In case GOP gurus haven't noticed yet, the key to the Democratic Party's win Tuesday was their shift to the Center...there was no upsurge in voter acceptance of Liberalism across the Country. The Democrats that picked up Republican seats were atleast moderately Conservative on social issues: abortion, guns, taxes, immigration, affirmative action, gay marriage and eminent domain.
But why were voters so eager to replace a Republican with a Democrat in a clear rebuke of the Republican Party?
First, the GOP disregarded the growing Independent and Moderate block. Rove and Mehlman insisted to the end that "the Center" was too few in numbers to affect the outcome of any race and revving up the tried and true base was the way to victory. Up to ten days before the election, polls showed that 29% of voters were still up for grabs; and exit polls showed that 3 out of 5 of them decided on the Democrat. Half the Democratic House pickups were in the HEARTLAND. They got half of the surburban vote and took 48% of rural voters. Additionally, 27 of the 40 most competitive Democratic House candidates pledged to join the centrist New Democratic Caucus which opposes Liberal Democrats.
Secondly, the Republican base, social and fiscal conservatives alike, were profoundly dissatisfied with the performance of incumbents up for re-election and the Republican Congress as a whole. In particular, their failure to adhere to the ideological principles of the Conservative base; namely, limited government & spending, plus the lack of oversight that sadly led to rampant and embarrassing corruption, extinguished their enthusiasm. The impression that R-Congress had succumbed to the obsession of maintaining Power and devouring Money for their personal enrichment, neutralized Rove and Mehlman's efforts to motivate the base to reinstate the disappointing Republican Party Majority.
Democrats won in districts and States that have been reliably Republican Red. The location of this year's winners not only validates Democrats' 50 State Strategy but finishes the notion that elections are won by BASE voters alone. Democrats will be competitive in ALL States from now on..if the GOP ignores the expansion of the Centrist Constituency they will remain a minority Party in 2008 and beyond.