Can Democrats Be Saved By Their Opposition?
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Make no mistake: the essay you are about to read is not one that is awash in optimism.
There are no shortage of signs that 2010 could be a deeply perilous year for the Democratic Party:
- The ghosts of cycles past is certainly going to visit the Democrats with no small amount of woe to follow. It is, in the recent political past, decidedly rare for a political party to have two "wave elections" in a row. Yet that is exactly what the Democrats have enjoyed in both 2006 and 2008, when they gained over a dozen Senate seats and over 50 House seats. This creates two dangerous dynamics for the Democrats: (a) there is precious little low-hanging fruit left for the Democrats to harvest and (b) there are plenty of potentially imperiled Democrats who owe their seats to the favorable electoral climates to which they were elected.
- Whereas Democrats benefitted politically from voter discontent in both 2006 and 2008, any lingering voter anger (and recent right track/wrong track polling data confirms it is still very much out there) is likely to get directed disproportionately to the party-in-power. Of course, this is a fluid statistic, and voter malaise in January could become relative contentedness by November, depending on the state of the economy and any legislative accomplishments that can be touted between then and now.
- Perhaps the biggest concern for Democrats has to be the sizeable gap between the two parties in terms of voter motivation as we head into 2010. It should give the Democratic Party tremendous pause that, according to the final Daily Kos "State of the Nation" tracking poll, 45% of Democrats identify themselves as either unlikely to vote or certain not to vote. For the Democrats to avoid a major defeat in 2010, this above all other things needs to be rectified.