Muftic: The 2016 political battlefield is shifting
March 26, 2015
The battlefield has changed for the 2016 general election, but Republicans so far are fighting the last war of the 2014 midterms.
Better they take a look at the history of 2012, too, and consider the demographic changes taking place in the last four years. Senate seats up for grabs and electoral states needed to win the White House will tilt more to blue and purple states than in 2014.
The GOP will have a harder time in 2016 making jobs, growth and the economy a winning issue than in 2012 because the economy has improved and will improve even more by 2016.
The GOP will also have difficulty with a track record of the party of repeal without replace. Their strategy has been gridlock: to obstruct, threaten government shut-downs, and replace problem solving legislation with a bag empty of all but hot air. With both houses of Congress, the buck has stopped with them. They own the legislative agenda and strategy.
The GOP has no viable substitutes for Obamacare to help millions afford health insurance. They refuse to provide any solution to undocumented immigrant status other than to keep them in the shadows and send them back no matter how inhumane it is to break up families or unfair to dreamers.
Their critique of the president's foreign policy provides no alternatives other than more of the same he is already doing or to risk mission creep leading to a third Iraq war and interminable occupation.
Mitt Romney's disdain of the 47 percent in 2012 was a turnoff to swing voters that eventually determined the outcome. President Obama is daring the GOP to defeat "middle class economics" programs such as child care tax credits, free community college, and job creating infrastructure projects. A GOP vote against those antidotes to the middle class' declining standard of living, or opposing raising taxes on the very rich to pay for any programs directly benefitting the middle class, will only make any candidate look like a Romney in a different suit.
The voting pool resembles 2012 on steroids with more young women and Hispanics in the Democratic party camp. Even in 2012 demographics were major factors defeating the GOP in races for both the White House and in some crucial Senate seats. Assuming Hillary Clinton runs, expect the women's vote to be even stronger for her because of her gender.
Regardless of what the courts decide, a GOP anti- immigrant vote attempting to roll back the president's executive orders will do nothing but bring home to Hispanics the negative consequences of a GOP victory in 2016.
Polls show Hispanics already regard the GOP as hostile toward their interests, but the key is turnout. Hispanic turnout was below expectations in 2012 and 2014. One of the reasons for low turnout in the past was that Hispanics got tired of waiting for the president to take action on the status of immigrants and they had developed an attitude it was the president's fault for not pushing harder. The president's executive action and the GOP's attempt to kill it has gone far to change that perception.
For sources and polls visit http://www.mufticforumblog.blogspot.com.
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