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Kevin Buck: November mid-term elections

Posted: April 15, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 15, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

I consider every election an important election. Presidential elections deservedly get a lot of attention, but presidents can only do so much on their own, despite the opposition wailing and whining otherwise.

Down-ballot elections are just as important because most politics is local. I have always agreed with the bromide that if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain.

Not that that ever works. Complaining about government and politics seems to be an American birthright, regardless of voting records or knowledge of the issues.

Which brings us to the November mid-term elections.

Historically, the party who controls the White House suffers losses in the off-year elections.

Mid-term elections also are base elections. The hard-core political junkies turn out; the ho-hum “What difference does it make?” uninvolved voters stay home.

Sadly for our Democratic team, we have a lot of voters who only become engaged every four years. The Republicans, on the other hand, have a motivated base of voters constantly whipped into a state of fear and loathing by the conservative media bubble they live within.

Getting voters to the polls is easy if they think death panels, FEMA re-education camps and dead finger gun prying are the future if they do not vote.

The Republican gerrymander after the 2010 census is a huge advantage, as well. It would take a wave election to regain the House majority for the Democrats in 2014, so that may not happen until 2016.

If the Democrats do not win back the House majority, Americans can expect more of the same: years of futile Obamacare repeal votes, zero Obamacare replacement plans, an acrimonious (the Republican political default setting) political civil war between the tea party and establishment wings of the party, and two more reverse

Robin Hood budget proposals, taking from the poor and middle class and giving to the rich.

Add that to Hillary Clinton playing the 2008 Obama role of historic inspiration for the Democratic coalition, and 2016 is looking very good. But we have to push hard this year, as well, and if Democrats vote we can win now.

The Senate majority is the big prize this November. By all rights Republicans should have won that majority in 2010 or 2012 — everything was lined up for them politically, just like it is this year — and they had a very effective issue in Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act had not yet been implemented so speculative lies, exaggerations and worst-case scenarios had the Republican base all in a lather and eager to vote against providing health care for millions of Americans.

The one thing they did not have were candidates who could win independent votes. The elections in 2010 and 2012 were the zenith of the tea party, yet their Senate candidates lost elections that Republicans should have won.

This year establishment Republicans are doing their best to nominate Senate candidates of their own, but Republican primaries still favor far-right tea party candidates, so a couple of sure Republican seats are poised to go to the Democrats again.

Georgia, North Carolina and Kentucky are prime candidates for upsets.

This year the ACA will cease to be an effective campaign issue for Republicans, even if they do not believe that yet. The ACA is settled law.

Some 7.5 million Americans signed up for insurance through the exchanges, and millions more are now covered by Medicaid or on their parents’ policies until they are 26.

There has been no government takeover of the medical profession; it is still firmly in the hands of for-profit insurance corporations, as ever was.

However, pre-existing conditions no longer bar Americans from obtaining insurance, and no American with insurance will go bankrupt if he or she falls ill, so there’s that, at least.

The ACA will become a Democratic plus, just as Republicans have always feared it would.
Democrats can hold the line in 2014 if we turn out and vote. We can hold the Senate and win seats in the House, but to do that we need x’s on ballots.

If every Democratic voter brings just one other Democrat who was not going to vote otherwise, we might even hear the words that make every Republican’s blood boil, “Speaker Pelosi.”

Kevin Buck is a Santa Clarita resident. “Democrativ Voices” runs Tuesdays in The Signal and rotates among several SCV Democrats.

 

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