There’s a rather excited headline in today’s NY Times:
You can just hear the huzzahs all over liberal households in America: “Republicans are vanishing. The Dems are getting stronger.” Well, maybe.
There’s something interesting, though, in the very first paragraph of that same story (emphasis mine):
For more than three years starting in 2005, there has been a reduction in the number of voters who register with the Republican Party and a rise among voters who affiliate with Democrats and, almost as often, with no party at all.
I’m one of those “no party at all” people. Because of the way in which information about me is available to everyone on the internet, not to mention the fact that the post office sometimes delivers my mail to my neighbors and vice versa, when I decided to abandon the Democratic party, I didn’t necessarily want to telegraph that move to everyone and his uncle. I also enjoyed the feeling of becoming unfettered from one party, and didn’t necessarily feel like becoming immediately leg-shackled to another one. I therefore registered as an Independent. I felt (and still feel) free. I periodically mean to re-register as a Republican because of the primaries, but just can’t make myself do so. I like not being locked into a party.
Given the libertarian instincts that characterize many conservatives, as well as their fear in Blue neighborhoods of being investigated by their neighbors, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m not the only conservative out there who is doing an “Independent” or “decline to state” registration. Certainly the fact that there were a lot more Republican votes in Marin last election than there were Republican voters hints at the fact that those who have opted for apparent neutrality are, in fact, conservative. Or perhaps, they are genuinely neutral and, when they analyze the facts available during any given election cycle, the Republican position strikes them as more rational and vote-worthy.
I’m not denying the fact that the Republican brand is in deep doo-doo. Republicans have been wasteful with taxpayer resources, and extraordinarily cowardly when it came to advancing conservative principles. These are the kind of political failures that will turn aside both fair weather friends and, worse, deeply committed party members.
Nevertheless, I continue to wonder whether the voter rolls and the manifest disdain voters feel for Republicans will have as huge an impact in November as the MSM keeps saying it will. We’ve seen before that the MSM is as optimistic about potential Democratic victories as I am being here about potential Republican voters. In other words, the MSM analysis may be right, but only up to a point. It leaves out, for example, the fact that, while Americans may have soured on Republicans, they are even more soured on the Democratic Congress — which has hit popularity lows only the most reviled kid in high school can imagine.
I’m not a betting woman, but I would be willing to bet that this coming election will be more of the same: neither the massive victory the Democrats hope, nor the horrible rout Republicans fear. Instead, we’ll just putter on with a slight Democratic majority in Congress and, God willing, a Republican in the White House.
UPDATE: Here’s some concrete evidence that voters may succumb to a plague on both your houses approach to the elections, which simply to my mind means more of the status quo.