Skip to comments.Trench Warfare Won't Resolve Anything in This Year's Elections
Posted on 05/05/2012 3:08:40 AM PDT by Kaslin
One hundred years ago, the European powers were hurtling down a path leading to World War I. Trench warfare became the dominant image of that war, as both sides dug in and the battle lines barely moved. Many called it the "War to End All Wars," but in the end it merely set the stage for World War II.
Election 2012 is shaping up to be the political equivalent of trench warfare that fails to resolve anything.
The early polling data suggests the race could be very close. The past two months of daily tracking by Rasmussen Reports shows, on average, that the candidates are just a point apart. The behavior of the two sides reinforces the perception of a close race and a nasty, negative campaign.
Recent history adds to the sense of a nation that is divided politically and unable to move forward. Over the past six presidential elections, no candidate has won more than 53 percent of the vote. Barring a major change in the economy or in the international arena, the results in 2012 are likely to make it seven in a row. This election simply reflects the hardening of partisan lines that have been developing for three decades.
Such numbers stand in stark contrast to the period that preceded it. For more than 80 years, most presidential elections were won with more than 53 percent of the vote. Bigger victory margins lead to a healthier political system. They add a sense of legitimacy (and sometimes a mandate) for the victors. They also help the losers recognize that the results weren't a fluke determined by some tactical mistake. Instead, the defeated party must listen carefully to public opinion and try a different approach to connecting with the voters.
Since the Republicans started competing with the Democrats, there has been only one other comparable stretch with seven consecutive competitive elections. That was from 1876 to 1900, a period when the nation was dealing with both the aftermath of the Civil War and the transition from an agricultural to an industrial society.
Today, the nation is dealing with the aftermath of the culture wars from the 1960s and the transition from an industrial society to an information-based one. America has changed dramatically over the last generation or two, but U.S. politicians keep refighting the same old partisan battles.
As consumers, Americans experience a private sector that is catering more and more to individual preferences. Everybody can buy an iPad, but every person customizes it in a different way.
As voters, however, Americans experience a government that is unresponsive and catering to the interests and whims of politicians. Only 8 percent believe members of Congress listen to their constituents more than political party leaders. Only 17 percent believe the government today has the consent of the governed.
Somebody will win this November, and their supporters will claim the victory resolved the divisions in American politics in their favor. Diplomats once thought the Armistice to end World War I resolved the divisions in Europe. But the underlying reality is that the American people are ready to move into a new era, and the political class remains committed to defending the status quo.
Nothing will be resolved until the political class catches up to the American people. That will require a major change in the way government and politics work.
the whole point of the TEA Party is to MAKE government responsive to the people.
Less gov’t, not more. Sending one dollar to DC and getting less than a penny back in benefits is a poor economic strategy.
Well then the Tea Party is going to have to figure out a way to totally take over the Republican party from the bottom up, or else we will continue to face elections with only RHINO candidate choices.
"Somebody will win this November..."
Yes. So we hope. A nightmare scenario is a close race with an outcome challenged by both sides. If Democrats face certain defeat, they will likely try to contrive such a scenario. Nothing is beneath them.
So Rassmusen thinks the country worked fine while the Democrats were winning every presidential election by a big margin. He never knew my grandfather who hated FDR till the day he died. He never forgave FDR’s goons for invading his farm and killing his hogs during the Depression, as part of some desperate government scheme to improve the economy.
A couple of hundred in GJ yesterday— the “useful idiots had
their may day celebration days ago. Sad thing is there seems
no shortage of Useful idiots even in the last conservative district in Colorado.Too many will drink the Communist koolaid and vote for the “Communist in the White House” just because he doesn’t have an R attached to his name.
More exactly: The hard left infiltrated and now dominate the leadership of the Dem party and have enticed a portion of the Repub party. The Tea Party is a direct reaction to this.
I have hope, partially due to what the polls supposedly said during the 1980 election. An incumbent President SHOULD BE doing much better than Barky is doing. He has many powers that the opposition doesn’t. Romney is a mess, but Barky is an unmitigated disaster.
Something is wrong with polling data,Obama has screwed up to many peoples lives for data to be right.
Just imagine what would happen if the Electoral College was eliminated and the election was done only on a popular vote basis. The Florida 2000 election writ large.
Interesting point comparing our political divide with the trench warfare of World War I.
Ever since 1998, the elections have produced no landslide victories. Bush’s 54%-to-46% victory in 1988 is the largest, with Obama’s 53%-to-45% victory in 2008 coming close. Clinton won with pluralities below 50% and Ross Perot’s candidacies padded his margins both times. Ever since the early 1990’s, the partisan preferences have been hardening and the swing vote is only about 15% of the voters now.
Obama’s core of support consists of tax recipeints (including government workers), ethnic minorities, unmarried women, and young voters. The tax recipeints are more for him than ever. Among minorities, he has sky-high support among blacks. His support among Hispanics is still high, but down from earlier. Unmarried women and young voters are becoming more skeptical of him and their enthusiasm for him is way down.
Yes we’re in an extended stretch of the parties being pretty closely balanced. The last time it was like this was the 1870’s-90’s.
I see that the article which I didn’t read prior to posting, agrees. ;d
What does "move forward" mean to Scott Rasmussen?
I like gridlock. Total gridlock, unless it's about cutting taxes.
Yes. And for this reason, Democrats/Leftists/Decadents would love to eliminate the electoral college, just as they are determined to eliminate anything that would prevent the use of election fraud to get Democrat politicians elected!