We are instructed by those who are supposed to know that the Republicans are very confident about their chances of winning the 2014 mid-term elections. Indeed, it is said that their chances of not only holding on to their majority in the House of Representatives but of gaining the majority in the Senate. In fact, the R’s are so confident of their upcoming victory that they’ve decided to do absolutely nothing this entire year by way of legislation so as to avoid upsetting their base.
On the face of it, one can see the reasons for their confidence. The Democrats are defending twice as many Senate seats as are the R’s…and a number of the Democratic seats are in such red state bastions as Louisiana and Arkansas. And, traditionally, Democratic voters don’t turn out for mid-term elections. Older, more conservative voters, it is said, are the ones who elect Congressman, Senators and Governors in the off year.
And yet, one wonders if this is truly as traditional a year as we might have been led to believe. For one thing, the R’s have been acting awfully peculiarly for a party actually intent on winning over voters. As noted in this space earlier, R’s in Tennessee pressured workers in a Volkswagen plant to vote down unionization…partly on the promise from Senator Bob Corker that Volkswagen would reward them by building a new SUV in the plant. This week we learned that, not only would Volkswagen not build the SUV in Tennessee…which they had said all along…but that they would re-examine any future expansion in the American South.
As if this wasn’t enough to alienate workers, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina let it be known that employers bringing jobs to her state would not be welcome if they were union jobs. So one would expect that Governor Haley would reject any attempt by, say, Ford to build a new plant in South Carolina as the workers in that plant would be members of the United Auto Workers.
This, at the same time that R’s in Congress have refused to increase the minimum wage or extend unemployment benefits for the long term jobless. Indeed, it would seem that anything that would benefit workers in any way are automatically anathema to the Republican Party.
We won’t even discuss the Hispanic vote…as the R’s have determined not to advance immigration legislation this year, at all. Nor women…given the misogynist legislation passed or pending in a dozen and more Republican controlled states. Neither of these groups is exactly jumping up and down to vote Republican.
And while we’re adding red state Democratic Senate seats to Republican pockets…maybe we ought to check Republican seats that might be teetering a little bit. The prospective Democratic Senate candidate in Kentucky seems to be giving Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a run for his money. And Democrats in Georgia seem intent on putting up a sane candidate to oppose whichever right wing whackadoodle the R’s choose to run for Saxby Chambliss’ seat. So maybe the math isn’t quite what the pundits would lead us to believe it is.
Perhaps, after all, the R’s are counting on the Koch Brothers and their money again this year. But it didn’t buy them the Presidency in 2012. Why should it buy them the Senate in 2014?