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Why November 2004 looks great
Enter Stage Right ^ | November 18, 2002 | Bruce Walker

Posted on 11/18/2002 10:51:54 AM PST by gordgekko

In January of this year, I wrote an article for entitled "Why November 2002 Looks Great." It makes the following predictions:

"Republicans will retake the Senate (Bush wants that, and anyone fool enough to see that he is a formidable opponent are (sic) not paying attention) and probably increase the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. The state government results will be mixed, as it always is (sic), but Republicans - not Democrats - will be able to claim a more or less clean victory in early November 2002."

This prediction was intended as a counterpoint to the gloominess which followed Republican defeats in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races in November 2001, which prompted many official worriers to speculate that the Bush presidency was in big trouble. November 5, 2002 showed any concern about Republican political fortunes was silly. Republicans captured the Senate, increased their majority in the House, and although state government elections were mixed, Republicans had a more or less clean victory at that level as well.

Stopping Democrats from once again engaging in gross gerrymandering of congressional districts produced, as I had predicted, a net gain of half a dozen or so House seats. Equally important, November 2002 was the first election in the lifetime of most Americans in which state legislative districts were not twisted into strange creatures configured to insure the election of as many Democrat state legislators as possible, and November 5, 2002 saw, for the first time in the lifetime of most Americans, Republicans hold a clear majority of state legislative chambers and a majority of state legislators. As Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures said in that organization's new release two days after the election:

"There is zero doubt in my mind that redistricting was the key factor in making majorities vulnerable in these states. Most of the chambers that switched party control occurred in states where redistricting plans were drawn by a commission or a court. Redistricting and term limits were especially significant in the Missouri House elections." (where Republicans gained the Missouri House for the first time in half a century).

The only reason that the Republican victories at the state level were only a "more or less clean victory" was because Republican lost governorships in the large states of Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin (all of which my article predicted) and ended up with twenty-six governorships or one less than before the election. But a majority of the governors - against every single prediction! - remained Republican. Expected Democrat wins were offset by unexpected Republican victories in states like Maryland, Rhode Island, Georgia, Vermont and Minnesota.

What about 2004? Well, before we reach the presidential election there will be an off year election in November 2003. In 1999, the off year election before the last presidential election, Democrats held on to the Kentucky governorship and gained the Mississippi governorship. This time, however, Republicans will win both of these races.

The return of Trent Lott as Majority Leader of the Senate and the bad taste still left by the Democrat ill-treatment of Judge Pickering will cost the Democrats the Mississippi gubernatorial race. The corruption of Governor Patton in Kentucky, along with the near sweep of the South by Republicans will enable Republicans to win that gubernatorial race as well. Going into the 2004 Presidential Election, Republicans will have at least 28 governors - more than before the November 2002 elections.

What else will happen before the 2002 elections? Significant numbers of Democrats in Congress will see that they will not be in the majority party for years. Many will retire, and several will become Republicans. Two Democrat senators and six Democrat congressmen did this after the 1994 Republican landslide, and the 2002 victory looks much more durable than the 1994 victory had looked.

During the primary season, President Bush will face no opposition at all. Never, perhaps, has the Republican Party been so united behind a single man. Democrats, by contrast, ought to have the most bitter and raucous infighting since 1972. The odious anti-Semitism of some black politicians will be wrongly perceived as racial discrimination if other Democrats condemn it, but failure to condemn the absurd charges of pols like Cynthia McKinney will not just cost Democrats crucial Jewish support, but also alienate other Democrats as well.

Writing off the South could easily lead to some southerner (Zell...please?) to seek the Democrat nomination, and such a candidate - particularly where Republicans can crossover and vote Democrat - could enter the Democrat Convention with as many delegates as George Wallace had in 1972.

The kookiness of Democrats today also looks increasingly like the Democrats of 1972. When Hillary stands on the floor of the Senate and questions whether President Bush knew about September 11th before the fact, that shows normal America pure paranoia. National Security will be an issue in 2004, just as it was in 1972, and Republicans will trounce Democrats on that issue.

Indeed, 2004 may be a presidential landslide very much like 1972. But there will be a few big differences. George W. Bush is correctly perceived as a decent and likeable man. He also grasps the importance of political victories. Nixon in 1972 did little, if anything, to help Republicans win other races. Carrying every state was what mattered to him. There is every reason to believe that the much more confident and comfortable President Bush will see that the difference between his winning 325 electoral votes and winning 435 electoral votes is much less important that beefing up Republican majorities in Congress, and encouraging conservative Democrats to publicly support his policies.

