(Denver) Whenever the Democrats win an election (e.g. 2008, 2012) they promptly issue an obituary for the Republican Party helpfully amplified by the Mainstream Media.
(’76 Contributor) George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove looked like the proverbial cat that ate the canary. Republicans had won control of the U.S. Senate and the newcomers were all his kind of politicians. Commenting for Fox TV election night he recounted successes in Colorado, North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee primaries using his super-PAC American Crossroads’ millions to defeat Tea Party candidates who challenged his Republican establishment favorites.
(Denver) It is often the case with elections that those races that are most visible are actually less enduring in their significance and provide less insight into the deeper forces shaping our politics than do those less noticed but far more numerous contests further down the ballot.
(Centennial Fellow) When I lived in China, we never had voting rights and all government officials were appointed, not voted for. Therefore, as ordinary citizens, we could never hold our leaders accountable because they never worried about being responsible to the people. All their concerns were how to please someone higher up. An official only lost his job if he displeased his boss. We the people in China are not considered as being governed, but rather being ruled. Government officials are in fact rulers. They act like rulers and they have the privilege of rulers.
We’ve had plenty of rhetorical villains since the fatal police shooting of a black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, little more than grandstanders stirring up fear in vengeful tones. And we’ve had violence and looting, mostly by nonresidents taking advantage of a tragedy to enrich themselves. But we’ve had heroes, too, and, at the young man’s funeral, we had calls for engaged citizenship and a stop to community disruption. Healing may be on the way.
When, in the eyes of Democrats, President George W. Bush “stole” not one, but two presidential elections, the party did not stand idly by. Democrats came back unified, strong and –most importantly — with better research, messaging, and targeting.
With Halloween creeping up on us, it’s time to turn our attention to spooky stuff. Though it looks like Republicans are in good shape to take the Senate, in the horrific possibility that Democrats prevail, here are the three scariest scenarios:
(Washington, D.C) For a devotee of history there are few more relaxing experiences than a mid-afternoon reverie in the Round Robin Bar at the Willard hotel. While awaiting a colleague who has promised much good gossip about bad politics in the Imperial City, my imagination goes to an upstairs room where Pinkerton detectives fearful of cascading assassination threats secretly conveyed president Elect Abraham Lincoln to wait out the final week before his inauguration in 1861. Or to the nearby hotel lobby where in more placid times President Ulysses Grant liked to stop and smoke a cigar and sip a glass of whiskey while patiently fending off job-seekers and other supplicants (The hotel dubiously claims this to be the origin of the term “Lobbyist”).
An important election looms this November. (Will there ever be an election deemed “unimportant?”) As the election approaches and we prepare for the machinations that accompany an American election year, it’s worth our while to reflect on what is at stake.