Early political predictions

Ballots go out in the mail on October 20th here in Oregon. This is so cats, dogs, illegal aliens and dead Democrats can vote. The election is less than one month away. I’m often asked what I think is going to happen. Even before the recent Mark Foley scandal and resignation, this was not shaping up to be a good year for Republicans.

First of all, I expect voter turnout to be very low this year. Turnout will seem slightly worse than it actually is because of over-registration from the 2004 presidential election. Millions of people who registered and voted in 2004 will never vote again, but they count as voters today. So when they fail to return ballots in November the turnout as a percentage will look very low.
I expect Republicans across the country to fair very badly this year. This will not be because of Iraq or Foley or Katrina. Falling gas prices will help but I’m betting not enough. Republicans failed to show real leadership during this two-year cycle and that’s why I expect them to lose seats at the federal level and very likely control of the House of Representatives as well.

As I’ve written before, I believe the trend started right out of the gate when the President called for Social Security reform and Republicans went soft. That was the first sign they were going to play dime- prevent defense all term. Nothing they’ve done since then has been any different. If Republicans do find themselves in minority status they’ll wish they’d reformed Social Security before they were shown the door.

So, I expect in January the people of San Francisco will control the most powerful legislative body on the planet. Say hello to Speaker Pelosi.

Here in Oregon, the news for Republicans is not as bad. In fact, we may see our first Republican governor in nearly three decades. Ron Saxton is beginning to lead in the polls and I give him a better than average chance of winning his race. He has run a very good campaign so far and his staff should be congratulated.

The ugly side is that House Republicans could find themselves victims of the national tide. A strong surge for Democrats nationally could lead to a situation in Oregon where Republicans control the Governor’s office, but Democrats control the Legislature. An extremely lopsided surge for Democrats could even cost Saxton his race.

That would make Oregon very blue indeed–sending thousands fleeing for Vancouver, Washington. Imagine San Francisco, but on a statewide level. Think: Pelosiland.

Any Democrat victory at the national level will create very ugly conditions indeed. The War on Terrorism will be pulled back to a more defensive position. The Administration will find itself harassed with subpoenas and hearings, and tax cuts set to expire will not be renewed. Get out your wallets.

On the bright side, a House controlled by Democrats will be so ugly that Republican chances for the White House in 2008 will look very good. Hillary Clinton needs Republicans to maintain control of the House and the Senate next month or she doesn’t stand a chance in 2008.

Expect a very mixed result next month.

(Next TWR: Oregon’s Ballot Measures)

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