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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

September 11: Seven GOP Advantages

Assessing the end of the primary season at TPMCafe this week, I noted seven distinct advantages Republicans will carry into November:

With the primaries concluded, political junkies may now devote themselves to a general election in which the overall battleground is tilted towards the GOP thanks to at least seven separate factors: (1) a wildly favorable Senate landscape with seven Democratic seats up in states carried by Mitt Romney in 2012; (2) a House majority entrenched by redistricting, incumbency, and superior Republican “efficiency” in voter distribution; (3) a Democratic “midterm falloff” problem based on eternally lower participation rates in non-presidential years by younger and minority voters; (4) a long history of second-term midterm struggles by parties holding the White House; (5) relatively low presidential approval ratings; (6) an economy perceived by most voters as not-yet-recovering from the Great Recession; and (7) a host of international problems the president will be held accountable for not instantly resolving.

That’s not what you’ll hear after the election, though:

If Republicans meet or exceed expectations, of course, most will cite none of these factors and will instead claim a “mandate” on issues ranging from health care to immigration to “entitlement reform,” and vindication of their conspiratorial accusations about Benghazi! and the IRS. By then, however, we will have fully entered a presidential cycle, and a whole new ball game with many arrows immediately shifting to an opposite direction. So the true legacy of this cycle will only be determined when its influence over the next one is fully absorbed.

That could take us right up to the next election day.

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