At the national level, the Republicans are wandering around shell-shocked in the wilderness, while the Democrats are lookinâ€™ fly and rollinâ€™ phat.
Many Republicans, who dare to look at the future, see a glimmer of hope in 2010. They know that, historically speaking, the mid-term elections usually result in electoral advances for the party that is out of power â€“ if ever a party was out of power, it is certainly todayâ€™s Republican Party. Between 1946 and 1996, the president’s party suffered an average loss of about 24 seats in midterm elections, according to the book The American Congress, by Steven S. Smith, Jason M. Roberts, and Ryan J. Vander Wielen. The authors went on to state that the only time this does not happen is when the presidentâ€™s approval rating is very high.
President Obamaâ€™s approval rating is still high, but so are the peopleâ€™s expectations for his presidency. If, in two years, the economy has not recovered dramatically, unemployment is high, or the voters generally feel that their desires have not been fulfilled; they maybe inclined to make it a good year for Republicans. Two years is a long time in politics.
What the Republicans need are a few good candidates, and campaign organizations. Perhaps there will be some past successes from which they could glean ideas.
Let us now go back in time from 2010 to 2009 (that would be now), and narrow our focus from the nation to Tucson (that would be here). We may have here today a microcosm of the national scene in 2010.
While the big change on the national scene was the last election in which Democrat Barack Obama won the presidency, and Democrats strengthened their hold on Congress. The big change here occurred in 2005, when Democrats Nina Trasoff and Karin Uhlich succeeded Republicans Fred Ronstadt and Kathleen Dunbar. This put Tucson firmly under Democrat control. The newly elected Democrats were to transform Tucson into a happy, crime-free, traffic-jam free, neighborly city with a vibrant downtown in which one could not swing a cat without hitting some kind of artist. The big plank in the platform was the elimination of the trash fee, originally instituted by those nasty Republicans.
The reality, of course, turned out much differently. People are not moving around town on greenways and bicycles; rather, the City Council has approved plans by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) to make roads bigger and better for *gasp* automobiles. The Rio Nuevo project, that was to â€œrevitalizeâ€ downtown Tucson, has been so poorly managed that there is little to show for the ten years, and 60 to 100 million or so dollars, apparently spent on design concepts and artistâ€™s renditions. I just checked my water bill and, and yep, the trash fee is still there. Then there is the goofy stuff like facilitating classes that teach kids how to spray graffiti. I could go on, but you get the idea.
So, Tucson really is the laboratory in which the Republicans can test ways to win against floundering Democrats. The old loser approaches should be abandoned. A focus on technology, particularly social networking, would help. More resources directed at grassroots efforts, with more autonomy at that level, would bring the campaigns into the 21st century. There is certainly enough disenchantment throughout the community that money should not be a problem.
The only major stumbling block is the party itself â€“ they are, as of this writing, three months behind already! I asked Bob Westerman, chairman of the Pima County Republicans, if they were on it. He said that they were actively recruiting. I hope so. This is an opportunity that ought not be missed.
If you have been griping about how you find the current council embarrassing, if you are aggravated by what you see as an anti-business climate in this town, now is your chance to step up to the plate. Imagine, being on the cutting edge, beating the majority party, being the example to which the big boys look for ideas and guidance, making historyâ€¦.any takers?