Mr. Dold is seeking a political resurrection in next November’s election, after just one term on Capitol Hill. After riding the Tea Party wave to Washington in 2010, he was swept out of office by the Obama tsunami in Illinois in 2012.It was very hard continuing to read the article after this line as the author lost all credibility with me - but part of his article is valid. It looks as if some Tea Party republicans are stressing "moderate" positions and affiliations versus simply a "throw the bums out" position. This is mocked as somewhat hypocritical and transparent.We all know that Democrats never moderate their positions to appeal to the middle and to "mask" their true intentions so it's quite legitimate to mock Republicans for doing something along this line.< /sarc >
G.O.P. Firebrands Tone Down Their Message and Run Again
Going back to the 2012 election - let's compare the "Obama tsunami" with the "Tea Party wave" of 2010. The 2012 elections were not a wave election - it was much more a status quo election. This is not to say that I was happy with the results. I wasn't. I was horrified with the results and disappointed that several favorites were defeated (primarily Allen West and Mia Love). Nonetheless, by my reckoning this was a draw with a slight edge, if any, going to Democrats.
There are several groups of races to evaluate. The Presidency, the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, Governorships and control of State Legislatures. There are other state races to look at as well but the above 5 groups are the easiest to research and provide enough data points to declare trends.
Obama was re-elected. The status quo remains.
US Senate: Went from 59-41 in 2008 to 53-47 in 2010 to 55-45.
US House of Representatives: Went from 257-179 in 2008 Democrat to 193-242 Republican in 2010 and 201-234 in 2012.
Governorships: Went from 29-21 Democrat in 2008 to 20-29-1 in 2010 to 21-29 in 2012.
State Legislatures: Went from 27-14 Democrat in 2008 to 15-27 in 2010 and 17-28 in 2012. (The remainder were split control.)
We see that the evil Republicans and the ultra-evil Tea Party made huge gains in 2010 over 2008 and then gave back some of those gains in 2012. All in all the status quo remained - meaning that the Republicans are starting to solidify their 2010 gains.
Two elections are not a trend. We can see by the following chart that things can change quickly. In 2006 people starting souring on the Republicans. Not only for Iraq but for the out-of-control spending in Washington. Democrats credit their gains to the country's rejection of Republican / anti-progressive rule. I agree with the assumption that the country rejected Republican politics but I disagree on the point that the nation is more amenable the progressive ideal.
It ought to be remembered that Blue-Dog Democrats ran to the right of the Republicans in 2006 and 2008 on tax and spend issues as well as social issues and most of the Democratic gains were these so-called Blue-Dog Democrats. Those gains were wiped out in 2010 with the passing of Obamacare, and I don't see these seats reverting to the Democrats anytime soon. The previous statement assumes that Republicans will do as they promise about limiting the scope of government. If they don't then there will be a lot of turn-over. Take a look at the following chart - without the Blue Dogs the Democrats are peaking below 217 in the House of Representatives. It will take a few more election cycles before we can know if this holds up.
The Democrats for generations held a sizable advantage in the House of Representatives, rarely having less than 240 members. Republican control is a recent change. The Democrats crow about their success in the 2012 election, gaining 8 seats. And yet their total of 201 is less than they had after the 1994 elections and their lowest since 1948 (and before that the 1920s). The fact that the Republicans managed to hold on to so much of their gains in the 2012 Presidential elections shows that the Democrats may become the minority party as they are tied more and more to the narrow wing of the progressive base and the Republicans become the "Wide-Tent" with a variety of loosely held together coalitions.