When the Tea Party flipped numerous “moderate” republican seats in the 2010 primary elections, America took an even harder turn to the right than it was already suffering under when ignorant, anti-government candidates made it through the fait accompli general election in November to become the largest freshman class in more than 60 years.
These electoral victories were attributed to the deep-pockets of radical billionaires, but the pointless cries of “astroturfing” missed the most important lesson. Regardless of who foots the bill, changing this country in drastic, fundamental ways in the course of a single election cycle is totally doable with a modicum of strategic thinking.
Look at your local congressional district and provide some intelligence in the comments below.
- Do you live in a red or blue district?
- How long has the incumbent been in office?
- What was the margin of victory over their general election challenger in the last election?
- Was there at least one challenger in the primary who might have been a better choice in November?
I recently moved to Portland and registered as an independent only to find it was a closed primary. That left me with very few choices on May 20.
I live in a true blue district and incumbent Congressman Earl Blumenauer, first elected in 1996, won unopposed in his primary as did republican James Buchal, a chronic complainer with no solutions. Portland is pretty awesome, so I am happy to support incumbents who remain true to their pledges of public service.
In the senate races, incumbent Jeff Merkley won 96% of the vote. The republican who won. Monica Wehby, is straight-up crazy and offers very little to the debate. There were a handful of republicans running as well, but none who veered from the script of hyper-partisanship being pushed by the national party.
The problem as I see it is radicalization of the republican party leading to deepening divides among the electorate. We aren’t having the right conversations because the wrong voices are making it to the show. An influx of Eisenhower republicans rejoining the party and voting in primaries could change that paradigm overnight.