Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Counting down to US elections: 0 days (update 5)

Change is coming, no matter who the winner is.

Disregarding what the outcomes of this US midterm election will be, pundits and political analysts are mulling over the matter of eminent ideological change in both the Republican and Democratic parties. They are also sifting through the possibilities for various individual races, Congress as a whole, and the general political climate in America.

No matter what, there will be change in the the GOP:

One verdict from the 2006 election was obvious before a single vote had been counted: the Republican Party no longer has a coherent governing philosophy. Republicans who care about advancing a consistent set of ideals are already at each other's throats, and are likely to stay there.

True, most Republicans still describe themselves as "conservative.'' But it is no longer clear what that word means -- and those who consider themselves the guardians of orthodoxy on the right are in a blessed rage over who can claim title to the label.

This could be a good thing if the Democrats do well:
A Democratic majority in either chamber could set the stage for two years of intense political conflict. Democrats would be likely to use the subpoena power that comes with majority control to aggressively examine Bush policies in Iraq and at home that they argue Republican lawmakers have failed to monitor.

Big Democratic gains would also disrupt the ambitions of Bush and Karl Rove, his chief political advisor, to build a lasting Republican electoral majority centered on an alliance of economic and social conservatives.

But if the Dems totally loose...
First, if Democrats don't at least retake the House, many pundits will say that the whole party might as well close up shop. With such an incredibly favorable political environment, they will say, Democrats will never be in a stronger position to regain control. Therefore, failure to do so must mean that the Republican advantage is so strong in terms of money, organization and gerrymandering that Democrats could be locked out of control for perhaps decades to come.

Even if they do well, there could be a bad backlash for moderates/moderate-liberals/liberals since there would be mostly moderate Democrats and further right Republicans.
The House results are likely to wipe out many moderate Republicans, who are taking the brunt of the wave because they represent Democratic-leaning or competitive districts.

Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post writes about the "spin" of these elections:
Sensing victory in the House, and keeping their fingers crossed on the Senate, the Democratic Party's competing factions -- DLC centrists on one side, progressives on the other -- are eagerly trying to frame the hoped for good news as proof that their side is right.

And there is an article in The New York Times that says that the Dems will be wallowing in discontent even if they do pull off a good win. About the high Democrat expectations:
Some Democrats worry that those forecasts, accurate or not, may be setting the stage for a demoralizing election night, and one with lasting ramifications, sapping the party’s spirit and energy heading into the 2008 presidential election cycle.
... And the gridlock issue:
If they win the House by a large margin but do not get the Senate, they will also no doubt claim something of a mandate, though that would seem to be a recipe for gridlock.

Lastly, the White House's favourite outcome:
The White House is vigorously predicting Republicans will hold both chambers.
I guess Bush and Co. are sill in dream land...

While writing this post, I found a good article on the different election outcome scenarios and their possible repercussions.

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In Perspective

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