Sunday, September 11, 2005

2006 Predictions?

Is this going to be a typical mid-term election, occupying only one column on the front page of the New York Times, and even less in local newspapers? Or is 2006 going to bring such a change that it will merit a headline on all national and local publications?

Although it's foolish to predict that the latter will probably happen, it's becoming more and more possible by the day. The president's approval rating is at about 38% now, and it can only get lower if his party starts to desert him as well, which is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, the point is made: independents do not trust the president and, throughout history, nothing has better represented this sentiment than a major congressional upset, such as the 94 midterm elections, which allowed independents to show their disillusionment with the Clinton administration.

However, the 94 elections, although extraordinarily suprising, can be explained better than a possible 2006 upset. Many of the Republican victories, especially in the House, were representative of the general trend towards the GOP in the South, which was then fully coming out of its Democratic stranglehold. In fact, 1994 was the first year that the southern congressional caucus was Republican, despite the support that Republican presidential candidates got in the region. That type of drastic change in party demographics can't be anticipated in the near future. If the Democrats want to win, they're going to do it by appealing to moderate voters, they can't count on the "party treachery" that the Republicans have benefitted from in many conservative areas of the country.


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