Pity the poor Republicans. Or don't!
Some Democrats are going to be very disheartened, after tonight, and even more after next Tuesday. Just a quick note: it could be worse!
As Politico's John Harris recently wrote:
As the New Year arrives at last in Iowa, the signs are everywhere why Democrats have much more reason than Republicans to welcome 2008.
Iowans are voting with their feet. While both parties have wide-open nomination contests, crowds for the Democratic candidates in recent days are unmistakably larger and more enthusiastic than those turning out for the GOP contenders.
Around the country, people are voting with their wallets. Early reports on the close of 2007 fundraising put a yearlong financial disparity between the parties on glaring display.
I hate that money is the key factor in so many political races, but if this is how the system is currently structured, it's better to have more than less. As long as I can remember, it's been a given that Republicans will have more, particularly in presidential elections. It now appears that they won't again come out on top for a very long time.
Beyond that, though, is the general mood. People are enthused for the Democratic candidates, and people don't want to be Republicans, anymore.
Since President Bush carried this state in 2004, Democrats have surged and for the first time in a dozen years there are now more registered Democrats (603,000) than Republicans (575,000, with 740,000 independents).
Iowa is a key swing state. Al Gore won it. John Kerry lost it. This year, whomever the Democrats nominate will almost certainly be the favorite to win Iowa. But this is bigger than that.
In yesterday's Los Angeles Times, Janet Hook and Michael Finnegan wrote:
The long-standing coalition of social, economic and national security conservatives that elevated the Republican Party to political dominance has become so splintered by the presidential primary campaign that some party leaders fear a protracted nomination fight that could hobble the eventual nominee.
Every key Republican demographic has serious problems with one or another of their candidates, and those problems are all with different candidates.
That instability has fueled fears that if a winner does not quickly emerge in a primary calendar loaded with contests in January and early February, a prolonged primary fight could delay the GOP's focus on election day in a campaign in which Democratic voters already have contributed more money and, according to several polls, expressed greater satisfaction with their choice of presidential contenders.
The entire Republican coalition created by Reagan is in serious trouble.
The recent Times/Bloomberg poll in Iowa found that 38% of the Republicans who had chosen a candidate to back said they had no second choice. And though 61% of Iowa Democrats surveyed said they could support any of their party's nominees, 42% of Republicans expressed that view about their choices.
The corporate media love the usual "divided Dems" framing, but this year is shaping up to be very different. As nasty as the Democratic primary wars have become, there is genuine passion for the candidates, and even more passion to end the Bush era. The Republican candidates seem to be trying to out-absurd each other. Should Huckabee win tonight, and should Ron Paul do better than expected, among national Republican pundits and strategists, you just might begin see outright panic.