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> The 2006 Midterm Elections, Will We Take a Bite Out of the Majority?
BoF
post May 22 2005, 11:15 PM
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The midterm elections of 2006 are still 18 months away. Yet I have am cautiously optimism.

Real Clear Politics shows us a trend. Since the end of March, Congressional approval ratings have been in the 30s and have slipped to the low to mid-30s this month.

The President’s numbers are better, but only Gallup has him as high as 50% this month.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/polls.html

While the disaffection cuts across party lines, Norm Orstein of American Enterprise observes:

QUOTE
‘When people are down on Congress, they don't make distinctions between party," Ornstein said. "But ultimately, if you've got a low rating and you're in the majority, you better be nervous.’


http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/20...ress-poll_x.htm

I see several factors that are potentially damaging to Republicans. They include seniors citizen's concern for Social Security, people without health care (an issue that concerns even Newt Gingrich), Tom DeLay’s ethical problems, and conservative Republicans bucking the tide of popular stem-cell legislation.

I also have a gut level feeling that people sense things are out of balance. Historically, when things moved too far to an extreme some force seems to jerk it back to what historian Arthur M. Schlesinger called the “vital center.” Thiks is just a hunch and as we say in Texas, I wouldn't bet the ranch on it. Well, that's understandable. I don't have a ranch. sad.gif

Questions for Debate:

1. Do you think Democrats will pickup Congressional seats in 2006?

2. What issues will drive the 2006 midterm elections?

3. What can we as Democrats do to help elect more Democratic representatives?


This post has been edited by BoF: May 23 2005, 03:17 AM
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Eeyore
post May 23 2005, 07:35 PM
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1. Do you think Democrats will pickup Congressional seats in 2006?

I would think they would but I hope the dems will expect to lose.


2. What issues will drive the 2006 midterm elections?

Well, if we keep on the same course as we have been, it will be the issues chosen by the Republican party.


3. What can we as Democrats do to help elect more Democratic representatives?

Criticize the crap out of our leaders and push them to define where they will go when they get power. It is ridiculous that the Democrats have not been able to take an aggressive defined position, at least that specific leaders have not. They not to stop trying to loll around the middle ground and start specifically arguing for things that need to be done to improve the government, our society, and the economy.

We need leaders that hang their hats on ideas and fight for them regardless of party line.
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Salerio
post May 25 2005, 01:36 AM
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QUOTE(Eeyore @ May 23 2005, 02:35 PM)
It is ridiculous that the Democrats have not been able to take an aggressive defined position, at least that specific leaders have not.
*



I've been thinking about this issue, and I agree with you. The only hitch is that the political strategy of doing nothing and making the party in power seem ineffectual in the process seems to work.

I think it might just work to maintain their present course. Especially since the only people who will realize that are generally going to be partisans anyway. Then, once the midterms are over, they can ramp up for the presidential elections in '08. These guys have been doing politics for a long time and they realize that the public's memories tend to be short.

Anyway, I hope there's some greater plan like that. Or I hope they get one. And either way I hope it works. smile.gif
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nighttimer
post May 25 2005, 03:25 PM
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QUOTE(BoF @ May 22 2005, 07:15 PM)
Questions for Debate:

1. Do you think Democrats will pickup Congressional seats in 2006?

2. What issues will drive the 2006 midterm elections?

3. What can we as Democrats do to help elect more Democratic representatives?




1. IF the discontent with how the GOP is running things continues it would appear to favor Democrats over Republicans. The majority party does tend to lose seats in non-presidential election years, but Bush has proven to be a very dogged campaigner for Republican candidates and don't underestimate his abily to raise funds for them as well. The Democrats don't have a similar superstar. It seem very unlikely the Dems could pick up enough seats to topple the GOP hegemony of the House and Senate, but they could chip away at it significantly.

2. Oh, who knows? The ongoing slog in Iraq. The tepid economy. War and pocketbook issues are typically the biggest issues that drive voter interest. The environment, judicial nominees, stem cell resarch and splashy news-driven stories like the Terri Schiavo case can have an impact, but they aren't key factors driving voters to the polls.

