The Second of November

With Tea Parties and Republican opposition continuing to mount and President Barack Obama’s approval rating hovering near 50 percent, the United States are preparing for a “summer of discontent” that in all likelihood will culminate in a series of crushing defeats for the ruling party in November.

The fight for the midterm elections is not confined to traditional battleground districts and states, reports The New York Times. In the Senate, Democrats are struggling to hold on to seats once held by President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Thirty-six Senate seats are up for grabs and current polling has the Republicans increase their numbers with eight, granting neither party an outright majority in the upper chamber of Congress.

Democrats are preparing to lose as many as thirty seats in the House, including a wave of first term members. Republicans are able to expand their sights to places where political challenges seldom develop. Driving their surge in popularity is general incumbent weariness — typical of midterm elections but all the more pronounced this year because of the perceived radicalism born out of the Democrats’ lock on power.

Desperate to prevent a forceful rejection of Democratic policy, President Obama appealed to those who supported him in 2008 in a YouTube video released last week. “I need your help once more,” he told volunteers and first-time voters, “then together we will deliver on the promise of change, and hope, and prosperity for generations to come.”

The president specifically mentioned young people, African Americans, Hispanics and women, presuming, evidently, that a Democratic victory can be achieved with a coalition of minority groups and people previously unengaged in politics. “It will be up to each of you to keep our nation moving forward,” he said.

Republicans — specifically, the Republican Governors Association — are betting on anxiety, not optimism, launching a little gunpowder plot of their own with the Remember November campaign. So far, their website only spots a dramatic video that portrays Democratic leaders, including the president, as liars and socialists who have set out to “end the American Dream.”

The conservative blog RedState unsurprisingly reveled in the imagery while The Huffington Post suggested that it might inspire domestic terrorism. According to Sam Stein, “the video reflects a willingness of Republicans to push the line when it comes to tapping into the anti-government populism sweeping the country.” The ad threatens, he believes, “that under Obama, the apocalypse may very well be closer than ever before.”

Commentators on the left have repeatedly ridiculed what they lambast as “end of the world” rhetoric coming from the opposition. Even the president himself joked that although health care reform was passed, the Rapture did not occur.

Some of the signs and slogans carried and shouted by demonstrators are quite obviously over the top but they should not discredit the legitimate concerns shared by many Americans over excessive government spending and evermore pervasive government regulation. This administration honestly believes that more interference from Washington will improve people’s lives and livelihoods. A recent video contest from the Environmental Protection Agency for instance boasts that “almost every aspect of our lives is touched by federal regulations” as though it were a blessing. Bizarrely, the agency calls upon youngsters from all over the nation to submit videos in which they rejoice in the massive expansion of government as witnessed under the Obama Administration.

In spite of such hubris on the flanks, the president’s spring offensive has already ground to a halt in partisan deadlock. Predictions about the cost of “Obamacare” become more grim with every new study that is released which leaves Republicans highly skeptical of financial reform as it is proposed by Senator Christopher Dodd and utterly unwilling to contemplate immigration reform at this junction.

Electorally, blocking Democratic initiatives makes sense for the Republicans because that way, they can insist that the left is intransigent and pushing a progressive agenda of unprecedented gravity.

The Democrats respond by claiming that Republican opposition to reform is insincere. The president has repeatedly described Republican lawmakers as the “allies” of big business and “special interests” in an attempt to discredit any legitimate enmity voiced against his administration. But that message doesn’t rhyme well with his lukewarm reiteration of “hope and change.” Partisan bickering is not what people have come to expect from a president who promised to transcend the trenches of Washington and deliver a future of shared prosperity and expectation. Republicans are much better at instilling fear in the populace and fear will decide these elections.