People often ask us how Democrats will do in the 2006 mid-term elections, and, here in Oklahoma, whether Democrats can hold the Senate and/or make any inroads toward regaining the majority in the House of Representatives. I’ll talk more about that later, but one thing is obvious in 2006: the Democratic Party is poised for a very successful November if we fight hard and work smarter. And nationalize local elections.
Nationalizing local elections means making this year's local elections about the failed Presidency of George W. Bush and the abysmal record of the Republican-led Congress. Make these elections, from the courthouse lawn to the halls of Congress, about the dismal leadership of Republicans.
This President has been a disaster. Already historians are writing that he is likely to be considered the WORST PRESIDENT EVER. His approval ratings are at historic lows, getting into Nixon territory at low-30’s to high-20’s. Based on current Survey USA approval ratings, President Bush is at 50% approval or better in just three (3) states: Idaho (52%), Utah (51%), and Wyoming (50%). In terms of electoral votes, if an election were held today, based on these approval ratings, out of 538 possible electoral votes, President Bush would receive 12. Twelve votes.
Oklahoma gives Bush his 4th highest approval rating: 48%. But, Oklahomans are beginning to come around. In the latest Survey USA 50-state summary, Bush’s disapproval rating in Oklahoma is 51%. And, look how high his disapproval is in states surrounding us. In Louisiana, 54%. In Bush’s home state of Texas 56% of the people disapprove of the way he is doing his job. In that bastion of hard-right conservatism just to the north of us, Kansas, 61% disapprove. And, it gets worse. Bush’s disapproval in New Mexico is 63%. In Arkansas 64%. In Colorado 64%. In Missouri 68%. Now, that’s disapproval.
But there’s more. Remember those key battleground states from the 2000 and 2004 elections – Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania? The people there have already seen enough.
Bush Disapproval in Key Battleground States
- Florida 61%
- Ohio 65%
- Pennsylvania 70%
Survey USA, 5/15/06
That’s a rejection of historic proportions. But, as bad as the numbers are for the job President Bush is doing (with good reason), the figures are worse for the Republican-controlled Congress. The disapproval rating for Congress is consistently in the 70’s. That’s worse than 1994, when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Overall, Republicans are suffering a meltdown of monumental proportions. That’s why the time is right to nationalize the elections. Now, is the time for Democrats to change the direction of our country and provide real, effective, responsible leadership.
When you are out campaigning this year, or talking to your friends and family, remind them how the rest of the country is saying NO to Republican leadership. And, how Oklahoma should, too.
Point out the utter disregard the right-wing Republicans have for our Constitution and the best interests of our country. Need some examples?
- The misguided war in Iraq.
- Failure to secure our borders.
- The monumental national deficit.
- Tax cuts that help the rich and punish the middle class.
- The destruction of vital international relationships.
- High gasoline prices and lack of a coherent national energy policy.
- Unwarranted, illegal spying on Americans.
- Disregard for Social Security and Medicare.
- The flop that is No Child Left Behind.
- Jack Abramoff.
Remind your friends and neighbors that a vote for a Republican at any level is a vote in favor of a philosophy of governing that is irresponsible, ineffective and corrupt. Remind them that the reckless, incompetent policies of the Bush Administration and Republican Congress is the kind of government you get from people who believe that our own government is the enemy. How can they call themselves leaders when they are dismantling the government and breaking the spirit of the people which have made America the greatest nation in the world?
But, I believe the red tide of radical Republicanism is turning. I urge each of you to help the Democratic Party define the terms of this election before the Republicans do it for us, on their terms. Make the elections of 2006 about rejecting the disastrous policies of the GOP (Greedy Old Party). Reach out to independents, moderate Republicans and disaffected Democrats and invite them to join the Oklahoma Democratic Party in saying YES to the progressive Democratic vision of governing that respects our rights, invests in people and builds community.
The far-right Republicans cannot be trusted to lead. The future of our state depends on us to unite and take bold action. We can take back our state and put it on the right course before it’s too late. But to do that, we must nationalize the 2006 local elections. The time to do that is now.