One of the astonishing aspects of Election 2010 is how Republican candidates are surging in hitherto blue states. Recent polls that have come out in West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania suggest a nationwide tsunami in progress.
Public Policy Polling has placed Republican John Raese over Democrat Governor Joe Manchin 46 to 43 percent in the West Virginia Senate race to replace Robert Byrd, recently deceased. In any other year, Manchin, a popular governor, should have had the race in a walk. But it seems that West Virginians, while loving Joe Manchin, may love him to remain a governor and send a Republican to the Senate.
In Wisconsin, a PPP poll made in conjunction with the Daily Kos places the incumbent Senator Russ Feingold trailing Republican challenger Ron Johnson 52 to 41 percent. Feingold, a liberal Democrat who also pretends to be a fiscal hawk in the Wisconsin tradition of William Proxmire, seems to be caught in the Republican wave and has yet to figure out a good reason for the voters to reelect him.
Finally, in Pennsylvania, a recent Rasmussen poll places Republican Pat Toomey over Joe Sestak by 49 to 41 percent in the race to replace Arlen Specter in the Senate. Specter, who had switched from Republican to Democrat, was defeated in the primary by Sestak, even though Sestak was urged to withdraw from the race by Obama administration officials with a promise of a job. This story seems to have placed a bad taste in the mouths of Pennsylvania voters. This added to the grievances voters have against Democrats seems to be boosting Toomey to a likely victory.
The fact that a Republican tide is spreading into traditional “blue” or liberal states should not come as a surprise to anyone. The victory of Scott Brown, a moderate Republican, in Massachusetts in gaining the seat once held by Teddy Kennedy should have proven to be a wake-up call. But instead the Democrats have behaved like French aristocrats wondering why the hoi polloi are being such ingrates. Too late they are coming to realize what exactly is about to happen to them.
With the election just six weeks away, there is likely nothing the Democrats can now do. Public attitudes are pretty much locked in and changing them would be a matter of more time than is available. Crazy ideas like running an ad campaign against the Tea Party demonstrate only the level of desperation. The Tea Party, after all, consists of the American people in peaceful rebellion.
All the Democrats can do now is to prepare themselves for the lost to come and then attempt to learn from it. Whether they can do the latter is open to question.
Sources: Close Race in West Virginia, Tom Jensen, Public Policy Polling, September 21st, 2010
WI-Sen/WI-Gov: Dems hurting with six weeks to go, Steve Singiser, Daily Kos, September 21st, 2010
Election 2010: Pennsylvania Senate, Rasmussen Reports, September 15th, 2010