Washington has been fascinated by Republican self-laceration since the 2012 election. Karl Rove triggered a circular firing squad by vowing to take out unwashed challengers in GOP primaries. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal begged Republicans to stop being the “stupid party.” Strategists say the party can’t survive as stale, pale and male. Tea Party legislators knee-cap GOP congressional “leaders” and well-funded political PACs strafe any who dare deviate from the party’s unpopular gospel. Republicans are even talking about changing “Grand Old Party” to something more fashionable.
Representative Paul Ryan’s newest budget will put every Republican on record voting to turn Medicare into a voucher, gut Medicaid, repeal Obamacare, savage investment in education and leave some 50 million Americans without health insurance. Not surprisingly, polls suggest Congress is less popular than colonoscopies, and Republicans poll at lowest levels on record.
The re-engaged president is pressing reforms on immigration, gun violence, gay marriage and climate change. These issues help consolidate his majority – the “rising American electorate” of young voters, minorities and single women.
All this has Democrats thinking wistfully about taking back the House of Representatives, holding the Senate, ending gridlock and driving a new surge of progressive reform.
Well, sober up.
The 2014 midterm election is more likely to be a debacle for Democrats than Republicans. It will take a true political miracle for Democrats to take back the House. Republicans need to win a net of six Senate seats to take the Senate – with six Democratic seats up in red states, and seven in swing states. Four sitting Democratic Senators are retiring compared to only two Republicans, both from safe red states.