3. Participate in the process. Contribute money to candidates. Volunteer. Attend events and see if the candidates are speaking to the issues most important to you personally. But realistically, if the candidates are not strong, well-organized and have the mother's milk of politics (money.gif down.gif money.gif ) then the chances of beating an incumbent Republican are slim and none.
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A left Handed pe...
post May 28 2005, 12:52 PM
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1. Do you think Democrats will pickup Congressional seats in 2006?

If the Republicans dont clear up their image by 2006, then yes. However, they have plenty of time to do that. In the 2004 election, the Republicans bounced back from very low approval ratings, by demonizing John Kerry, and energizing their base to an extreme. But this time they wont be able to do that, because without a presidential election they wont be able to embody the democratic party into one person, and if they cant do that, then they wont get as firm a control over the nuetrels, and their base will be less energized.

2. What issues will drive the 2006 midterm elections?

What ever is happening in the months immediatly preceding the 2006 elections, will likely determine the election results. Obviously we cant know what those things will be this far in advance.

3. What can we as Democrats do to help elect more Democratic representatives?

Join Campains and make donations.
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AuthorMusician
post May 28 2005, 05:16 PM
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1. Do you think Democrats will pickup Congressional seats in 2006?

I am also not sure enough about this to put money down, but I'm looking for the Senate majority to swing Demo, with the House keeping a narrower Repub majority.

2. What issues will drive the 2006 midterm elections?

Domestically, it will be social programs like SS and health care, along with the recent opening wide of public lands to gas/oil exploitation. Er, um, that's "exploration" in the official doublespeak dictionary. The West isn't happy with what's been happening to private land, where a rancher lets the rigs in and ends up with spoiled property. I don't think anyone will like it when their public land neighborhood gets invaded (liberated) for exploritation.

A fairly strong possibility is that the job outlook turns grim again. That one is very hard to predict, but I don't see any big surge in hiring coming down the road. I do see some waves of layoffs coming in the high tech sector this summer and fall.

On foreign affairs, a heating up situation with Iran could be a major thing, along with the elongation of Iraq/Afganistan expectations.

The Demos are doing the right thing in this state and at the national level, and I do think independents are seeing this. Where the Repubs want to control the whole show (as they once did in Colorado), the Demos are showing a more mature approach through compromise.

3. What can we as Democrats do to help elect more Democratic representatives?

The usual things, donate and give support. Demos showed in the last election that they can meet and exceed the money raising abilities of the Republicans.

Republicans can help elect more Demos too, just by keeping up the control freak act and ignoring its affect on swing voters.
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BoF
post May 28 2005, 08:57 PM
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3. What can we as Democrats do to help elect more Democratic representatives?

In addition to specific issues, I think it is absolutely necessary to take things one step at a time. While the glamor of the 2008 presidential election is enticing, there's plenty of time to worry about that after the 2006 midterms.

Tom DeLay is the "ugly duckling" biggrin.gif of the Republican party. Howards Dean was quite correct in hammering on the hammer last week on Meet the Press.

Although it is a pleasant fantasy, impeaching Bush is just that--a fantasy. Such nonsense, even if just on this board, should be dropped in favor of trying to win House and Senate seats.

This post has been edited by BoF: May 29 2005, 07:55 AM
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nebraska29
post May 29 2005, 06:00 AM
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Questions for Debate:

1. Do you think Democrats will pickup Congressional seats in 2006?

2. What issues will drive the 2006 midterm elections?

QUOTE
3. What can we as Democrats do to help elect more Democratic representatives?



