For Democrats, 2014 a mirror of Republicans’ 2012 nightmare

posted at 12:41 pm on August 28, 2014 by Noah Rothman

A field of candidates whose electoral prospects have been hampered by unforced errors and gaffes. A national political environment which slightly favors their rivals. Openly hoping for their opponents to make a mistake that might rescue them from looming disaster. Sound familiar? In 2012, the GOP wrestled with these conditions. Today, it is the Democrats’ turn to struggle with a virtually identical set of impediments.

In many ways, the 2014 cycle is a mirror image of the 2012 cycle.

In 2012, the national political environment was initially thought to slightly favor Republicans due to the moribund economic recovery which had left voters anxious and discontented. As the economic picture improved over the course of 2012, however, so did Democrats’ electoral prospects. By the late summer of that year, combined with the inherent advantages associated with incumbency, analysts began to lean toward the idea that the national political mood slightly favored Democrats.

Similarly, 2014 was thought to be a year in which Republicans would be heavily favored; not merely because a gerrymandered map ensured that the House of Representatives was not in play and an overextended class of red state Senators who were vulnerable to a GOP challenge, but because the dynamics of the “in” party’s sixth year midterm usually benefits the opposition. Another GOP midterm wave, many reasoned, could be in the offing. But as summer faded into autumn, that wave hadn’t yet materialized which led some to suspect that it never would. Republicans do still enjoy a favorable national environment, but one not nearly as favorable as many had predicted it might in the early part of the year.

Republicans also suffered a series of self-inflicted wounds in the 2012 cycle. Candidates gaffed their way into losing winnable races in a number of political battlefields, most famously in the Missouri and Indiana Senate races where GOP candidate’s inartful comments about rape ensured that Democrats would emerge victorious on Election Day.

In 2014, it is the Democratic Party’s turn to field a slate of weak, untested, and gaffe-prone candidates.

In Montana, where Democrats originally sought to rescue their electoral prospects by replacing a weak incumbent with a fresh face, the party’s hopes utterly imploded when that fresh face proved to be a serial plagiarizer. His ultimate replacement, chosen by the party at convention, is a self-described anarcho-socialist.

In the effort to retain Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat, Hawkeye State Democrats, too, have nominated a candidate prone to misstatements. From mocking agricultural professionals while fundraising in Texas, to claiming he is a farmer himself (he isn’t), to posting pictures of English orchards on his Facebook page as part of an appeal to Iowan natives, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley has thoroughly alienated the state’s agricultural community.

In Kentucky, the Republican Party’s most vulnerable Senate incumbent, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, looked like he faced a stiff challenge from Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. That challenge became significantly less threatening when her campaign was exposed for, as the AP reported, using “a Ukrainian male model posing as an ashen-faced coal miner in an early newspaper ad.” She further lost credibility among Bluegrass State voters this summer when she insisted that Israel’s surface-to-air missile defense system was one of the primary reasons why Hamas militants’ underground tunnel systems had not threatened the Jewish State during the war in Gaza.

Democrats have been hoping for a new Todd Akin to emerge from the GOP field to provide their party with another opportunity to leverage a debilitating gaffe, but that opportunity has just not materialized. In fact, the Republican establishment has done a stellar job tamping down bids from exotic candidates and ensuring that consistent, measured, unexciting GOP prospects win their party’s nominations.

“There is no denying that I would feel a bit more confident of our chances of keeping the Senate if we had more candidates running on the fringe of the party like we saw in years past with Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock,” Democratic Strategist Jim Manley told The Washington Times.

This, too, is a familiar condition.

Republicans spent much of the 2012 campaign cycle hoping for, even elevating, Barack Obama’s mistakes as campaign-dooming missteps. From pouncing on Obama’s gaffes ranging from “the public sector is doing fine,” to “you didn’t build that,” to predicting a backlash against the president for implementing aspects of the DREAM Act via executive order, to his response to the Benghazi terror attack; the GOP was forever in search of a game-changing event which would shift the political momentum back in their favor. The Romney campaign was never rescued by any of his opponent’s mistakes.