What will happen in the 2004 election? I predict this: President Bush will carry every state in the South, every state in the Great Plains from North Dakota and Minnesota south to Oklahoma and Missouri, every Rocky Mountain state, and these other states: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Oregon and Alaska. Republicans will win senate seats in South Carolina, North Carolina, Nevada and New York and will push hard in Indiana and Wisconsin. The House of Representatives will have a few more Republicans, and Republican candidates will capture the governorships of Missouri, Indiana and North Carolina.

November 2004 looks like the best election for Republicans in about one hundred years, and the defeat for Democrats will be so clear that entirely new political parties may arise from the ashes. Thirty years ago, Democrats abdicated any pretense of believing what Americans believed, and they focused instead upon a combination of machine politics raised to the national level (e.g. New Jersey switcheroo) and "the politics of personal destruction."

Nothing has worked, and now nothing can work for Democrats - Clinton has sullied them beyond repair. The future of American politics has profoundly changed as a result. Perhaps, as our Founding Fathers intended, political parties themselves may fade away as well, and politics will return to the role which it should have in our lives - a minor concern related to a small and unobtrusive government. Stranger things have happened.

Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.


TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: november2004

1 posted on 11/18/2002 10:51:54 AM PST by gordgekko
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To: gordgekko
I noticed he didn't include a senate seat pickup from Washington State or a gubernatorial pickup in Washington. I'm hoping it was just an oversight. Washington State desperately needs a Republican governor and we have to get rid of Patty Murray!
2 posted on 11/18/2002 10:57:14 AM PST by Wphile
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To: gordgekko
I like the optimism.

One minor criticism. I think Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are much stronger candidates for Bush in '04 than Vermont.

3 posted on 11/18/2002 11:04:25 AM PST by comebacknewt
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To: gordgekko
Before rushing on to 2004,what about the following immediately looming disaster indicated in the two following articles?:

Concerned about the assault on conservative values? Contribute to Terrell's campaign against Landrieu in Louisiana:

If the conservative agenda is to have a chance of succeeding and if conservative judges are to gain Senate approval, we must preserve a Republican Senate--which is in greater jeopardy than many realize.

For those who understand why the Louisiana election is crucial to retaining the Senate in the face of possible Republican defections by Chafee and McCain, please see the article just posted on:

"How Suzanne Terrell can Defeat Mary Landrieu"

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/791117/posts

The link provided to the COMPLETE NBC TRANSCRIPT is incorrect, and should be:

http://www.msnbc.com/news/836275.asp

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you need convincing, also see the post:

Columnist Broder Sees Potential Party Switches by Senators McCain and Chaffee

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/791096/posts
4 posted on 11/18/2002 11:07:13 AM PST by elenchus
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To: gordgekko
Republican lost governorships in the large states of Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin (all of which my article predicted)

Wow! The author really went out on a limb there! [yawn]

During the primary season, President Bush will face no opposition at all. Never, perhaps, has the Republican Party been so united behind a single man.

Well, not since his father came off the Gulf War with 90% approval ratings.

5 posted on 11/18/2002 11:15:16 AM PST by Coop
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To: Coop
Well, not since his father came off the Gulf War with 90% approval ratings.

But the very next year, Pat Buchanan won the Republican primary in New Hampshire.

6 posted on 11/18/2002 11:16:58 AM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: Paleo Conservative
And my point is, in 1991 the elections were still a long way off, and Bush I looked invincible. Now we're in 2002, with the elections a long way off, and Bush II looks nearly invincible. We have no idea what significant variables will come into play over the next 12-24 months.
7 posted on 11/18/2002 11:26:18 AM PST by Coop
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To: gordgekko
Vermont!!! Dream on...

Other than that, I basically agree with all of this, barring an economic or nuclear war disaster.

I would also add that that Daschle will retire and we'll get that Senate seat in SD, Miller will retire and we'll get the Ga. seat, and then we'll lose one in IL and maybe NH if Gregg becomes a judge. We probably won't lose more than one or two seats in the House, and pending TX and GA re-redistricting, we could pick up about two or three--although dem retirements could make the picture rosier between now and then.

Also, Indiana will finally be under complete GOP control as Republicans pick up the one seat they need in the state House plus the governor's mansion.

8 posted on 11/18/2002 11:29:02 AM PST by The Old Hoosier
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To: Paleo Conservative
Pat did not win that primary. But he polled well, or at least the media made it out like that.

But that's all trivia....all points well taken. I love looking to the next election just as we whup em in the one we just finished!
9 posted on 11/18/2002 11:30:53 AM PST by ConservativeDude
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To: The Old Hoosier
if Daschle retires, I would think Thune could walk in.
10 posted on 11/18/2002 11:31:55 AM PST by ConservativeDude
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To: gordgekko
Nothing has worked, and now nothing can work for Democrats - Clinton has sullied them beyond repair. The future of American politics has profoundly changed as a result. Perhaps, as our Founding Fathers intended, political parties themselves may fade away as well, and politics will return to the role which it should have in our lives - a minor concern related to a small and unobtrusive government. Stranger things have happened.