A Left Handed Person, nighttimer, & Authormusician have hit the nail on the head. Hopefully with Dean as the party chairman, we will actually have some energized people helping out. The right is soooooo good at getting people to put up signs, go door to door, and do that kind of thing. Democrats do it well in certain areas that are heavily unionized or that have large universities. Out in areas where I live, that is hardly the case. Those of us in the red states need more party money from heavily blue states in order to get things done out here. I'd also argue that we need to aggressively state what we are for, rather than criticize what we're against. In that line of thinking, I agree with Eeyore. Introduce a new "G.I. Bill" program that will allow people from houses with incomes under $25,000 to go to college; Create a program that will give everyone at the age of 18 $1,000 to start their own business, pay classes, make a down payment or do with it as they like. Think of it as a "40 acres and a mule" type of thing. We definitely need some issues to make us standout.
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Rancid Uncle
post May 30 2005, 05:34 PM
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1. Do you think Democrats will pickup Congressional seats in 2006?
In the senate, maybe 4 seats tops. To pick up six seats would probably have to win in Tennessee, Virginia, Montana and Missouri or Mississippi, along with beating Santorum (which will happen) and Lincoln Chafee, along with not losing in Florida or Nebraska. But hey, if will it, it is no dream.

2. What issues will drive the 2006 midterm elections?

Social security, the economy, the progress of Iraqization, republicans being forced to defend incredibly radical right wing social policy.

3. What can we as Democrats do to help elect more Democratic representatives?

Volunteer, voting isn't enough. Democratic organizations should be out, even now, registering people to vote. Many of the same people who are inclined not to vote, would vote for democrats if somebody bothered them enough.

Recent polls have shown that a majority of people think the country is on the wrong track, 62% of people disapprove of Bush's handling of social security, 61% of people say Bush's priorities are not their's. What democrats need to do is harness that discontent and show the country a different way to go. If we do that democrats should win all over the country.
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nebraska29
post May 30 2005, 06:59 PM
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QUOTE
3. What can we as Democrats do to help elect more Democratic representatives?


You know, a lot of people who've replied had good ideas. Things like raising and sending money in, putting up signs, all that stuff is important. However, it seems as if we are more focused on "top-heavy" solution like the federal and state races, that we forget the local ones as well. It's the local level where future candidates are groomed and gain experience. I live in a county that has 0 elected democrats at the county level. 0 democrats on the county board of supervisors, 0 at the courthouse, and 0 on the city council. I've become absolutely fed up with this that I've filed for a local office as of last week. It's on a conservation board and my opponent(the incumbent) lives on the opposite corner of the district. I've painted yard signs and I'm ready to attend every gathering featuring a person and their two hogs to try and get elected. I've read enough of Michael Moore, Jim Hightower, and Molly Ivins. I'm mad as hell devil.gif and I'm looking to do something about what I feel needs to be corrected. I use to have a dim view of local politics and thougt everything was at the state and federal level was the "real" arena for politics. Now I'm beginning to think that we need to take local politics mroe seriously.
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BoF
post Jun 4 2005, 11:01 AM
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3. What can we as Democrats do to help elect more Democratic representatives?

QUOTE(nebraska29 @ May 30 2005, 12:59 PM)
You know, a lot of people who've replied had good ideas.  Things like raising and sending money in, putting up signs, all that stuff is important.  However, it seems as if we are more focused on "top-heavy" solution like the federal and state races, that we forget the local ones as well.  It's the local level where future candidates are groomed and gain experience.  I live in a county that has 0 elected democrats at the county level.  0 democrats on the county board of supervisors, 0 at the courthouse, and 0 on the city council.  I've become absolutely fed up with this that I've filed for a local office as of last week.  It's on a conservation board and my opponent (the incumbent) lives on the opposite corner of the district.  I've painted yard signs and I'm ready to attend every gathering featuring a person and their two hogs to try and get elected.  I've read enough of Michael Moore, Jim Hightower, and Molly Ivins.  I'm mad as hell devil.gif  and I'm looking to do something about what I feel needs to be corrected.  I use to have a dim view of local politics and thought everything was at the state and federal level was the "real" arena for politics.  Now I'm beginning to think that we need to take local politics more seriously.


Nebrska29 I think you have a point. All levels of government are important. Building a grass roots organization by definition percolates up rather than drips down.

In Texas I see much opportunity on the state level. The Governor, Rick Perry; Lieutenant Governor, David Dewhurst and Speaker of the Texas House, Tom Craddick are all Republicans. Both chambers are Republican controlled.