Today, the Democrats are fruitlessly wishing for Republicans to misstep. From inventing a fictitious plan hatched by a supposed cabal of Republicans aimed at impeaching the president to… well… inventing a fictitious plan hatched by a cabal of Republicans aimed at shutting down the government, Democrats are desperate for Republicans to rescue them from their fates.

Those who do not learn from history’s mistakes are, the dictum goes, doomed to repeat them. For all the handwringing from the commentary class, the GOP did learn from their 2012 blunders. Democrats, however, did not. Today, the president’s party’s strategy consists primarily of hoping for external events to save them. It may prove to be an agonizingly long wait.


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2014 will be the last hurrah of the GOP.

After McConnell and Boner disgrace themselves by spending us into oblivion and “reaching across the aisle” to hand Obama victory after victory in the name of “bipartisanship” there won’t be a conservative left who will be able to hold their nose and vote for the RINO that will no doubt be nominated in 2016.

I don’t think the GOP will exist anymore outside the blue states by 2018, it will be replaced by a new Conservative Party out of necessity.

ConstantineXI on August 28, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Are we less surrounded by low info types today?

Bmore on August 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Side of your eye … Side of your eye.

Jaibones on August 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

OT: Has anyone received an unsolicited email from Hot Air Spotlight? Whatever that is….

d1carter on August 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

This election should be a wipe out for the dims. It’s not because the Republican party has too many bad candidates of their own.

cat_owner on August 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Monica Lewinsky’s ex-boyfriend’s wife asks:

What difference, at this point, does it make?

Galtian on August 28, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Are we less surrounded by low info types today?

Bmore on August 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Bingo. We can survive Barack HUSSEIN Obama. We can’t survive the people who elect him.

Voter registration should be for only 2 years, and a mandatory competency test should have to be taken to re-enroll:

1. Who is the President?
2. Who is the Speaker of the House?
3. Who is the Senate Majority Leader?
4. Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
5. Who are your Senators?
6. Who is your Representative?

Failure to know who those 7 people are should disqualify you from being able to vote in elections.

I suspect the number of registered Democrats would drop by AT LEAST HALF if all prospective voters had to score a 100 on the above questions in order to register.

ConstantineXI on August 28, 2014 at 12:53 PM

As the economic picture improved over the course of 2012, however, so did Democrats’ electoral prospects.

What economy was that?

From pouncing on Obama’s gaffes ranging from “the public sector is doing fine,”

IIRC, he said “the private sector is doing fine”.

Bitter Clinger on August 28, 2014 at 12:55 PM

OT: Has anyone received an unsolicited email from Hot Air Spotlight? Whatever that is….

d1carter on August 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

I did.

Bitter Clinger on August 28, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Wasn’t Obama’s quote “the private sector is doing fine”, not the public sector?

KateNE on August 28, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Think 2006, Noah.

Buck Farky on August 28, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Bingo. We can survive Barack HUSSEIN Obama. We can’t survive the people who elect him.

Voter registration should be for only 2 years, and a mandatory competency test should have to be taken to re-enroll:

1. Who is the President?
2. Who is the Speaker of the House?
3. Who is the Senate Majority Leader?
4. Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
5. Who are your Senators?
6. Who is your Representative?

Failure to know who those 7 people are should disqualify you from being able to vote in elections.

I suspect the number of registered Democrats would drop by AT LEAST HALF if all prospective voters had to score a 100 on the above questions in order to register.

ConstantineXI on August 28, 2014 at 12:53 PM

I agree with you.

However, one of the trolls will be along shortly to scream “RACISM!!!! POLL TESTS!!!! ELEVENTY!!!!!”

Bitter Clinger on August 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Failure to know who those 7 people are should disqualify you from being able to vote in elections.

I suspect the number of registered Democrats would drop by AT LEAST HALF if all prospective voters had to score a 100 on the above questions in order to register.

ConstantineXI on August 28, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Oh, I think more than half of Dem voters would fail. Its very hard for the dead to keep up on current events, so topical subjects like yours would be a sticking point for them.

Dolce Far Niente on August 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Wasn’t Obama’s quote “the private sector is doing fine”, not the public sector?

KateNE on August 28, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Yep.

I suspect a Freudian slip on the part of RINO Noah Rothman.

Bitter Clinger on August 28, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Are we less surrounded by low info types today?

