All midterm races bring with them a certain amount of opportunity to be gained – they either validate a President’s policies and leadership, or provide a referendum. In the last century, we would be hard pressed to name a President more polarizing than our current one, and as a result, these midterms will, without question, make a statement about his presidency.
Three weeks from tonight, we’ll have a pretty good idea on what that statement will be.
However, I don’t want to discuss quite yet what I believe will happen that Tuesday night. The race for Senate control has certainly been a revealing one, and here are two things that I believe conservatives should note in particular:
- For starters, as bad as this presidency has been, Republicans are likely going to lose a few states that they have historically held. This testifies to the age-old truth that you cannot and should not run on the strategically nonsensical philosophy that “You won’t govern like the other guy…” People want leadership and they need reasons to pull the handle FOR someone, not just go to vote knowing who they DON’T want. Too many Republican leaders have recently run (and led) on the strategy that they’re NOT President Obama, which begs the question: if they really feel they must point that out, perhaps they have more in common than they want to let on??
- Secondly, not all Democrats are as extreme as our current President and recently retired Attorney General, and they’re proving that by shying very far away from them during this election style. You won’t find Democrat candidates for Senate booking the Obamas to come and join them on the campaign trail. They know the Obamas are unpopular, extreme, and a recipe for failure. What conservatives need to be doing is defining their opponents based on their party affiliation and tying them to their leadership in spite of this fact. Conservative candidates should be confident enough in their beliefs to not only define and describe their leadership principles and style, but also to define their opponents’ principles in a way that keeps them on the defensive. The best defense during campaign season is a good offense.
The Wall Street Journal, always proving itself as a valuable news source as well as a resource for ideas and strategies (be they personal, professional, or political), has provided us with a cool new graphic. Taking data from Real Clear Politics (a polling aggregate), we can experiment with the numbers to determine who will gain control of the Senate in early November. If you’re a WSJ subscriber, it’s worth looking at the available scenarios.
A typical political charade.