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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Hapless Democrat surfers troll for electoral waves in flat political seas

It’s always a curious thing when observing (at the beach) a gaggle of surfers paddling steadily on their boards far from shore on what looks to be a perfectly calm, wave-less day out on the water. It only makes sense the surf fanatics must be waiting for something – anything – to come along and rescue them from their smooth ocean dilemma.

After the recent congressional special elections (in Kansas, Montana, Georgia and South Carolina) Democrats probably now appreciate exactly how those bored surfers must feel; they’re trolling for an electoral wave that Surfersjust doesn’t seem to be materializing. Unlike the surfers, however, liberals across the country aren’t even able to enjoy a nice relaxing float among the gentle breakers as a consolation prize.

Instead, all they’re getting is loss after loss in supposedly (at least to them) winnable contests and the frustration of realizing all their pontificating about President Donald Trump’s negative drag on the future prospects of the GOP isn’t coming true – not by a longshot.

David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner reported on how the Republicans pulled it off on Tuesday in Georgia’s Sixth District. “Voters in the traditionally conservative seat had resisted President Trump and were slow to embrace Republican nominee Karen Handel in the special election to replace Tom Price, now Health and Human Services secretary.

“But Congressional Leadership Fund rediscovered a familiar antidote to Trump's drag and Handel's standoffishness in its internal polling: Pelosi, the House minority leader from California, who would once again become speaker in a Democratic takeover.

“If Republicans could make Democrat Jon Ossoff synonymous with Pelosi liberalism, uninterested GOP voters who might otherwise skip an irregular congressional election would be motivated to show up. It worked.”

In essence, Drucker suggested the magic victory formula was merely a grand GOP sell-job that worked like a clock and propelled Congresswoman-elect Handel to a surprisingly large four point victory in a race that was billed as a certain squeaker. Does that mean Ossoff would have won but for a few smart consultants somewhere deciding to make the election a referendum on Minority Leader Pelosi?

I don’t have access to the data, but I still doubt it would work that way. If ordinary citizens (voters) are so gullibly susceptible to a sophisticated political sales pitch then the candidate with the biggest war chest (and most advertisements) will win almost every time. That surely wasn’t the case in the Peach State as Democrat Ossoff, with the help of a host of Hollywood liberals, outspent Handel by nearly 7-to-1.

Yet Handel is heading to Washington and Ossoff is going to…who knows where…maybe California?

Drucker’s article also details the data apparatus used to target potentially wavering Republican voters in the district and it was very impressive, but the Democrats likely had similar tools at their disposal. There’s no getting around it – the Democrats sought to steal all of this year’s special elections but they wanted this one really badly, not only to increase their numbers in the House but also to land a symbolic blow to the prestige of President Trump.

Not unlike Linus (of Peanuts fame) waiting in vain for the Great Pumpkin to rise up on Halloween night or those hopelessly optimistic surfers anticipating the coming of an improbable wave, Democrats are hanging their hopes for an eventual Trump overthrow on a set of assumptions that just aren’t proving true.

Democrats are going on TV a lot and talking about polls and President Trump’s lack of popularity with the voters – and making grand doomsday predictions -- yet the GOP keeps winning and winning and winning.

Despite this, Republicans probably shouldn’t get cocky. The Editors of the Washington Examiner wrote, “A Republican Party that depends on the wealthy would dwindle toward extinction because Democrats have become the party of the elites. The public school system serves the elites well. The Left's culture war appeals to the college-aged and 20-something offspring of the elites. Big government is perfectly navigable, and even profitable, for those with connections to power.

“With the massive tightening in just two years of Georgia's 6th District, along with the other too-close races where Republicans have squeaked by so far this year, the GOP has received its wake-up call. Republicans will not face such record-setting campaign spending and national attention in many other races, but they need to figure out what works and what doesn't if they expect to continue as a governing party after November 2018.”

It’s true; the Republicans can’t count on winning everywhere simply by bashing poor wretched Nancy Pelosi and relying on traditional Republican voters to turnout in sufficient numbers to allow them to maintain their majorities in Congress. As Trump himself demonstrated last year, the message is what counts and nationalizing the agenda will be of paramount importance for the party.

But it will all turn out to be smoke and mirrors if the Republicans won’t summons the gumption to get things done in Congress, most urgently to finalize some sort of action on ditching Obamacare, pass tax reform and work towards the other major elements of Trump’s agenda.

That’s what Americans voted for last November and frankly, folks’ patience is wearing thin.

Seeing as they’re Democrats, liberals will likely continue leaning on their flimsy Russia crutch and they’ll hoot and holler a lot about “obstruction of justice,” but in the end, the Republicans’ fortunes will rise or fall according to their ability to pass high-profile legislation that will make a difference in not only the greater American economy, it will also be felt at home.

Accomplishing some measure of conservative poverty relief would help. Jason Riley profiled HUD Secretary Ben Carson in the Wall Street Journal, “Media portrayals notwithstanding, Secretary Carson told me he is not opposed to government assistance and safety nets. ‘We have an obligation to take care of people who can’t care for themselves—the elderly, the disabled, the mentally ill—and certainly at HUD we’re going to take care of those people.’ A case in point, he added, is dealing more effectively with the homeless population...

“Over and again, Dr. Carson reiterated his belief that the best way to help people is to help them do for themselves. He envisions an agency that’s much more focused on enhancing human capital. The objective isn’t to make people on government assistance as comfortable as possible. The objective is fewer people on government assistance. It’s an approach that may not be outside the box, but it’s certainly outside the Beltway.”

Outside the Beltway thinking is exactly how congressional Republicans must approach the upcoming legislative battles. If the establishment prevails in slowing down or stopping the type of improvements Americans voted for in the last election, the GOP will need to worry about more than just potentially losing a special election in a red-leaning district somewhere.

After eight years of the disastrous Obama administration it’s not enough for Republicans to simply put the brakes on the growth of government; something must be done to get the train rolling in the other direction. Quite a number of good things have already happened this year and President Trump definitely deserves and “A” for effort.

But more is needed, especially from Congress.

In the end, I don’t know what’s more satisfying, the fact President Trump-supporting Republicans prevailed in races they should have won or Democrats lost in contests they tried so hard to steal. In their futility Democrats remind me of an impulsive sports team owner who dumps tens of millions into big-ticket free agents but still gets beaten badly by small market competitors with value-based spending plans and a great scouting system.

Money certainly helps in politics -- but it ain’t everything. The people casting the ballots still need a reason to get themselves to the polls and vote for their candidate of choice. Perhaps Republicans have been fortunate thus far, but if they don’t capitalize legislatively on their election successes the luck will ultimately run out.

And maybe the Democrat surfers’ wave would come in after all.

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"Democrats'" tactics and Republican Turnout

I think the best motivator for Republicans and conservatives to get out and vote is the obstructive/destructive tactics of the "Democrats."