Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Democratic Majority - They called it before anybody

In 2002, two men published a book which predicted a Democratic majority, not only in the U.S. congress, but among the American electorate. Unfortunately, the book was published when Bush and the Republican Party were riding the wave of popularity and trust they received in the aftermath of 9/11. Conservatives fell down laughing at the notion that anybody could think that there would ever be a Democratic majority again.

But the writers could see that the GOP's post-9/11 surge was artificial, purely a function of fear. Ironically, and despite their public statements on the subject, Republican strategists could see the same thing. This is precisely why Karl Rove, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney spent the last five years stoking the fear of terrorism in the hearts of Americans. But, the human heart yearns to be free, and fear is a heavy yoke. Thus, as we witnessed this week, the burden has been thrown off.

The electoral upheaval in which Democrats won complete control of congress took most political observers completely by surprise, but it wouldn't have if they had read and remembered The Emerging Democratic Majority, by John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira:

Ever since 1994, Republicans have lost ground in Congress and in the country. Like the Democrats of the 1970s, they have also begun to suffer serious divisions in their ranks – from Pat Buchanan on the right to John McCain and Jim Jeffords on the left. Bush’s aggressive prosecution of the war against the terrorists in the fall of 2001 lifted him in public esteem and may have delayed a Republican collapse in 2002. But once the clouds of war lift, and Americans cease to focus on threats to their national security, Republicans are likely to continue their slide, and the movement toward a Democratic majority is likely to resume.
I don't know if Judis and Teixeira anticipated the success with which Rove and Bush exploited the fear of terrorism through the 2004 elections and into 2006, but by this year's election cycle, the American people had clearly begun to move on. And, it wasn't for Bush's lack of trying. Lest anybody forget:

"However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses," Bush told a raucous crowd of about 5,000 GOP partisans packed in an arena at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, one of his stops Monday.
It was the only trick they ever had. They played it one too many times, and voters decided they had had enough. As a result, George W. Bush will spend the last two years of his presidency under the thumb of the Democratic majority which has, at long last, emerged.