On Friday, we took a look at the battle for control of the United States Senate, noting that Republicans, who once had high-hopes to gain a majority in that chamber, are very likely to fall short at the polls tomorrow. Their struggles to take control of the Senate can really be highlighted by races in Indiana and Missouri, where the Republican nominees have struggled after making controversial comments about abortion and rape.
Todd Akin’s misstep in Missouri, where he is likely to lose to Sen. Claire McCaskill, who was thought to be the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate, has been well documented. More recently, however, are Richard Mourdock’s troubles in Indiana.
Riding the strength of the Tea Party movement and voter angst, Republicans won 62 seats in the 2010 mid-term election, taking control of the House in an election that was viewed as a referendum on the first-half of President Barack Obama’s term. And even though it looks like they will fail to take control of the Senate this year, Aaron Blake, who writes at The Fix over at the Washington Post, reports that Republicans may actually increase their already sizeable majority in the House of Representatives:
The Fix now projects that the 2012 race for the House is likely to be close to a draw, and there is even a fair chance that Republicans will add to their biggest majority in six decades on Tuesday.
In recent weeks, as Mitt Romney has gained a few points in the presidential race, a similar but slight shift has been happening at the House level: The generic ballot has tightened.
While Democrats had built a modest advantage on the generic ballot (a measure of whether people prefer a generic Republican or a generic Democrat) when President Obama built some momentum in September, that advantage is basically gone now.
In part because of this, Democrats have seen their candidates in conservative-leaning districts suffer. Friday, we are moving several red-district Democrats into more vulnerable ratings, including Reps. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), Mark Critz (D-Pa.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) and Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.).
And because those seats have shifted, it is no longer a foregone conclusion that Democrats will gain seats this year.
Most Americans typically think about politics in terms of “red” and “blue” states or in terms of liberal and conservative. Independents are sought after in elections, but their voting patters and beliefs are not easily understood by either major party. Fitting into that bloc of voters who are considered independents are libertarians — those who are “fiscal conservative” and “socially liberal.”
There has been a lot of talk about how libertarians should vote in this election, but there really doesn’t seem to be much of an understand from where this important voting bloc is coming. In a new e-book — The Libertarian Vote: Swing Voters, Tea Parties, and the Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal Center, David Boaz, David Kirby, and Emily Ekins look at the data, offering insight into what issues help dicate the voting patterns of libertarians, which makes up between 10% to 20% of voters.
You can purchase the e-book, which is reasonably priced at $3.99, for your Kindle over at Amazon.com.
Parts of this book were discussed in a forum earlier this month at the Cato Institute as David Kirby and Emily Ekins explained their recent look at the libertarian roots of the Tea Party, a movement that was instrumental in the 2010 mid-term election:
Back in July, Ted Cruz sent sent shockwaves through the conservative movement when he defeated David Dewhurst, the establishment-backed candidate, in the Texas GOP primary for United States Senate. Cruz’s sharp personality and oratory helped propel him from the cellar in the polls to beating the GOP establishment to being one of the most anticipated speakers at the Republican National Convention in August.
While those of us that followed Cruz during the primary and subsequent runoff know why he eventually captured the hearts and minds of Texas Republican, Mother Jones, a left-wing magazine, has also taken notice, providing a good profile of this rising GOP star — calling him the “Republican Barack Obama”:
Since coming on the scene in 2009, the Tea Party movement has been maligned or misrepresented by an unsympathetic media. They fawned over Occupy Wall Street, but they quickly fizzled out. But the Tea Party is still around and still having an influence on American politics through backing anti-establishment candidates in Republican primaries.
This is what the movement has become used to since its inception. But in his column at Politico, Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s the Morning Joe, used his column yesterday to rip the media’s treatment of the Tea Party movement:
“Why is the tea party destroying the Republican Party?”
That’s a leading question that I have been asked repeatedly from media pundits and Democratic politicians over the past three years. Over that time, Democratic politicians and media pundits have almost universally accused the tea party of bringing ruin to the Grand Old Party. According to this skewed narrative, Republican leaders were once bipartisan, rational and almost worthy of getting invitations to Georgetown cocktail parties. Now, they are Manchurian candidates held captive by the right-wing beasts whose only goal is to infect the minds of real-life Nick Brodys who dominate the U.S. House.