As long as we have winner-take-all elections and an electoral college, we will have two major parties. If the Dems disappear, a new opposition party will quickly emerge, probably out of a split in the now-dominant Republican Party.

11 posted on 11/18/2002 11:37:54 AM PST by aristeides
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To: gordgekko
2004 is 2 years away. Old saying... “many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.”

The dems want Gore to go away. They will market Kerry and Edwards.

If that fails, there's always Hillary. FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT!

I know it's ugly but it's a good gimmick. The dems are masters at it.

Most women would vote for her even if they dislike her because of the message it would send.

No my friend, 2004 will make 2000 look like a cake walk.

12 posted on 11/18/2002 11:54:01 AM PST by johnny7
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To: gordgekko
Well let's put it this way. I can't imagine any state that voted Bush in 2000 NOT voting for him in 2004. That right there gives him his re-election. All Bush would need to do is bring in the states that were close last time like Pennsylvania and Michigan and he'll have his electoral landslide.

The focus in 2004 however should not be on getting a landslide for Bush but getting more seats in Congress.

13 posted on 11/18/2002 12:02:36 PM PST by SamAdams76
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To: johnny7
Most women would vote for her even if they dislike her because of the message it would send.

I disagree. That message didn't help Geraldine Ferraro, and she's much less polarizing than the Miserable Shrew.

14 posted on 11/18/2002 12:02:45 PM PST by Coop
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To: Coop
I agree with you to a point,but here's why I also agree with the author that 2004 looks very good:

Key item #1:

What else will happen before the 2002 elections? Significant numbers of Democrats in Congress will see that they will not be in the majority party for years. Many will retire, and several will become Republicans. Two Democrat senators and six Democrat congressmen did this after the 1994 Republican landslide, and the 2002 victory looks much more durable than the 1994 victory had looked.

This could be stated more clearly. Look at the historical numbers and you will see that each party averages around twenty House retirements each election. Of course, most of these are in non-competitive districts, but... Since 1996, Gephardt has been begging House Democrats to hold on "just one more term" because they couldn't afford to lose any open seats. In the last four elections I think the democrats have averaged mid-single-digit retirementsAnd, of course, the ones he needed to keep were the most competitive districts. There's a big backlog of sitting House Democrats who won't be holding on "one more year" for Pelosi since they don't look too likely to take things back in 2004 with Bush on the ticket.

Key item #2:

During the primary season, President Bush will face no opposition at all.

This is vastly under identified by the author. Bush raised a huge amount of cash for his 2000 run (100M+). How much will he raise in 2004 as an incumbent President and doubled contribution limits? Also missed by the author is the other side to that coin: Who will the Democrat be? For purposes of this discussion it is almost irrelevant. Whoever they nominate will have certainly gone through a contentious primary campaign which will use up all of their pre-general-election funds. Just like Dole in 96', the Democrat will have no cash to spend as the general campaign season begins while Bush will have, what? 250M+? Money doesn't trump everything, but it sure helps. From the end of the Democratic primaries (very early) until the conventions (somewhat early) the Democrat will have no money (other than DNC hard money), just like Dole, while Bush has three to five times the cashtha Clintoon had at the same point.

Reason #3 (not so big):

Re-resistricting in some states that failed to pass a bill the last go-round (TX, of course) could net the Republicans more seats than the entire 2002 redistricting washout.

Reason #4 (we'll see how big):

The economy. - This sucker has been down for three years now and suffered an incredibly minor recession. What are the chances that things stay down for another two? I know we all want to believe that Republican policies will help the economy (nad I agree they should), but this beast often has a mind of it's own and even without Republican policies it's unlikely to stay hurt for five consecutive years. Who get's credit for the rise? When there are no Democrats in positions to influence the economy?

Oh, and while I don't agree on every Senate call he made, one he missed was SD. Dascle may retire (translation, almost automatic Reublican pickup), or he may run for President, forcing him to give up his seat (translation, almost automatic Reublican pickup), or he may stay an run for another six years. If the Republicans were able to almost beat Johnson by tying him partially to Dascle's politics... how will they do against the real thing?

No. Unless Bush really messes up (and, of course, that could happen), 2004 looks very good right now.