Bmore on August 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

No, but knives/ropes to the neck have a chilling effect.

Ignorant dilettantes as presidents do too.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2014 at 1:05 PM

All people feel two items, directly:

Economy, their own pockets

Security, their own necks

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Voter registration should be for only 2 years, and a mandatory competency test should have to be taken to re-enroll:

1. Who is the President?
2. Who is the Speaker of the House?
3. Who is the Senate Majority Leader?
4. Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
5. Who are your Senators?
6. Who is your Representative?

Failure to know who those 7 people are should disqualify you from being able to vote in elections.

I suspect the number of registered Democrats would drop by AT LEAST HALF if all prospective voters had to score a 100 on the above questions in order to register.

ConstantineXI on August 28, 2014 at 12:53 PM

I have a slightly different standard, You should own property, pay taxes or have served in the military to be qualified to vote.

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Are we less surrounded by low info types today?

Bmore on August 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

No, but they don’t vote in midterm elections. They are so low-info that they think they only have to vote every 4 years for the President. They probably have no idea how all these Congressmen and Senators got to Washington.

rockmom on August 28, 2014 at 1:08 PM

As the economic picture improved over the course of 2012, however, so did Democrats’ electoral prospects.

Bullshit. Correctly stated, it would read more like “As the government and a willing press openly lied to make it look like the economic picture improved over the course of 2012…”

Midas on August 28, 2014 at 1:08 PM

However, one of the trolls will be along shortly to scream “RACISM!!!! POLL TESTS!!!! ELEVENTY!!!!!”

Bitter Clinger on August 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM

They’re in the re-ed camp today. Must be hell to be them.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Speaking of the field …..This just made me sick , really sick .
Confirmed today after speculation yesterday ?
http://www.conservativehq.com/node/18132

Lucano on August 28, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Sound familiar? In 2012, the GOP wrestled with these conditions. Today, it is the Democrats’ turn to struggle with a virtually identical set of impediments.

Payback is such a biatch.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2014 at 1:11 PM

2014 will be the last hurrah of the GOP.

After McConnell and Boner disgrace themselves by spending us into oblivion and “reaching across the aisle” to hand Obama victory after victory in the name of “bipartisanship” there won’t be a conservative left who will be able to hold their nose and vote for the RINO that will no doubt be nominated in 2016.

I don’t think the GOP will exist anymore outside the blue states by 2018, it will be replaced by a new Conservative Party out of necessity.

ConstantineXI on August 28, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Not to mention millions of new shiny Democrat voters minted in the next couple of years via amnesty and subsequent efforts to make sure they are able to vote, one way or another.

Pity the GOP seems hell-bent on suicide, eh?

Midas on August 28, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Dem Rep. Raul Grijalva Hints At Violence From Latinos If Obama Doesn’t Issue Amnesty Executive Order…

Resist We Much on August 28, 2014 at 1:12 PM

So be it.

Midas on August 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Open borders, North and South (500 Canadians joined IS, and they have passports and can slip through the N. border), and IS, are obama’s and the D-rats anchors. You own them, traitors to the land.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2014 at 1:14 PM

I have a slightly different standard, You should own property, pay taxes or have served in the military to be qualified to vote.

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 1:08 PM

I agree with that too.

I also think the voting age should be raised to 30.

ConstantineXI on August 28, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Speaking of the field …..This just made me sick , really sick .
Confirmed today after speculation yesterday ?
http://www.conservativehq.com/node/18132

Lucano on August 28, 2014 at 1:09 PM

I knew he had hired Schmidt, didn’t know he’d added Barbour.

Oh well. I wasn’t all that sure about Perry anyway as a POTUS candidate.

Bitter Clinger on August 28, 2014 at 1:15 PM

In fact, the Republican establishment has done a stellar job tamping down bids from exotic candidates and ensuring that consistent, measured, unexciting GOP prospects win their party’s nominations.

Noah Rothman

Heh. Well, if that’s the way you want to phrase it, Noah, but….

…a more accurate statement would be that Establishment Republicans, seeking to preserve their power in the Republican Party, viciously attacked more Conservative candidates at every turn, just as Mitch McConnell said they would do.