Sometimes, mainstream publications and Democratic leaders even go so far as to say kind things about Ronald Reagan as a way to attack the tea party. They speak glowingly of Reagan and contrast him with the barbarians who now run the Republican Party. This, of course, conveniently overlooks the nasty attacks Reagan has endured at the hands of those who now cynically praise the 40th president.
With roughly two weeks left before election day, Rep. Allen West, the controversial Florida Republican and former Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, leads his Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy, in Florida’s Eighteenth Congressional District, according to a survey put out last week:
Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is leading his Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy by nine points, according to a new FLDemocracy/WPTV/TCPalm poll released Thursday.
Among likely voters surveyed, 51 percent support West and 42 percent back Murphy. Eight percent are undecided.
The battle for the 18 th congressional district, which includes Martin, St. Lucie and northern Palm Beach counties, is one of the closest watched races in the country. The race has been characterized by a flood of advertising—most of which is coming from West who has outspent his Democratic challenger by 4-1.
During a breakfast with reporters last month, Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, told reporters that his influential organization, which frequently targets fiscally irresponsible Republicans in primaries, may make a run at Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) when he comes up for re-election in 2014.
Graham, who frequently pushes a neo-conservative foreign policy and is working to keep defense spending from ever being cut, came right back at the Club for Growth by reiterating his support for many of the bad, big government economic policies that fiscal conservatives so vocally oppose.
As if it weren’t evident enough why the Club for Growth may target him, Jim Antle explains exactly why Graham has earned the ire of grassroots groups and fiscal conservatives:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who holds the seat that belonged for nearly fifty years to Strom Thurmond, is on the warpath this campaign season—against his own party.
Graham took exception to ads being run against Democratic senators who voted to continue foreign aid to Libya, Egypt and Pakistan. American embassies were attacked in the first two countries; someone who helped U.S. authorities find Osama bin Laden has been detained in the third.
As Dave Weigel reports in Slate, a new Super PAC, the Tea Party Victory Fund, chaired by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is running a tough “Obama Phone” ad in swing states.
When I spoke to Mr. Blackwell about the ad, he noted that this is a contiuation of the fight he started to promote inner-city reforms in his book, Rebuilding America, which came out in 2006. Since then, he has taken on the Obama Administration for their opposition to school choice, which gives underprivileged children a chance to escape their environment and live in the American dream.
Right now, its up in the Ohio counties of Lucas, Summit, and Mahoning… and will be expanded to other areas soon.
The National FreePAC Tour continues this afternoon in Phoenix, Arizona. In just a few minutes, a few thousand Tea Partyers will fill up there room here at the Phoenix Convention Center to learn the basics of grassroots activism, including GOTV training and ways to hold both Democrats and Republicans accountable.
Later this afternoon, activists will hear from a variety of speakers — including Matt Kibbe, Deneen Borelli, Dana Loesch, Rev. C.L. Bryant, and Glenn Beck — during the “Call to Action Rally.”
The Cato Institute has released its biannual Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors, a useful tool that can help voters determine whether or not their chief executives are acting responsibly when it comes to taxation and spending.
The report this year, authored by Chris Edwards, should come with some interest, given that some of the governors graded in this round ran on Tea Party-themed platforms. This is the first real look into whether or not they’ve delivered on the rhetoric they espoused on the campaign trail.
Looking through the list, the nation’s best governors on fiscal policy — those receiving an “A” — do indeed have a Tea Party influence, or at the very least they ran on fiscally conservative platforms. Here’s a look at the cream of the crop:
- Sam Brownback (R-KS)
- Rick Scott (R-FL)
- Paul LePage (R-ME)
- Tom Corbett (R-PA)
The highest scoring Democrat, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, received a “B,” and was among the best in the nation on fiscal policy. His grade is up from two years ago, when he received a “D.” Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who followed Mitt Romney in the Bay State, also received a “B.” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam takes home the prize of being the lowest scoring Republican in the report, with a “D.”
Who are the nation’s worst governors on fiscal policy? Well, here they are — all of five received an “F” in the report (starting with the worst):
- Pat Quinn (D-IL)
- Dan Malloy (D-CT)
- Mary Dayton (D-MN)
- Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)
- Chris Gregoire (D-WA)
Some other names of interest with summarized comments: