Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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A cautionary tale from Precinct 6

My mom is an election official at local Precinct 6 in Norton Shores, Michigan. Her district is solidly Republican, but after yesterday’s primaries, she told me this cautionary tale: Dick DeVos, the Republican nominee for governor, ran very well in her precinct (and is ahead of Governor Jennifer Granholm in the polls); but Pete Hoekstra, the incumbant Republican Congressman, only garnered a few hundred more votes than the unknown Democrat in the opposite primary. DeVos is running a good campaign and Michigan is hurting economically, so his advantage is not a big surprise. But Hoekstra’s slim margin in a safely Republican district does not augur well for national Republicans around the country.

This little story is a prelude to explaining why Adam Nagourney of the New York Times is right when he offers a sobering note to the GOP after the Connecticut primary. As he says, while the Lieberman defeat creates a number of problems for national Democrats, Republicans should especially beware because "the Lamont victory suggested that many Democrats — stirred by their opposition to the war and hostility toward Mr. Bush — are as energized as any group of voters in years, enough so to move them to the voting booth in huge numbers." Of course, punishing Bush is not a political platform and really doesn’t play well with moderates and independents, but the ordinary person on the street also doesn’t like $3 gas and the perceived failure to win in Iraq.

All politics may be local, but not all the time. DeVos is strong but Hoekstra is weak. And if the Democrats can somehow marry liberals’ anger with moderates’ unease, Precinct 6 may be a harbinger of serious trouble for the GOP in the fall.

Discussions - 9 Comments

That was very thoughtful, Jeff. I, too, worry that the Lieberman defeat may be a bad time for the GOP faithful to dance gleefully on the grave of the Democratic party. I don’t think it is good for the country for the Dems to turn this way and I also don’t think it guarantees--by any stretch of the imagination--a GOP victory. It just means there are alot of whacked people out there. It also means there are alot of politically homeless folks who may or may not like the home we offer. The play for those votes will not be easy or pretty. I have little hope (and less evidence to support it from history) that the GOP will do it right. There is some opportunty here--but it requires statesmanship.

Jeff

Is it possible that Michigan home of both ailing Genral Motors and even worse off Ford Motors, with the worst economy in the country, is not representative of anything.

I would also caution about adding up voting in an uncontested primary of an incumbent as being predictive of anyone. You dont want to come off sounding like Bob Beckel, who thinks Connecticut means the Democrat turnout will be huge in November. If he is right and I am wrong, it will be the very first time on anything related to politics since he showed up every on tv after November 2000 spouting his knowledge about the election.

Jeff, You’re right to worry. Peter

Turns out that in CT, about 20% of the electorate turned out... 10% nominated Lamont. Hard to believe there’s any information in those numbers.

Conservatives--wait check that--I mean GOPers should be very worried

I am running for state office as a GOPer, and lemme tell you it’s nasty out there on the doors. I have a VERY bad feeling about this November. It’s not just young libs either, a lot of people are either quietly turning away from the WOT or noisily finding fault and claiming to have been duped. I’d like to do the same--no one wants to be a chump--but it seems like so much bad faith. I knew we were hosed when they didn’t find the WMDs right away.

Has there ever been a bigger troll that last comment?

You don’t know who I am, and I won’t tell you. But trust me, I really am a statewide Republican candidate and I know we are all getting whipped because Bush lied.

Sure. Whatever you say.

6: Cassandra, people are rationalizing their unwillingness to face the massive fact of Islamofascism -- and its enormous ambition and reach. The problems in Iraq, the possible absence of WMD’s, Bush’s style, even the loss of 2,000 soldiers, are secondary. What you’re running up against is immaturity and weak character. It is a perennial problem of democratic leadership. We don’t cut through this human weakness by enabling it and agreeing with it. That just empowers the pacifist/isolationist wusses like Lamont and their (often) fifth-columnite supporters. We need to face the disaffected Republicand moderates with more respect than we may feel or than they may deserve and tell them that we must stay the course despite the inevitable mistakes. If the candidate doesn’t show conviction, it will confirm the swing voters in their regression back to Sept. 10 immaturity.
It will not only be the opposite of leadership; it is unsuccessful politics.

any thoughts on the Schwarz loss?

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