How much have those attacks undermined and diminished enthusiasm amongst more Conservative Republican party voters? What kind of impact will that lack of enthusiasm have in November? Only time will tell.

lineholder on August 28, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Bitter Clinger on August 28, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Right you are but it still made me sick .

Lucano on August 28, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Today, the president’s party’s strategy consists primarily of hoping for external events to save them.

Events MADE King Barack. Events will un-make him.

GarandFan on August 28, 2014 at 1:25 PM

a self-described anarcho-socialist

That reminds me of this…

Dennis: We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune.

ITguy on August 28, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Don’t forget the war on chicken.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2014 at 1:29 PM

I also think the voting age should be raised to 30.

ConstantineXI on August 28, 2014 at 1:14 PM

No kidding. Spare us the just graduated high school know-it-alls like my nephew who posted on FB election night 2012 – “America just voted for economic and social equality. Good Job.”

So many things wrong with that statement.

KateNE on August 28, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Don’t forget Udall’s war on women.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2014 at 1:30 PM

In fact, the Republican establishment has done a stellar job tamping down bids from exotic candidates and ensuring that consistent, measured, unexciting GOP prospects win their party’s nominations.

Cochran, a seat cover in the senate

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2014 at 1:30 PM

The vote fraud machine was the winner in 2012.

Be interesting to see what happens when Barry has ceased to care.

formwiz on August 28, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Today, the president’s party’s strategy consists primarily of hoping for external events to save them. It may prove to be an agonizingly long wait.

There are game-changers, but they are against them.

Economy, including obama’care’, in the pockets of all

Security, IS’ ropes and knives are felt by all

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Open borders, North and South (500 Canadians joined IS, and they have passports and can slip through the N. border), and IS, are obama’s and the D-rats anchors. You own them, traitors to the land.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Schad,
Back in the early ’90′s (?), do you remember news stories of ME pregnant women coming to the States (Chicago/Detroit/Dearborn, I think), giving birth which allowed their child/ren citizenship and returning to the ME with child/ren?
So, that gives the child time to grow up being radicalized in the ME and allows him/her to re-enter the States when the call arises to strike. It also means this goes even further back in administrations, and the other side has been planning for decades.

31giddyup on August 28, 2014 at 1:37 PM


How much have those attacks undermined and diminished enthusiasm amongst more Conservative Republican party voters? What kind of impact will that lack of enthusiasm have in November? Only time will tell.

I hear that, yo. I half suspect this is why pollsters cannot detect a “wave.” I have no desire to ratify the GOP establishment’s policy of suppressing conservatives by voting GOP. I may yet vote GOP, but with regret.

casuist on August 28, 2014 at 1:39 PM


After McConnell and Boner disgrace themselves by spending us into oblivion and “reaching across the aisle” to hand Obama victory after victory in the name of “bipartisanship” there won’t be a conservative left who will be able to hold their nose and vote for the RINO that will no doubt be nominated in 2016.

The betrayals will reach beyond this. I expect establishment GOPers to collude with Democrats to endorse amnesty across the board, establish a U.S. VAT tax in exchange for token tax cuts elsewhere, and compromise on so-called “climate change” policies.

casuist on August 28, 2014 at 1:42 PM

It’s unlikely that there will be any significant changes to voting requirements that reduce the number of low-information voters. And our country’s educational system isn’t going to suddenly start turning people into well-informed voters.

Therefore, we need to find a way to appeal to low-information voters or we will be facing a permanent Democratic majority.

J.S.K. on August 28, 2014 at 1:43 PM

I agree with that too.

I also think the voting age should be raised to 30.

ConstantineXI on August 28, 2014 at 1:14 PM

I would be happy with it going back to 21 again. A fair % will have gotten their heads out of their asses by then.

wifarmboy on August 28, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Republicans could improve their chances of taking back the Senate by holding primaries earlier in the year, such as before mid-June. There are two reasons for this:

1. Voters aren’t paying attention during the summer, when school is out and many are on vacation. This could result in nominees elected by low turnouts not representative of statewide Republicans.

2. If the nominee is known by mid-June, he/she has at least 4-1/2 months to connect with voters and focus attacks on the Democrat nominee, and reduce the time of fratricidal debates among Republicans.

