08.02.2017 0

Canary in the coal mine?

By Printus LeBlanc

In the 2010 midterm elections Republicans gained 63 seats in the House of Representatives and another 6 in the Senate. In the 2014 midterm elections, following a lackluster showing in the 2012 general election, the Republicans gained 13 House seats and 2 Senate seats. I wonder what 2018 is going to look like?

A series of special elections for state seats across the nation did not bode well for Republicans. These elections did not gain the national attention the federal elections like Handel vs Ossoff did, the most expensive House race in history at $55 million being spent by the candidates and outside groups.

Michael Brooks (D-Okla.) won a state senate race for the 44th district of Oklahoma. Oklahoma is no known for Brooks won the district by 9 points, despite losing the same district in 2014 by 9.8 points. Republican As expected turnout was low. Democrat turnout was about one-half of a general election, but Republican turnout dropped by two-thirds.

Not only was this a “safe” Republican seat, it was a district carried by President Trump in 2016.

In the same special election, Karen Gaddis (D-Okla.) won the state representative seat for district 75. Less than one year ago in 2016, Gaddis lost this election by almost 19 points. This time Gaddis was able to win by almost 5 points. Another district President Trump won.

In New Hampshire, Edith DesMarais defeated Matthew Plache in late May for District Carroll 6. The election was an 9-point swing in less than a year. Republicans are usually able to acquire 55-59 percent of the vote, but barely got 48 percent in the special election. Once again, it was a district President Trump won by seven points.

Many will ask, what about the special elections for federal seats? Republicans did win the seats in Kansas, Georgia, Montana, and South Carolina after all. These elections were much closer than the general election less than a year ago, and voters still had confidence legislation would be passed based on the campaign platforms.

Yes, these are special elections, and yes special elections do not necessarily point towards a trend. But, what could account for an 18-point swing in 3 years for Brooks and a 24-point swing for Gaddis in less than one year? Nothing!!

Nothing, is likely the reason for the defeat. Republicans came into power after six years complaining about the Obama administration. The Republicans ran on repealing Obamacare. They ran on tax reform focused on growing the economy. They ran on shrinking the size of an ever-growing intrusive government. The Republican party platform galvanized the base, and nothing has happened.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning stated, “These races are the canary in the coal mine for Republicans. It is normal for the party that doesn’t hold the White House to have a wave of enthusiasm, but it is abnormal for the party in power to have so little to show legislatively for their efforts to encourage their supporters to vote.”

Republicans are forgetting people gave up their weekends to block walk. People spent time away from their children to work in phone banks. They spent their own money on food and gas getting Republicans elected. They are not paid union workers collecting a paycheck.

Republicans may be listening to the noise within DC and not paying attention to the voices of the voters. After the recent failure to pass the campaign promised “repeal and replace”, much of the base voiced their anger. Many popular radio show hosts asked the question, “Why vote Republican?” after a series of legislative failures. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) then attacked the hosts while speaking on the Senate floor last week. These hosts have a captive audience in the tens of millions every day, and the Republicans are insulting them, is that really the right move?

Republican leadership has yet to give their voters a reason to mobilize, in fact, the Republicans have given their base a reason to stay home. The opposition has given their base plenty of reasons to mobilize. They have the media on their side, and preach Russia every day. Republicans refuse to take the offensive about the benefits of a free market limited government system. Where is the public hearing about Obamacare forcing people into multiple part-time jobs instead of one full time job? Where is the hearing and debate about explosive economic growth that can be expected after tax reform? If Republicans insist on staying in power, they must go on the offensive and take no prisoners, because when the Democrats get the chance to govern again, they will take no prisoners.

Printus LeBlanc is a contributing reporter for Americans for Limited Government

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