Wednesday, June 07, 2006

California again and Democrat prospects

Angelidis has won the primary; will he have the appeal to independent voters to win? They broke strongly for Schwarzenegger as I discussed earlier here and recent polls have shown him leading both potential Democrat candidates with Angelidis doing worse than Westley. Democrats haven't won the Congressional by-election near San Diego (which resulted from the jailing of the former Republican congressman on corruption charges) but seem to have secured a swing of around 9-10%. More details here. This doesn't look like the tidal wave that the Democrats would need to win the Senate. Kos notes:
Democrats are not motivated to turn out. Sure, Busby [the Democrat] exceeded Kerry's 43 percent he got in the district in 2004, but not by much. She got 45.46%. If the "culture of corruption" message was enough to bring people out to vote Democratic, this would be the place to do it.
This suggests about 4% points of the 2004 Republican margin was due to incumbency. For Kos the response to the defeat is a stronger progressive appeal to mobilise the base. However how big is the base, what if the Republican base is bigger? David Corn highlights immigration:
Without reading too much into the results of one race, there is good reason for Democrats to worry: illegal immigration. Bilbray [the Republican] hyped his support for tough border enforcement, siding with the House Republicans' keep-'em-out/toss-'em-out approach and attacking the Bush-favored Senate compromise position that blends a (convoluted) path-to-citizenship with steps to beef up the border. And that might have won him the race. During the campaign, Bilbray called for building a fence "from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico." Celebrating his victory, Bilbray said, "The president proposing amnesty was absolutely a big problem. In fact, it wasn't until I was able to highlight the fact that I did not agree with my friends in the Senate or my friend in the White House on amnesty that you really saw the polls start supporting me strongly."
We can anticipate a revival of the argument as to whether the Democrats can rely on disaffection with the Republicans or whether they should develop a comprehensive program mirroring the 1994 Republican's 'Contract with America'. Whether the Contract accounted for the 1994 Republican sweep is being debated, for an argument it did not see here. Among the Republicans it will bolster the more traditional conservatives as distinct from the 'neos': immigration seems to be one of the few issues they diverge on. Ironically Bilbray was viwed with suspicion as being too socially liberal by some conservatives.


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