Texas has one 140 day legislative session every two years. This session that ended in May can only be described as a disaster.

As the saying goes:

QUOTE
No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. Judge Gideon J. Tucker, 1866.


http://www.duke.edu/~gnsmith/quotes/quotes03.htm

The legislators have all gone home. Governor Perry will be in Fort Worth Sunday to sign two bills at conservative non-denominational church. I don’t know where Lt. Governor Dewhurst went. He may be vacationing in Maui Perhaps being rightfully ashamed of himself, he have crawled under the nearest bolder.

In my head, I hear Judy Collin singing. The songs familiar, but it has a different twist. It’s coming I clear now, “Send Out the Clowns.”

Trying to piece together what happened in Austin recently is difficult to present, but I’ll try.

The first reaction was from my favorite local writer, Bob Ray Sanders of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, (hereafter FWST.) Bob Ray is also a friend of three decades.

QUOTE(Bob Ray Sanders)
Texas' top three political leaders -- Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker of the House Tom Craddick -- let down the entire state, but they especially failed the state's 4.4 million schoolchildren.

And they had promised that they would do the right thing this time.


http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/columnists...rs/11786731.htm

Bud Kennedy, another opinion writer for the FWST (I’ve met him at the coffee shop) had this to say:

QUOTE(Bud Kennedy)
The Texas legislative session opened with low expectations.
Somehow, the current lawmakers still managed to overcome that and accomplish even less.

<snip>

Now, lawmakers await a July 6 Texas Supreme Court hearing to learn whether they're constitutionally required to go back to work and raise more money for even a basic system of public schools.

<snip>

As it turned out, the Legislature couldn't agree on a candidate to succeed the much-blamed Robin Hood. Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Craddick all said they wanted to cut school property taxes and raise additional school money elsewhere. The idea was so complicated that it finally went nowhere.
In the end, Perry went rushing to Craddick's office with a school reform agreement with 30 minutes to spare before a deadline.

<snip>

The speaker said no...


http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/columnists...dy/11777956.htm

Jay Root FWST Austin Bureau reported:

QUOTE
AUSTIN - One hundred and forty days of raucous politics came to an end Monday, the last day of a Texas legislative session that will probably be remembered as much for what failed as what passed.

Lying in the recycle bin were thousands of pages of what might have been: a new school finance system, a property tax cut, legalized slot machines, an overhaul of ethics laws, private school vouchers and the Willie Nelson Highway.

<snip>

The demise of House Bill 2 also doomed across-the-board pay raises for teachers


http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/11778001.htm

John Moritz also from the FWST Austin Bureau wrote:

QUOTE
AUSTIN - On the final day of the 2005 legislative session, and one day after the yearlong effort to overhaul the state's school finance system cratered, lawmakers vainly tried to resuscitate a measure that would have boosted their own retirement benefits.


http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/legislature/11778022.htm

From another article by Moritz and R. A. Dyer :

QUOTE
AUSTIN - House Speaker Tom Craddick on Sunday rejected assertions by other top state officials that he scuttled a last-minute deal to salvage a sweeping school finance bill meant to be the centerpiece of the legislative session that ends today.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who presides over the Texas Senate, suggested that an 11th-hour "agreement in principle" had been hammered out late Saturday night by him, Gov. Rick Perry and a team of key lawmakers. Then Craddick pulled the plug, Dewhurst contended.

<snip>

Teachers especially raised a ruckus over the pension increase because they said it suggested that lawmakers were placing themselves ahead of educators.


http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/11773745.htm

Meanwhile, the public got involved by writing letters to the editor.

QUOTE
State legislators are going home again without completing their work.

Because public school financing is such an important issue, Gov. Rick Perry can certainly call a special session to get them to finish their job. After all, he did it three times in 2003 to get the state's congressional districts redrawn.


http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/opinion/local2/11786677.htm

Here’s one that appeared in the May 23 edition of the paper. Its author is an unnamed AD member. Three guesses and the first two don’t count.

