Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2013 election and implications

So the 2013 election has just ended. The most important part was undoubtedly the governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia. Solid Republican Chris Christie led a gigantic victory in a deeply Democratic State. His campaign speech talked about showing how he can make sides work together. I find him undoubtedly the leader of the Republican Party's center wing, and the entire party. The other three wings are the Libertarians who are led by Rand Paul or Justin Amash who is the leader of their caucus, the Tea Party which is led by Marco Rubio, and the Far-right Christian Republicans is probably Bobby Jindal of Louisiana given his extreme social views, leader of the Republican Governors Association, and rising status in the party, but they have been less prominent since the rise of the Tea Party. Of these five people, the only candidate who has potential of winning over the hearts and minds of centrist voters is Chris Christie. The Libertarians are seen as outsiders as a bunch of crazy conspiracy theorists, the Tea Party is seen as anti-government, and the Far-Right Evangelicals are unable to appease to anyone outside their small group. In Congress John Boehner routinely gives his power to the Tea Party's wishes, so he is not an effective leader, and Mitch McConnell is not someone who routinely speaks out on issues on national TV and when he does is seen as extremely arrogant with his comment on making President Obama a one term President his number one goal. In short, no one comes close to Chris Christie in his leadership of the Republican Party today. He brilliantly toured New Jersey with Governor (R) Susana Martinez of New Mexico, a brilliant move to reach out to Hispanics which is exactly what the Republican Party needs to stay relevant in the future as America becomes a majority-minority nation and will help keep Texas Red in the future. This will make far-right conservatives angry but keep it relevant for the other 80-90% of Americans who don't see Hispanic immigration as a threat. His speeches yesterday and today are a very clear election pitch, and he will be the Republican nominee in two years. He is a coalition builder like Ronald Reagan was with the libertarians and Far-Right Christians which will keep the Republicans from splitting and becoming irrelevant, only centrist and not extremist while Reagan was divisive and Christie is becoming a potentially unifying figure. He will bring them back to the center. Tonight's election is an important shift in history. If he had lost today the Republicans would be completely leaderless but for the next three years at least Chris Christie will be the face and voice of the Republicans.
The Virginia Race has several very important lessons for the nation. The first is the rising face of the Libertarians as a political force taking over 6% of the vote. The Libertarians in this election stole from the Democrats as we can clearly see by comparing the numbers for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Virginia is a swing state and showing a 55.5% vote for a Democrat in a statewide election shows how it is still a swing state as it has been since the 1970s (where it has gone between Democrats and Republicans 5 times now) given how the last governor was a Republican. The Republicans need Virginia to win, and have won Virginia every time they have won since 1924. Virginia also has two Democrats in Congress. It is too early to say how Virginia will vote in the next Presidential election, but it is extremely important because there is no way a Republican can win the Presidency without Virginia, it hasn't happened for 89 years. There are only three true swing states in America that voted for the winner for the past four elections and the margin of victory in the last election was under 5% and they are Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. Even if Chris Christie takes all three of these three states in the next election the Democrats will have 272 electoral college votes unless if he takes at least one more state. This is going to be a large challenge for Christie.

The Democrats are going to need a candidate that can get their base to turn out in 2016 and capture the votes of people who don't usually vote and convince people that she is better than Chris Christie. Many people think Clinton will do that, but Clinton will not get the votes of people who lean close to center and no votes of people who lean slightly right, and she will be unable to get a lot of left leaning votes because she is very similar to Chris Christie's views in many ways, neither has a record of supporting gay marriage (Bill signed DOMA and Hillary is very similar to Bill in her views), and Chris Christie probably has the upper hand on economics. I actually might vote for Chris Christie over Hillary Clinton if she becomes the Democratic nominee given their similarities. I trust Christie more than Clinton. However, if the Democrats were to run Elizabeth Warren I would vote for her given her advocacy of consumer protection and Warren has the potential to defeat Christie heads down because when she gets on the stage with Christie in 2016 it is going to be a very interesting debate that will move America to the left. Looking at Christie's funding he got the majority of his money through public funds and has no incentive serve anyone but the people and it will be extremely interesting to see if he will be able to see how he will do on the national scale on campaign finance in comparison to the Democratic nominee and where his positions will be on more national problems over the next few years. I am certain he will be the Republican nominee, and he has real potential to win the Presidential election in 2016 if he stays true to his values. I have little doubt he will beat Clinton in 2016 since he will get most centrists, and neither candidate is getting over 50% when the two are matched up.

This doesn't mean he is a Keynesian though. His education policies are definitely right wing. The election will be very dependent on whether Christie keeps his more moderate positions or moves right like Romney and who the Democratic nominee is and how shall presents herself. The Democrats can use this to their advantage.

I am Progressive, and I actually have some respect for Chris Christie, in fact he is the only Republican politician that I have any respect for today. It is going to be a very interesting next three years. The Republican Party is about to irreversibly change significantly under Christie's leadership. The Tea Party will soon join the Know-Nothings in the history books. Christie (if elected) will become as important to the future Republican Party as President Franklin Roosevelt is to the Democratic Party today in how he redefined his party, there really is no other historical comparison to what Christie is becoming. I must say I like how the Republicans will become closer to center and we will be able to get real progress done.

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