Much less than a landslide

Matthew White

This November’s “donkey stomp” will actually be more of a “donkey whisper.”

All the polls indicate that Democrats are going to replace Republicans in Washington this election year. And, while I believe the Democrats may pick up a few congressional seats, I have five solid reasons for Democrats not to get their hopes up.

One: Republicans have superior “get out the vote” programs and party machines.

According to the Ohio Republican Party, on Oct. 8 alone, Republican volunteers made more than 100,000 phone calls and knocked on more than 50,000 doors across Ohio. This compares with the 2004 effort when volunteers didn’t reach the 100,000 phone call mark until the last five days of the election.

The ORPs effort, mirrored nationwide by state and county Republican parties, even caught the attention of Time, which said the following on Sept. 26: “Democrats remain worried that the GOP will outperform them at getting voters to the polls, much as the Republican turnout operation helped defy the oddsmakers in 2004.”

The Republican party has a legitimate structural advantage that the Democrats cannot compete with.

Two: Voter concentration. Democrat voters tend to be concentrated in urban areas while Republican voters are spread out among suburban and rural areas. This means that the Democrats will “run away” with some elections 90-10, but it also means that many more electoral districts are highly competitive. Republicans have more “safe” districts than Democrats. Even with an anti-Republican mood, many districts remain competitive, and will go the way they’re expected — Republican.

Three: North Korea. Kim Jong Ill announced to the world that North Korea recently conducted a nuclear experiment. This “nuclear experiment” has created an almost nuclear reaction in refocusing a huge amount of the media away from the Mark Foley scandal and back onto foreign policy, national security and the U.N. This is President Bush’s chance to remind the American people that the Republicans are strong on national security, despite multiple recent polls that show the parties practically even.

Four: Evangelical support. The New York Times, which takes joy in attacking Republicans daily, even had to admit Evangelicals blame former Rep. Mark Foley for his improper conduct rather than blaming the entire GOP. Evangelicals make up a huge part of the Republican base, and for them voting isn’t just a right, it’s an issue of moral integrity. Religious conservatives will have their votes on election day.

Five: Ideas. While neo-conservative Republican ideas aren’t polling well across the United States, voters will have to weigh them against whatever the Democrats can come up with. The Democrats lack ideas in many cases, and have a reputation for being against everything “Republican” rather than standing for something of their own.

Many Democrats clamoring for an end of Republican leadership will have their hopes go unrealized with this election. Republicans will lose some seats in the House, but not in the Senate. Quite simply, the seats the Democrats win in 2006 simply because of frustrated Republican voters will be hard to hold onto after two years of Democratic ideas.

Matthew White is a senior magazine journalism major and point/counterpoint columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].