It couldn’t happen again, right? Republicans have gotten slaughtered in two straight elections. 2006 saw a fifteen-seat majority in the House evaporate, leaving nothing behind but a minority of the same size. In the same year, a five-seat majority in the Senate turned into a 51-49 minority. Just two years later, Democrats delivered another crushing blow, taking an additional 21 seats in the House, and eight more in the Senate. In just two years, the GOP population on Capitol Hill decreased by 52 Representatives, and 14 Senators. In both houses, Republicans are dangerously close to being rendered politically irrelevant by supermajorities that could override any attempts to block Democratic legislation.
2010, by all accounts, should be a Republican year. It’s rare to see a single party be decimated three times in a row, and the first midterm election into a new presidential term tends not to be kind to the president’s party.
But looking at the list of match-ups slated for 2010, it doesn’t necessarily look like Republicans are anywhere near a comeback. Five Republican-held seats in the Senate will be in play no matter what, and depending on how events play out, that number could balloon to as high as ten. It’s still too early to see how things will turn out in the House, but if predictions from major analysts turn out to be accurate, Republicans could have a tough time there, too.
Republicans are divided into two camps: half simply can not fathom a third walloping in a row, and insist on staying the course, riding out what they believe is a cyclical spike for Democrats. The other half isn’t as confident, and believe the GOP needs to make immediate strategy changes or face serious consequences.
But this all begs the question, what will Republicans do if they suffer another watershed year, and lose more than 4 seats in the Senate or 10 in the House?
Another loss would push national Republicans to the brink of collapse. Not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt have Democrats held such commanding majorities in both houses of Congress in addition to the White House. Plus, in a term that will likely see the retirement of at least two (and maybe more) Supreme Court justices, President Obama won’t have to negotiate with GOP legislators over his appointments to replace them- in other words, there won’t be any compromise pick.
It’s not that Republicans will disappear from politics as we know it, but certainly, it would take the GOP a decade or more to claw their way back to the top of the electoral heap. When the GOP lost the House in the 1954 elections, it took forty years to return to the majority. They lost the Senate that same year, and it took more than a quarter century to even be competitive again.
But at this point, Republicans aren’t cohesively mounting any kind of new strategy. Instead, they’re the opposition party, attacking a stimulus plan that has overwhelming support among voters. The only difference between now and last year is that today, Republicans don’t have enough votes in Congress to block or even really stymie legislation in either House. That could get worse over the next two years.
What’s interesting is that the favorite to win the upcoming election for national GOP Chairman is Mike Duncan- the same captain who has gone down with the GOP ship in each of the last two titanic disasters. Republicans show no sign of changing their course. And the bad news for them is that, accordingly, voters aren’t going to change theirs.Original here