Two cases in point: Alaska, which held its primary on August 26, and New Hampshire (which holds its Presidential primary in January), which holds its Senate primary on September 9. Alaska should be a gimme state for Republicans, but is two months enough time for Dan Sullivan to connect with voters in a huge, rural state where travel is difficult in autumn? New Hampshire is a purple state where the moderate Scott Brown will probably do better than more conservative candidates, but would Brown have enough time to unite his base AND win enough Independents to beat former Governor Jeanne Shaheen?

Another advantage to an early primary: if no candidate gets above, for example, 40% of the primary vote, it allows time to hold a runoff between the top two candidates about two to three weeks after the first primary, while allowing the eventual nominee enough time to campaign against the Democrat. This process in Texas led to the eventual election of Senator Ted Cruz.

Steve Z on August 28, 2014 at 1:58 PM

No kidding. Spare us the just graduated high school know-it-alls like my nephew who posted on FB election night 2012 – “America just voted for economic and social equality. Good Job.”

So many things wrong with that statement.

KateNE on August 28, 2014 at 1:29 PM

How’s the nitwit feel now?

Midas on August 28, 2014 at 2:01 PM

ConstantineXI on August 28, 2014 at 12:53 PM

I disagree. The founders only allowed male property owners to vote because their taxes supported the government. With the income tax even people with no property support our thoroughly corrupt government.

Only people who actually pay income taxes should be allowed to vote. People who file, but still don’t pay should not be allowed to vote. Anyone on government support should not be allowed to vote.

earlgrey on August 28, 2014 at 2:01 PM

It’s unlikely that there will be any significant changes to voting requirements that reduce the number of low-information voters. And our country’s educational system isn’t going to suddenly start turning people into well-informed voters.

Therefore, we need to find a way to appeal to low-information voters or we will be facing a permanent Democratic majority.

J.S.K. on August 28, 2014 at 1:43 PM

I agree, though am not holding out much hope of reaching lofo voters, frankly. ‘Hope springs eternal’, but the gap it’ll have to cover in that ‘spring’ gets wider every day. Eventually – if we’re not already past it already – the ‘laws of physics’ will simply mean that it’s too late.

Midas on August 28, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Missing comedian

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2014 at 2:34 PM

more candidates running on the fringe of the party like we saw in years past with Todd Akin</blockquote>

Um, Akin was the establishment candidate.

Physics Geek on August 28, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Speaking of the field …..This just made me sick , really sick .
Confirmed today after speculation yesterday ?
http://www.conservativehq.com/node/18132

Lucano on August 28, 2014 at 1:09 PM

sad and pathetic

smitty41 on August 28, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Are we less surrounded by low info types today?

Bmore on August 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

The Dem base is to lazy to vote in midterms.

sauldalinsky on August 28, 2014 at 3:03 PM

From pouncing on Obama’s gaffes ranging from “the public sector is doing fine,”

corona79 on August 28, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Speaking of the field …..This just made me sick , really sick .
Confirmed today after speculation yesterday ?
http://www.conservativehq.com/node/18132

Lucano on August 28, 2014 at 1:09 PM

How does Steve “reverse Midas touch” Schmidt keep getting hired. Has he ever won anything…..ever….like a round of Rock Paper Scissors? Anything?

The guy makes me ill.

I was never a big fan of Perry but now i think he is downright repulsive. To hire that crew means you are either stupid or a fraud…..oh, and you will lose anyway.

alecj on August 28, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Looking at each race, the over under right now is 9 pickups to me. Could be 11-12 or could be 3-4. But it looks very reasonable to expect 9. Colorado being my 10th, which I predict the Dems win, so that is the cut off.

Whether that’s a good thing or not, I am not as confident in.

KMav on August 28, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Obama///blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah …intermingled with lies…Each day his foreign policy takes the eye off of the VA, IRS, and Benghazi scandals. He must be just drooling because all is well in his amerika. He has brought us to our knees and divided the country so wonderfully. For those of you lefties that post here, you must be proud. Do the rest of the country a favor, stay out of the flippin voting booth. You are not adult enough to make an informed decision. That is all….

crosshugger on August 28, 2014 at 5:22 PM