Sunday, October 22, 2006

Why the Republicans Will Lose

In little more than two weeks America have congressional elections. I have somewhat mixed feelings about whom I want to win. On the one hand, the Republicans are bad and deserve to lose. On the other hand, that the Republicans are bad doesn't necessarily imply that the Democrats will be any better. Indeed there are reasons to believe they will be even worse on a number of key issues.

But regardless of whom we want to win, it should be clear that the Democrats will win and the Republicans will lose. Making exact forecasts as to how many seats they will gain in the House of representatives and in the Senate is impossible to do with certainty, but I view it as more likely than not that they will capture both the House and the Senate.

There are several reasons for this.


Iraq is a big mess, something which even an increasing number of former supporters of the war admit, like National Review editor Jonah Goldberg proclaiming that the Iraq war was a mistake.

While the northern Kurdish parts of Iraq is doing fairly well, the Arab parts is mired in what really amounts to civil war. A civil war being fought between on the one hand a Shia fundamentalist dominated government allied with Iran and U.S. troops and on the other hand Sunni insurgents composed of a mix of Baathists and al-Quaeda affiliated Sunni fundamentalists. Add to that various Shia militias whose basic loyalty is with the government but prefer more bloody tactics, including mass slaughterings of Sunni civilians to retaliate against the slaughtering of Shia civilians by Sunni insurgents.

In other words, it is one group of repulsive fundamentalists pitted against another. And an increasing number of Americans ask themselves why Americans should sacrifice themselves to support one of these repulsive fundamentalist groups. Especially since the side they're supporting is allied with the regime which is in other context depicted as America's foremost threat: Iran.

And since the Republicans out of prestige and loyalty towards Bush refuse to consider withdrawal, this will greatly benefit the Democrats.

2. Economic discontent.

While the economy have not yet suffered a recession, most Americans still don't feel like they're benefiting from the economic recovery. Whether this is due to liberal news media giving a misleading negative interpretation of the economy or whether increasing inequality means that the gains are concentrated to the rich, it is nevertheless a fact that most American's disapprove of the President's handling of the economy.

3. Lack of Gay Marriage referendums.

In recent elections, the Republicans have relied on putting the issue of banning gay marriage in state referendums to increase voter turnout in their Christian conservative base. But the problem is that you can only amend the state constitution with a gay marriage ban once. While there will be referendums on gay marriage in a few states this year too, it will only be small and medium-sized states like South Dakota and Colorado.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are using their own "gay marriage" issue, minimum wages, to increase turnout among their core supporters, a moblizing factors they lacked in previous elections and will now be on the ballot in six states, including the key state of Missouri.

4. Mark Foley and pork-barrel spending will lower Republican turn-out

Another factor which will lower Christian conservative turnout is the Mark Foley scandal. A Republican congressman sending dirty e-mails to teenage boys- a behavior most definetly inconsistent with the Christian Right moral views for more than one reason. This will not only likely mean that the Republicans will lose Foley's seat despite the fact that his district is considered a Republican stronghold, but it will also likely lower Christian conservative turnout across the contry.

Moreover, many libertarian-leaning Republicans will likely stay home to protest the Republican betrayal of the principle of limited government.


Anonymous Tom said...

Don't forget reason 0: americans don't like all their institutions to be held by a single party.

12:52 PM  

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