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Conservatives, Take Heart: America Rejects Obama's Leftward Lurch and Democratic Politics of Race and Gender Division

Obama the Emperor Has No Clothes
American voters did much more than hand the Republicans control of the U.S. Senate and a stronger grip on the U.S. House in Tuesday’s midterm elections. They decisively rejected the six-year record of the Obama Administration, the Democratic party’s politics of division, and the governance of liberal Democrats not only in red states, but in the bluest of the blue, including Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

It wasn’t so much a wave as a wipeout, damaging liberal ideas and Democratic party standing in places where Democrats had felt secure. Conservative ideas and policies that were under furious assault from the Democrats in places like Wisconsin, Kansas, Florida were vindicated in victories by Republican Governors Scott Walker, Sam Brownback and Rick Scott. Conservative policies–cutting state income taxes, taking on the entrenched public employee unions and their golden pension plans, limiting teacher tenure–prevailed against the best-funded assault the Democrats and their union and minority allies could muster.

It was a disastrous night not only for President Obama, who has put his party in its worst shape in Congress and state houses in generations, but for Harry Reid, who must hand over the Senate Majority Leaders office to Kentucky’s Sen. Mitch McConnell, thus bulldozing the major roadblock that had stalled Congressional passage of GOP legislation. With a solid Republican majority in the Senate and an enlarged GOP majority in the house (possibly the biggest since 1947), Republicans will be able to present Obama with pro-growth economic policies, a national energy policy that assures American energy security, tax reform and other important pro-America legislation.

In short, if Washington gridlock is to continue, it will be entirely a product of Barack Obama’s ideological intransigence, and that will be what the Democrats will bring to the American people as their legacy in 2016.

The midterm election outcome shattered some important assumptions about the political landscape that will face the voters in the next presidential election. Obama was a drag on Democrats on Tuesday, and his record of governance likely will remain a millstone around the necks of the Democrats in 2016. Obama had no coattails in this election. Most Democrats up in 2014 treated the president as if he had Ebola, and the few that embraced him now probably wish they hadn’t. Obama campaigned in his home state for the Democratic governor of illinois, who lost to a Republican businessman. Ditto in Maryland, where Democratic assumptions of an easy win for a black liberal lieutenant governor turned into the unlikely nightmare of losing, by a wide margin, to GOP businessman Larry Hogan.

Here are some other key takeaways of this election:

Hillary is not inevitable:
The Clintons have no coattails either. Turns out Bill and Hillary should have been quarantined also, as their campaigning in North Carolina, Arkansas, Maryland and Iowa proved. In their home state of Arkansas, their efforts to save Democratic Sen. Pryor ended in a humiliating, 18-point loss. Ditto in Iowa, where Republican Joni Ernst ran away with an easy win in what was supposed to be a nail-biter over that fellow with the name that First Lady Michelle Obama could not get straight. Bailey, Braley, something like that.

What we’ve learned about Hillary Clinton in her early run for the Democratic presidential nomination is that she is not a very good candidate. She tends to blurt out things that make people wonder about her, from her complaints about not being rich enough to her bizarre assertion that corporations and businesses don’t create jobs. Bill wouldn’t say such stupid stuff, but he can’t seem to prevent his wife from doing it. Now that the Democratic party is waking up in a foul mood amid the wreckage of Tuesday night, it seems less likely that the party is going to rally happily around Hillary for a 2016 coronation. Discontent in the party makes it more likely that Clinton will face a challenge in the primaries, probably from the left. She seemed inevitable in 2008, and lost. It could happen again.

The tired Democratic Party politics of division no longer works.
Americans want solutions to real problems, not race-baiting and identity politics and the phony “war on women.” Colorado was supposed to be a blue state but incumbent Democrat Mark “Uterus” Udall turned it red with a campaign that assumed the only issue women care about is abortion. It was crude and ineffective, and it will make other Democrats think twice about elevating bedroom issues over bread-and-butter matters like jobs, taxes, energy and security.

Likewise with race-baiting, from trying to capitalize on a tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri, to motivate black turnout, to Sen. Mary Landrieu’s lame attempt to portray Louisiana voters as racist and sexist, as a way to explain why her campaign was faltering. She’ll get a shot at a runoff in December, but her odds aren’t good, and it’s unlikely she’ll try playing the race card again.

Conservative ideas and policies can win.
Republicans do not have to be afraid to present their ideas boldly. Scott Walker and Sam Brownback won after implementing ideas the Democrats tried to label as extreme or radical. Cutting taxes, reducing government, challening the power of public employee unions, breaking the teacher’s union stranglehold on public schools–these are ideas American voters will embrace if they are explained well and implemented soundly. In 2016, Republican candidates for the presidential nomination need to bring new ideas and strong conservative values to an electorate tired of old interest-group politics, overweening government, high taxes and incompetent administration. With their enlarged ranks of effective and attractive state governors, the GOP has the men and woman who can present that case.

Presidential elections, it’s true, are tougher to win for the Republicans than for Democrats. But this midterm election upset a lot of the assumptions about 2016 and demonstrated a resilience and energy among conservatives that should position the GOP for a battle for the White House that looks much more competitive than the Democrats thought only a few days ago. The Obama presidency is beginning to fade away like a bad dream, and the future beckons the bold, the brave and the believers on the side of conservative, pro-America government.

James P. Gannon is a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal and retired as Editor of the influential Des Moines Register. This article first appeared in Friends of Liberty here.

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