QUOTE(Letter to Editor FWST by Unspecified AD member)
The bills increasing legislators’ pensions and the one that passed without a cost-of-living adjustment for retired teachers are abominations. Gov. Perry should veto both bills, and another bill should be introduced to give retired teachers a cost-of-living adjustment.

Since retiring in 2002, my insurance premiums and co-pays for prescription drugs and doctor visits have increased dramatically. The state can’t continue to balance the budget on the backs of retired teachers

<snip>

Republicans are inventing their own political suicide. The legislature was a cesspool when the Democrats controlled it. Now it’s just raw sewage gushing from Republicans. I hope such legislation is the beginning of the circus tent collapsing on the elephants


Note: The legislature didn’t get its pension increase. No bill was introduced to give retired teachers a cost-of living adjustment. The legislature did make some changes for future retirees.

QUOTE
Under Senate Bill SB 1691, the teacher retirement age would increase from 55 to 60, although the new retirement age would affect only teachers who start working September 2007 or later.

<snip>

And, the proposal also would change the base of retirees' benefits to the highest five years of their salary, instead of the highest of three.


http://www.kwtx.com/home/headlines/1583851.html

Because of the changes for future retirees, the legislature has indicated that retired teachers will get their first cost-of-living adjustment since 2001 in 2007. Gees, six years without a raise and as Sanders said in the first post, they’ve again “promised to do the right thing.

Anger was so great that one Republican wrote in the May 23 edition of the paper:

QUOTE
I totally agree with ________ ___, the retired teacher quoted in Thursday’s news story. He and I are on opposite sides of the political fence. But I also will vote against any incumbent Republican or Democrat in the next state election



I think Cranky Craig’s View summed it all up:

QUOTE
As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, these greedy politicians have a pension plan that will pay a legislator with 26 years in office some $74,500.00 per year in retirement benefits!

At the same time, the teacher with 26 years of experience would have a pension of only $2,043.00 per month.

<snip>

It's amazing how elected officials lose touch with reality.  Hopefully, many of these greedy politicians will not be reelected.

But don't bet the farm on that happening.  You can bet these legislators don't have in their constituent newsletters (which are actually government subsidized campaign materials) any mention of this outrage.  But until the fine folks of the great State of Texas wake up, they can count on getting screwed time and again by their elected representatives.  One could argue that they deserve it.


http://crankygreg.blogs.com/crank_gregs_vi...exas_legis.html

Gratefully, the session is over. The Republican controlled legislature bombed. In a few months the widely read Texas Monthly will publish it’s best and worst of the late legislative session. That should keep the fires of anger glowing. I can hardly wait. thumbsup.gif

So, how does this all relate to this thread?

Citizens are angry. The Texas Legislature has given us an opening big enough drive a locomotive through. With hard work and Machiavellian skill, I think we can gain some ground at all levels of government in 2006.

There is much dissatisfaction with Governor Rick Perry n the Republican Party. Rumor has it that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Carole Keeton Strayhorn will both challenge Perry in the 2006 Republican Primary. If Hutchinson wins—bingo--a Senate seat up for grabs. Think about this for a minute. Can we not make a cogent argument that Republicans in Texas have failed? Do we go out and work hard to elect Democrats or do we simply replace one set of Republicans with some different Republicans? The solution to Republican misrule is not more Republicans but Democrats.

Then there’s poor Tom DeLay. He’s on the ropes. I predict that eventually be tossed as majority leader. I don’t know if he’ll win again in Sugar Land, but I do think he’s vulnerable.

The time is now. Let’s get to work. flowers.gif

Note: All Fort Worth Star Telegram links require registration, but it's free. biggrin.gif

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nebraska29
post Jun 5 2005, 01:47 PM
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Question #1 looks excitingly promising for us. For one, Stabbenow is crushing every potential GOP opponent in Michigan polls. Not only that, but Montana GOP senate candidates who support social security privatization are definitely out of sync with Montana voters. I give us the edge there as well. So, it appears that we'l hold the line pretty well. I'm all for Olympia Snowe of Maine being re-elected. She votes democratic anyways 85% of the time. ph34r.gif
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