As widely reported, polls are now showing Republicans trusted across a broad span of issues. Indeed Republicans now lead on many of these broad issues, including healthcare, the economy and education, which is unheard of. Republican primaries are hotly contested and many establishment figures are toppling like ten pins. Utah will not have Senator Bennett to kick around anymore. Further, Lisa Murkowski, appointed to her seat by her father, lost to a decorated veteran of the Gulf War. Some are upset with this.
It is though largely a positive development. While I mourn the loss of Bill McCollum who is a good man and would have made a fine governor, Republicans will likely hold that office. Florida Republicans elected a conservative, young and articulate Cuban-American to be their standard bearer. He won more primary votes than any Republican in Florida history. He is facing a programmatic liberal and shape shifting mountebank. Does any Republican watching Charlie Crist in the last six months think he would be better for Florida and the Republican Party than Marco Rubio? Is he more truthful? Is he principled? Does he make decisions, like, oh say, Senate appointments, with the public weal rather than personal considerations, paramount? Does he look like the future of the Republican Party?
In Alaska, an abortion supporting, liberalish Republican, who owes her position to nepotism, was apparently beaten by Joe Miller. Who is Miller? He is a graduate of both West Point and Yale. He was awarded a bronze star in the first Gulf War. He was a magistrate judge and is a member of the Federalist Society, and obviously has the academic and personal background ideal for a place on the Judiciary Committee. Sarah Palin endorsed him and recorded telephone calls for him. Like it or not this is a key sign of her power against the ossified old Alaska Republican guard who she has shellacked again and again. He, not Murkowski, is the better candidate for Alaska Republicans. Miller was not handed a Senate seat by his daddy. He showed himself to be a much more skilled politician than the younger Murkowski. He shrewdly read the public mood and capitalized on it. Why would Republicans be better served by a weak sister Republican who could not get the votes of a party her daddy owned for thirty years? He will likely win and the Senate will move to the right where it desperately needs to be.
I’m heartened by John McCain’s win for two reasons. First, he is a genuine American hero and J.D. Hayworth is a bit of a blowhard and a fraud on spending. Whatever their positions, John McCain is the better man. Moreover, he had to move right and stop attacking Republicans to win. Another victory for a Palin-backed maverick!
As for the results from some earlier primaries, there is no reason to believe that Mike Lee who beat Senator Bennett will not get elected or that he won’t represent a conservative voice for Utah. In Colorado, Ken Buck is a Princeton graduate and a former Justice Department lawyer. Once again the candidate is not some uneducated wild man, Keith Olbermann and the like would have you believe the Tea Party is made of.
Other complaints have emerged over the election of Sharon Angle and Rand Paul. They are not my favorites, but they bring a small government, populist, brand to the Republican Party in a time when the big government solutions of both the Left and Right have soured. Do we think a Republican Party that freezes all such voices out of its ranks will be stronger nationwide? Rand Paul is leading in Kentucky and Angle now must be judged to have a slight lead over the Majority Leader of the Senate in Nevada. Once again, these are states that are Republican leaning. The rule for such states ought to be “elect the most rightward viable candidate.” There was no better year for Republican voters to take a risk than this one. There is less a chance of losing a seat given the year’s dynamic.
There have been a host of posts here in the last few days that Republican support among the Vietnamese, Cubans, and other minorities is slipping. There is all kind of concern that the Republican Party is not pro-immigration, pro-gay or pro-minority enough to survive in the future electorate. This is precisely wrong. The Republican Party this year is running more black Republicans with a chance to win than it has in memory and the RNC still has a black chairman. As pointed out, in Florida a Hispanic is running for Senate, and in Nevada, sharing the ticket with Sharon Angle and running ahead of her against Harry Reid’s son for governor is another Hispanic. My predictions in the past have not turned out too badly. Though there are glitches.
So here is my end of summer prediction: In the mid-term elections this year the GOP, tea party-fueled and all, will get as high, or a higher percentage of the Hispanic, Asian and black vote than in any mid-year election since 1994. The percentage of that vote overall will be lower than any mid-year election since 2002. Finally, the Senate will lose as many or more Democrats than it did in 1994 (when the Democrats lost 8 seats).