Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What We Learned

I decided to bring this feature back after the special elections last night because there's a lot of analysis that isn't getting the attention it deserves.

- The GOP isn't dead yet. One of the most common refrains from the Left after the 2008 elections was that the Republican Party was on the verge of extinction. Although they did lose a seat in a heavily-Republican Congressional District in New York State, the fact that they were able to take the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections is a sign that Republicans are still showing signs of life. And when you consider they've done fairly well in special elections and runoffs since November 2008, it's a sign that reports of the GOP's death have been greatly exaggerated. (With all apologies to the late Mark Twain.)

- A conservative third party may be viable. The aforementioned New York special election debunked a popular myth that third parties guarantee Democrat victories. Check the election results and say that. A member of the Conservative Party in New York gave the Democrat a good race, and that's even with the Democrat getting the support of ACORN and SEIU (which are pretty much the same thing, but you get the idea). That tells me that there are enough conservatives out there who aren't willing to vote Republican just because there isn't a viable alternative. Doug Hoffman proved otherwise, and that's something the RNC needs to really pay attention to for the 2010 elections.

- ACORN may no longer be a major political factor. The special election in New York saw a Democrat and a Republican candidate supported by the same organization under different names. That may have been to stack the deck to guarantee a victory for their organization, but it backfired. Their Republican candidate dropped out days before the election and threw her support behind their Democrat candidate in a closer race than some expected. If I were in ACORN's political arm, I wouldn't be so joyous that the Democrat won because it was much more difficult than expected.

- Newt Gingrich isn't a Republican savior anymore. For many years, Gingrich was seen as the only one who could lead the GOP to victory in future elections, and his conservative credentials were unassailable. Then, yesterday happened. Gingrich surprisingly took the stance that the GOP needed to be more moderate and backed moderate Republican candidates. For anyone who followed Gingrich over his career, it was clear that he wasn't above backing Leftist ideology when it suited him, and in this election cycle, this tendency was evident yet again. If there are any Republicans reading this who still think Newt is the leader the GOP needs, it's time you take a hard look at him and how he acted in this election cycle.

- The special elections were not a referendum on Obama. This was a common misconception from the beginning, but I think it's too early for it to be true. Instead, I offer that what we saw last night was a referendum on Obama's ability to deliver an election for a Democrat. Since the elections were primarily more of state interest than of national interest, the President really didn't need to pay as much attention to them as he did, and it cost him. Even the Democrat running in the Virginia governor's race rejected Obama's help, especially after polling showed Obama cost him a couple of points after just one appearance. Going into the 2010 election cycle, Democrats will have to take a hard look at whether they want the President to campaign for them if they want to win.

- Sarah Palin is still an asset to the GOP. Hidden in the coverage of the election were stories about Palin coming out in favor of more conservative Republicans. This burns many in the Republican hierarchy because they dismissed her as a lightweight, but it seems the candidates she backed won for the most part. Unlike Obama, Palin has very little to lose endorsing candidates, but she has quite a bit to gain. This special election cycle shows just how much Palin still has to offer Republicans who are on the same page as her. Oh, and did I mention she's still smokin' hot?

- Change isn't just a Democrat slogan anymore. In 2006 and 2008, Democrats ran on a platform of change and it worked for them effectively. However, the thing about change is that it's not permanent. You can, and will, change to something different at some point. And with the elections yesterday, we saw change that the Left can't believe in. (With no apologizes to President Obama.)

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