Posts Tagged ‘Special Election’

It may not mean much since the Democratic vote was divided by two candidates, and it is offset by the loss in the Pennsylvania special election, but it must rankle Obama that the GOP won his childhood congressional seat after 20 years of Democratic control. We will see this November whether this is a trend or anomaly:

Djou won with close to 40 percent of the vote in the mail-in special election, beating Democrats Colleen Hanabusa, with 31 percent, and Ed Case, 28 percent. …The applause from Djou’s victory party could be heard six time zones away in Washington, D.C., where national party leaders trumpeted a victory on President Barack Obama’s home turf. “I congratulate Charles Djou for his victory and a successful campaign based on the widely shared values of cutting spending, shrinking government and creating real, permanent American jobs,” said U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, chairman of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.

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All I can say is that I wish I had done this.

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While there is always a tendency in Washington to over-analyze the meaning of elections, I think that we can draw the following conclustions from Scott Brown’s victory:

1. Obamacare is an albatross for the Democrats. The White House wants to blame Coakley for being a bad candidate, but Massachusetts is a very left-wing state. Every single member of its congressional delegation is a Democrat. It went for Obama by 26 percentage points. It has sent reflexive statists like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry to the Senate for decades. Yes, Scott Brown was a good candidate, but good GOP candidates normally lose 60-40 in the Bay State. It’s hard to draw any conclusion other than the fact that voters were registering disapproval with what is happening in Washington, and healthcare was at the top of their list.

2. Democrats should ram through government-run healthcare. I hope they don’t, of course, but smart Democrats understand that Obamacare is not (and never has been) about health care, but rather about creating more dependency on government. Yes, Democrats will lose more seats in November if they move forward, but they presumably will strengthen their long-term political status by making more people rely on politicians.

3. Obama is not a centrist. A few people were under the illusion that Barack Obama was something other than a doctrinaire statist. This always struck me as absurd, since a quick look at the NTU vote ratings reveals that he received an “F” every single year and generally was graded as being worse than even Ted Kennedy. I suppose the charitable interpretation of why people got snookered is that Obama’s rhetoric during the presidential election was very bland and he projects a thoughtful demeanor. But so what? Obama and his strategists knew the Republicans had spent their way into a ditch and that voters wanted a change. Obama simply had to appear semi-reasonable to win, and that’s exactly what he did. Ever since he took office, though, he has pushed to make government bigger and more oppressive. Voters don’t like that. They rejected Republicans for being for big government. Now they’re rejecting Democrats for the same reason.

4. The GOP succeeds when it presents a conservative alternative. Scott Brown is presumably not another Jim DeMint, but his campaign rhetoric was very conservative by Massachusetts standards: For lower taxes, against government-run healthcare, for less spending. That message has worked very well for the GOP when it is a national theme, as it was in 1980 and 1994. When Republicans try to be “compassionate” (with other people’s money, of course), by contrast, they get debacles like what happened in 1992, 2006 and 2008. This doesn’t mean Republicans will always win by being conservative and it doesn’t mean squishy Republicans never win, but it does mean that the GOP’s long-term success is tied to whether taxpayers perceive Republicans as protecting America from big government. I’m not sure the national GOP really understands this, but they’re at least pretending to be for small government again. That’s a start.

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I must confess that I didn’t think Scott Brown was going to win the election in Massachusetts, even though I predicted a 50-48 GOP victory. This is a monumental development. It doesn’t necessarily mean Obamacare can be stopped. And it may be that Brown turns out to be a big government squish, like Snowe in Maine. But his election does show that the American people do not want Obama’s statist agenda. The interesting thing to watch now is whether Democrats flee Obama’s sinking ship and scuttle the statist healthcare scheme. Here’s an AP report on Brown’s upset:

In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to defeat Democrat Martha Coakley in a U.S. Senate election Tuesday that left President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul in doubt and marred the end of his first year in office. The loss by the once-favored Coakley for the seat that the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy held for nearly half a century signaled big political problems for the president’s party this fall when House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates are on the ballot nationwide. More immediately, Brown will become the 41st Republican in the 100-member Senate, which could allow the GOP to block the president’s health care legislation and the rest of Obama’s agenda. Democrats needed Coakley to win for a 60th vote to thwart Republican filibusters.

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Regular readers of this blog already know that markets are not always right. Our message is the more limited argument that markets simply do the best job of creating wealth and maximizing liberty (especially compared to government!).

So with this caveat in mind, the market prediction at intrade this morning says that Scott Brown has a 75.0 percent chance of winning today’s Senate race in Massachusetts and Martha Coakley has a 26.5 percent chance (yes, I realize that those numbers add up to more than 100 percent, but these numbers are the result of independent bets on the likelihood of either candidate winning).

A Brown victory does not guarantee that Obama’s government-run healthcare scheme will be defeated. As a matter of fact, it’s likely that something awful will get enacted regardless of what happens in Massachusetts. But the chances of stopping this fiscal and health nightmare will be much greater if Democratic Senators and Representatives become more scared that voters will throw them out in November.

For what it’s worth, I’m predicting Brown, 51-48.

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Everyone in Washington is fixated on the special election in Massachusetts next Tuesday to replace Ted Kennedy. Some polls now show the Republican, Scott Brown, in the lead, which is a shocking result even if Martha Coakley eventually wins. A GOP victory doubtlessly would make Democrats very nervous about ramming through government-run health care, so Republicans are celebrating new polling data showing Brown in the lead.

But if you want to know who is going to win (or at least have a very informed opinion), don’t pay attention to polls. Instead, check out the Intrade betting market, which predicts winners based on people putting real money at risk. Intrade does show a large shift away from Coakley in the last week, but it’s still a very close battle.

Here’s some more interesting Intrade data showing the betting on the 2008 presidential election. It shows that McCain actually took the lead right after the GOP convention, boosted perhaps by the Palin selection. But when McCain rushed to Washington to support the bailout – and made a public spectacle of screwing over taxpayers – his numbers fell through the floor and never recovered.

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