Thursday, November 6, 2014

Republican Pollster's Election Assessment Is Spot-On

Frank Luntz: 'Shake up Washington' was the message.
I am not one who would normally recommend the political wisdom of Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster, but his assessment of the meaning of Tuesday's election results is the best I've seen thus far. It is here.

Luntz insists, wisely I think, that the election was not an Obama referendum, nor was it an expression of strong belief in Republican core policies: "The current narrative, that this election was a rejection of President Obama, misses the mark. So does the idea that it was a mandate for an extreme conservative agenda. According to a survey my firm fielded on election night ... it was more important that a candidate 'shake up and change the way Washington operates.'"

The major reason for the vote result? "Our election night survey showed that 42 percent chose their Senate candidate because they hated the opponent more. One pre-election poll had over 70 percent willing to throw everyone out and start fresh."

Luntz says the electorate didn't want people who would do more, but representatives who would be more efficient in governing, who would listen to the concerns of the voters and respond to those concerns. The people, Luntz insists, are tired of petty political infighting. Sick to death of it.

I can't disagree with any of that. The problem is that we have elected people who reject the American Dream, which centers on a healthy middle class. These are representatives whose primary values center on excesses of money and who pander to voting blocks with "Christian values" because those one- or two-issue voters (abortion, guns, homophobia, immigration and the like), when combined, create a large base. It is an odd and often uncomfortable alliance in much the same way that racist Southern rednecks and national Democrats were united before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

I'm not sure how this group will govern, especially with Obama's veto looming over its every attempt, but I see very little good coming from it. You can count on little or no progress in:
  • controlling guns; 
  • improvement in women's health issues and women's rights; 
  • establishment of gay rights;
  • raising a minimum wage that is far, far out of date;
  • reaching agreement on immigration;
  • creating more onerous voting laws;
  • recognition of looming environmental disaster in a number of areas;
  • speeding up of declining food safety (including the banning of GMOs);
  • penalties for large companies moving headquarters to island nations in order to avoid U.S. taxes;
  • improvement in election financing laws;
  • gerrymandering, which has led to Republican House majorities.
Those are simply a few of the areas where the new Congress will be out of touch with the American people. The previous Congress, one of the most despised in modern history, has been replaced now. But has it been replaced with a group that will be an improvement? The simple answer is "no." Maybe the 70 percent that wanted to start over was right.



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