15 posted on 11/18/2002 12:08:59 PM PST by IMRight
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To: IMRight
Johnson wouldn't have won in SD if he had not been supported by Republicans persuaded by the argument that he was needed to keep Daschle majority leader. Daschle won't have that argument in 2004.
16 posted on 11/18/2002 12:11:20 PM PST by aristeides
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To: The Old Hoosier
What leads you to think there will be a Georgia re-redistricting? Isn't the state House still Democrat? Did the legislature pass a plan? Or was it the courts.

Any way you slice it, this is a debate I'm thrilled to have! Six months ago I didn't expect the GA Senate,Gov,orstate Senate.

17 posted on 11/18/2002 12:11:29 PM PST by IMRight
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To: aristeides
Possibly true, but why were Republicans interested in keeping Dascle as majority leader?

Was it a "bring home the bacon" kind of thing?

18 posted on 11/18/2002 12:12:38 PM PST by IMRight
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To: IMRight
But doesn't this sound hauntingly familiar of early '91?

Who will the Democrat be? For purposes of this discussion it is almost irrelevant. Whoever they nominate will have certainly gone through a contentious primary campaign which will use up all of their pre-general-election funds.

Bill who?

19 posted on 11/18/2002 12:15:23 PM PST by Coop
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To: johnny7
If that fails, there's always Hillary

Hillary's negatives are too high for national office. Unless Bush screws up I don't think the Rats have a chance in 2004. Seems to me the current Bush is a much better politician then his dad, so I don't think such a screw up is very likely.

20 posted on 11/18/2002 12:15:46 PM PST by AndyTheBear
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To: Coop
And my point is, in 1991 the elections were still a long way off, and Bush I looked invincible. Now we're in 2002, with the elections a long way off, and Bush II looks nearly invincible. We have no idea what significant variables will come into play over the next 12-24 months.

I agree. There seems to be a little too much "chicken counting" going on here.

21 posted on 11/18/2002 12:29:56 PM PST by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: PBRSTREETGANG
"We have no idea what significant variables will come into play over the next 12-24 months."

This is totally fair. Caution is advised!
22 posted on 11/18/2002 12:38:23 PM PST by ConservativeDude
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To: comebacknewt
I think Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are much stronger candidates for Bush in '04 than Vermont.

Pennsylvania is out of play unless there's a serious cleanup of Philadephia-Pittsburgh vote fraud. If that happens, the GOP has a decent chance, unless they stupidly fail to press their advantage on the gun rights issue (Dem party leaders know that gun control is a loser for them, and will run from the issue like scalded-ass dogs if pressed).

23 posted on 11/18/2002 12:39:41 PM PST by steve-b
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To: Coop
But doesn't this sound hauntingly familiar of early '91?

Yes and no. Bush 41 did not have a Republican House or Senate, so he was constantly faced with signing bills that his base would dislike or vetoing bills loaded with little "gotcha" clauses ("OMG he's going to veto a school lunch program???). Bush 43 should face no similar hurdles.

Bush 41 also took a solid economy that had a very reasonable correction near the end of his term. Twelve straight years of hgh growth is unlikely for any economy, and of course Bush was blamed for it (though Congress is always where the credit/blame should be placed IMHO). Bush 43 is likely to be in the opposite situation. Will the economy be weak for five straight years? If so, he may not deserve to win, but it's far more likely that things will look mighty rosy in 12-18 months. Just in time.

And Clinton had few legitimate contenders that year. When you had to anounce your candidacy Bush was at 90%+. Nobody but a suicidal freak would chose to run against him. A freak, or a candidate who just wanted his hat in the ring for four years later. Right now it looks like every legitimate contender for the throne is in the race... adn they're going to chew each other up.

24 posted on 11/18/2002 12:43:37 PM PST by IMRight
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To: IMRight
That's been in the news as a strong possibility. Perdue appears likely to find enough dems in the House who will work with him, and even the AJC is calling for total redistricting on the state and federal level.
25 posted on 11/18/2002 12:47:29 PM PST by The Old Hoosier
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To: IMRight
Was it a "bring home the bacon" kind of thing?

That's exactly what it was. A SD majority leader, plus Johnson as a majority member of the Appropriations Committee, meant pork for SD.

26 posted on 11/18/2002 12:47:48 PM PST by aristeides
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To: johnny7
No my friend, 2004 will make 2000 look like a cake walk.

So why is predicting doom more acceptable to you than predicting success?

27 posted on 11/18/2002 12:56:51 PM PST by stands2reason
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To: steve-b
Pennsylvania is out of play unless there's a serious cleanup of Philadephia-Pittsburgh vote fraud.

Bush only lost Pennsylvania by four points last time around. He should run even stronger this time even with the Governor's office in the RATS control.

I really like his chances there in '04.

28 posted on 11/18/2002 1:09:57 PM PST by comebacknewt
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