“Elections have consequences”
I don’t quote Barak Obama very often. But hey, even a broken watch is right twice a day. Regarding balloting, the shockwaves of a national election send reverberations for years to come. Presidential elections offer a snap shot, a data point at a specific period of time. One needs to look at what transpires in-between to evaluate the real trends.
It turns out, the seeds of the recent conservative movement and the rise of the Republican Party found sustenance in the fertile soil of hope and change. Eight years of near zero economic growth spawned 32% growth in welfare spending and an up to 70% increase in food stamps. While the economy was sputtering and the country appeared to be slouching left, Republicans began steadily winning elections.
The telltale signs of life began at the state level and laid the foundation for real ‘hope and change’.
Under Obama’s eight-year reign, Democrats experienced a net loss of 968 state legislative seats which produced the single biggest net loss since World War II. Democrats declined in 82 of the 99 state legislative chambers across the country. Republicans now control both chambers in 33 states if we include Nebraska’s single legislative chamber. Democrats control both chambers in just 13 states. At the national level while Republicans failed in two attempts at the Super Bowl of elections failing to capture the presidency, the winds of change swept both Congressional houses to the Republican side.
Something was happening. Donald Trump rode the wave that began at the state and local level and unexpectedly gave Republicans a clean sweep to the Presidency, the house and the senate. One might even contend that if the Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh, Republicans could capture all three branches of government. It took eight years to cultivate but the Republican party is back!
I suppose if one were to watch the network news they would be led to believe that the Titanic is turning and the clock has run out on the conservative wave. Republicans beware: “The blue wave is coming.” The 2018 election is an in-betweener, mid-term election and if history gives us a glimpse will tell us which direction the pendulum is swinging.
Typically, the reigning party loses influence during mid-terms. The party of the incumbent president tends to lose ground during midterm elections. Evaluating the last 21 midterm elections, the President’s party has lost an average of 40 seats in the House and an average of four seats in the Senate. Only twice has the President’s party gained seats in both houses.
Although Democrats smell blood, there are notable exceptions to the rule. The Gipper was the only president to increase his party’s number of state legislative seats over his two terms in office.
The big question is Trump a Bush or is Trump a Reagan?
To win big, Democrats need to create a convincing narrative to win hearts and minds. It’s going to take some convincing. Three months after Obama left office, we finally shattered the eight-year 1% economic ceiling. With unemployment now at record lows, lower taxes and a significant rise in the stock market, the scorecard would seem to indicate that something is working. What rational will need to be concocted to vote against the current positive trajectory? It’s going to require substance, something more than the usual Trump hatred, “Impeach 45” and Russian collusion speculation. Democrats need something to entice voters and for the life of me, I really can’t figure out what could possibly do the trick. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Maxine Waters foaming at the mouth just isn’t going to inspire voters to their side.
The numbers don’t lie. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. In November, we will once again gaze into the state legislative barometer, post-election, scratch our heads and try to read the tea leaves. Was 2016 a blip or a trend continued?
It the often ignored, state legislative elections that will once again tell us where ship is headed and reveal if we have another Reagan in the making. There isn’t a lot of talk about the down ballot legislative races. It’s been proven however that those are the most important in terms in terms of future predictability. With substantive, measurable economic results we will find out from our state legislatures the impact in years to come. Don’t forget the down ballot candidates. It is the races further down the ballot that will reveal if Trump is a Bush or a Reagan.
Randy Fleenor is running for Arizona State Senate in District 9 as a write-in candidate unopposed in the Republican primary. Fill in the oval and write-in Fleenor on the primary ballot to put him on the November ballot. To learn more, go to www.FLEENOR4Senate.com