There’s a new article in The Politico by Jim VandeHei and John Harris that sums up the psychological effects of lethargy and low enthusiasm levels among Republicans this year (so far): “GOP funk slows turnout, money.”
Ambitious Republican politicians at the state and local levels are not deciding that this is the year to make a bid for higher office.
Republican contributors are not opening their wallets and writing campaign checks.
Most striking of all, Republican voters are not heading to the polls to vote in the GOP primaries in anything like participation rates of early years.
Most of these trends have been noted and amply commented upon in isolation. It is in combination, however, that their effects tend to reinforce each other and reach maximum toxicity. A disgruntled base is the root cause of weak fundraising, which contributes to poor candidate recruitment, which in turn leads to GOP activists staying on the sofa rather than heading to the polls.
To put it another way, GOPers are beginning to look at 2008 as just a “bad year” for them, like 2006, and maybe even worse.
Another sign of the bad moon rising for Republicans is an editorial in the Washington Times–normally an organ of relentless partisan agitprop–offering a very downbeat assessment of the party’s prospects in Senate races this year, conceding major Democratic gains as virtually inescapable.
It’s a long way to November, obviously, and all sorts of things could change. But as the Politico article suggests, low expectations can become self-fulfilling prophecies.