Obama Justice Department has refused to prosecute many cases of voter fraud.
An 18-month study conducted by Minnesota Majority recently found that at least 341 convicted felons voted illegally in largely Democratic Minneapolis-St. Paul in the 2008 Senate race there.
That’s enough to seriously call into question Al Franken’s 312-vote win.
The upshot for Republicans is that nothing can be taken for granted. Recent elections have often come down to which side was better able to get out its vote. Same-sex marriage amendments on the ballots in 11 states brought many conservative voters to the polls in 2004. Those votes proved decisive for President Bush and other Republican candidates.
Obama may have lost in 2008 had it not been for the support of millions of first-time minority and other liberal voters. Conservative grass roots organizations should focus on registering and delivering to the polls our own like-minded voters.
Republican candidates must be bold in advocating for conservative values—just as bold as Obama/Reid/Pelosi have been in forcing their Socialist values upon the American public for the last 20 months. We should proudly speak for smaller government, lower taxes, a strong national defense, the sanctity of life and normal marriage.
Republican candidates must force Democratic incumbents to defend their votes, and the direction in which their party’s leaders are taking the country. The Democratic leadership has made it easier for the GOP of late by bringing up votes on divisive issues like “Don’t ask, Don’t tell,” immigration amnesty and fake campaign finance reform that gives the unions a free ride while clamping down on pro-Republican businesses.
Democrats are raising these issues to try to energize their listless base. Republicans should ask their opponents from now until Election Day why these issues are being raised at a time when most Americans are worried about their jobs and whether their taxes will soon rise. Whatever happened to Obama’s pledge to focus “like a laser beam” on job creation?
Congressional Republicans’ “Pledge to America” boldly makes the case for policies that are supported by the vast majority of voters. The Pledge touts spending reductions and tax cuts all around. It calls for the repeal of Obamacare and its replacement with real healthcare reform that includes medical malpractice reform.
A six-month check-up of Obamacare shows that it will increase healthcare costs, force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions and cause premiums to soar. The Pledge will help remind voters that the GOP is not only a party of “No.” It is also a party with bold ideas about how to get the government out of their way and the economy moving again.
It is beyond dispute that the much-vaunted “Summer of Recovery” has been a complete failure. But Republicans can produce an “Autumn of Recovery,” their own and thus the nation’s, by staying on offense all the way until Election Day.