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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

’08 Elections: ‘Perfect Storm’ Or Political Tsunami

Mark Green, one of the Dems’ staunchest progressives, has an encouraging post up at the HuffPo “Why 2008 will be a Perfect Storm for Republicans,” with this happy prediction:

Adding it all up: look for Democrats to end up with a near filibuster-proof 58 Senate seats (up from 51) and 260 House seats (up from 213 in 2005 and 233 in 2007). The 2006 and 2008 elections would then be the equivalent of a rolling realignment, comparable to the 51, 49 and 53 House seats that switched hands in 1958, 1974 and 1994 respectively. For when there’s a tidal wave of sentiment, it doesn’t tip some close contests but nearly all close contests.

Green’s perfect storm has four elements, encapsulated in the GOP’s disastrous policies in the following areas: Iraq; the economy; intolerance; and children. Green adds:

Beyond these four problems, a variety of other realities combine to dig Republicans into an even deeper hole. Recent polls show Democrats are more trusted on every domestic and foreign policy issue: education, health care, environment, economic growth, fiscal discipline, even terrorism. The number of Americans who self-identify as Republican is at a seven year low. While Americans believing the country is on the wrong tack was 50 percent in 2002 and 2004, it’s now 67 percent. National Democratic committees and presidential candidates are outraising their Republican counterparts better than 2 to 1. And then there’s the fact that Republicans are defending 22 Senate seats in 2008 compared to 12 for the Democrats. Nine Republican Senate seats are now considered vulnerable (Alaska, Colorado, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon and Virginia).

In other words a thorough housecleaning is in the making. Another Green, David Michael, a Hofstra poly sci professor, thinks the “perfect storm” analogy may fall short in describing the political weather taking shape for Republicans. As he writes in his Common Dreams post, “The Coming Progressive Era“:

Calling this a perfect storm may not do justice to the tsunami headed the GOP’s way. They’ll be lucky if they wind up as well off as the Tories in Britain after Thatcher, exiled for a dozen or more years…Democrats are likely to get one more chance in 2008, and they’re likely – with one exception – to sew up total control of the government, with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and little need for overriding vetoes.

Lest we get too optimistic, Professor Green points out that we’ll still have a reactionary Supreme Court. But even that could change with a lucky break or two. And yes, I know, a million things can go wrong between now and November ’08. For now, however, we can be cheered that political observers are beginning to envision a very different political climate for the opposition. ‘Perfect Storm’ or tsunami — either one will do nicely.

One comment on “’08 Elections: ‘Perfect Storm’ Or Political Tsunami

  1. Chris Bedford on

    Mark Green’s optimistic predictions ignore the fundamental crisis that we face. Like most Democrats and virtually all Republicans, he doesn’t acknowledge that our attitudes toward Nature underlie many of the most pressing problems we face. Access to clean water. Spiraling public health costs. Truly sustainable economic development. Real homeland security based on indigenous fuel and food supplies. The root cause for these problems goes directly to our continued belief in the paradigm, “if brute force isn’t working, you aren’t using enough of it.” We need to be smarter and working WITH Nature’s processes according to Nature’s rules if we are to succeed.
    Our nation is bankrupt and in debt to our most powerful opponents. The Earth tetters on the brink on a catastrophic environmental crisis. Our people have lost faith in government’s ability or willingness to address these systemic problems.
    What we need is a Democratic Party that has the courage to step up and address these fundamental problems. What we need is leadership. The response to Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize is an indication of how strong this desire for real leadership is.
    As to the inevitability of the Democrats in 2008? I remember in 1972 how we were sure women and minorities were going to elect the next president.
    Bill McDonough says, “When you want to go to Canada but you are headed for Mexico at 100 miles per hour — it doesn’t really help to slow down to 30. You are still going the wrong direction.” We need to turn around and go in the right direction.
    Chris Bedford – Center for Economic Security


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