In what may be perhaps the most amazing fast change of political fortune, the Democrats face an uphill battle in the 2010 midterm elections only two years after Barack Obama was swept into the White House on a tide of anti-Bush sentiment. Of course, midterm elections usually do not favor the party in power, and the Democrats appear to be no exception this year. Nonetheless, a recent Gallup poll gave Republicans a shot in the arm when it concluded that support for a generic Republican candidate is at an all-time high. The poll gave Republicans a 51% to 41% lead, something which Gallup hasn’t seen in 60 plus years of taking polls.
However, many political pundits believe that the Republicans fortunes will be short-lived as well. President Obama in 2008 campaigned against overly partisan politics, and the American electorate’s mercurial fancy for one political party or the other could be a result of a high level of continued partisanship. Republicans and Democrats alike use politically charged “wedge issues” like immigration and abortion to define their enemy and to win converts.
However, there is something that Democratic and Republican politicians have in common with each other – for the most part they are wealthy and highly educated and are experts at playing the political game. While the term “elitist” has been thrown at the Obama White House, most administrations employ a large number of people with Ivy League degrees.
Perhaps this is why the American electorate alternates between support for one political party and the other, the Democrats have now become Washington insiders, and elitists in the eyes of many in the American public. However, given that politicians come from the ranks of lawyers and other highly educated professions, it seems unlikely that Americans will elect politicians that they truly feel are on the side of the average Joe.