In politics, change is inevitable. Change for the better certainly happened for Republicans in the wake of Watergate. Look at the last decades of voter registration in Colorado.
Democrats enjoyed a banner year in 1974, winning the State House, governorship and their second US Senate seat from Colorado. They had better than an 8% registration advantage that year. While Romer and Hart hung on in subsequent elections, they had few companions. Change.
Republicans got spoiled by their strong registration advantage for the decade 1996 – 2006, paying inadequate attention to middle voters. Republican registration weakened after Democrats changed campaign finance rules and made unions the top dogs among political donors.
Across these twenty elections Republicans won, when they did, for a simple reason, OUR MESSAGE.
Those three were a Bill Owens mantra and won him two elections.
Were there special messages for some key, small groups? Sure. But those always played second fiddle to the main message of taking care of the economy, education and basic government services.
Today’s Democrats reversed that message balance. Forget our limping economy and controlling taxes. Obama’s first economic advisor, Christina Romer, proved – in her college professor days – that tax hikes harm the economy. But Colorado’s Democrats don’t care. And especially they don’t care about growing our economy.
The Democratic list is mostly special interest paybacks to major donors. David Sirota lists eight Democrat initiatives he’s proud of. Millionaire Democratic contributors pushed two of them. The only listed issue that specifically deals with the economy would actually lower job creation (in energy development)! It’s payback for environmental groups whose cash fueled the Democrats’ campaigns.
This cramped, left-leaning agenda shows in the registration numbers. Instead of ongoing enthusiasm, marked by proudly growing Democratic ranks, the Democrats’ registration share has actually declined since 2008. No realignment there.
That Republicans matched that decline should bring us no joy, but – if elected Republicans would champion anew issues that broadly resonated with voters – we certainly have an opening for regaining the lead. That’s change worth working for.