Tag Archives: Republican Party

The Iowa Straw Poll Circus

The Republican Party holds what is called a straw poll in the summer before a Presidential election year.  This year’s Iowa Straw Poll will be held in August.  Iowa’s Presidential Caucus is held in January 2016.  In the last Iowa Straw Poll, held in August 2011, Presidential candidates from the GOP met with the party faithful and gauged where they stood in the state that holds the first caucus in the nation.  This non-binding vote gave then-Congresswoman Michele Bachmann the victory and some momentum for her Presidential bid.  The momentum was short-lived as her campaign foundered near the January 2012 election.  Recently, the folks at Real Clear Politics recently wrote about the significance of the Iowa Straw Poll.  Do you see it as a significant event?

For the RCP column, click here.

Advertisements

Party Conflicts

The following is an excerpt from an edition of a Pearson Custom Textbook that I wrote in the past:

I am a big fan of political movements. I like how they bring new voters to the political process. For me, the more participation in politics, the better for our democracy. What I do fear, however, is the power of this anti-incumbent, anti-establishment movement that is currently in our midst and how long it will last.

History shows us that political movements that challenge the political status quo tend to start off quickly and then fade away just as fast.   The Liberty and Free Soil Parties of the 1830s and 1840s wanted to abolish slavery to different degrees, but because these parties were considered one-issue parties which could not challenge the breadth and depth of the major parties of the time, the Democrats and Whigs. In fact, those anti-slavery movements gave rise to the Republican Party in the 1850s.

The Populist Party of the 1880s established itself as a party working on behalf of America’s farmers and laborers. The Democratic Party, seeing a rift within their own party, usurped the rising third party’s issues, which in turn, nullified the need of a third party.  By 1900, the Populist Party as a national force was no more.

Progressives found a voice in 1912 with the candidacy of Teddy Roosevelt for President as the Bull Moose nominee. The Progressive movement had been around before 1912, but now they had a national figure to head their cause. When Roosevelt lost that year, the Bull Moose Party dissolved and the Progressive movement sputtered.

In 1992, I remember the anti-establishment candidacy of Ross Perot. He had ballot access in all 50 states. He rode a national tide built on small government, lower tax, and government accountability rhetoric. Perot lost, but Republicans used that same rhetoric to win both houses of Congress in 1994. When Perot ran for President in 1996, his campaign was considered unnecessary because the Republican Party was now firmly entrenched as the party of smaller government.

But what of that smaller government, low tax, government accountability, Republican Party of 1994? By 2008, the party had shifted away from those principles and gave rise to the Tea Party and anti-incumbent movements that we see today.  It is now 2015 and the Republican Party still has a conflict with its membership as so-called Tea Party Republicans have labeled House Speaker John Boehner as an establishment Republican.

My question is: are anti-establishment party movements good for American politics?

Predicting the Midterms

The midterm elections are less than 30 days away.  Control of the United States Senate and House of Representatives hangs in the balance.  The Democratic Party controls the United States Senate with 53 members.  The Republican Party has 45.  There are two Independents in the Senate who caucus, or work with, the Democrats.  In order to win the Senate, the Republican Party needs a net gain of six Senate seats this November.  The current makeup of the House of Representatives favors the Republican Party as they 233 seats to the Democrats, 199.  In order for the Democrats to retake the House, they would need a net gain of 17 seats.

Evaluating Campaign Ads — Roberts vs. Taylor vs. Orman

There is a three person race in Kansas involving US Senator Pat Roberts (R), Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor (D), and businessman Greg Orman (I).  Roberts has been United States Senator since 1997.

The above ad was run in the Republican primary, and not in the upcoming general election.  What is the purpose for such an ad?

The above ad is the first commercial for Taylor.  What is your impression of his opening ad?

Orman, as a third party candidate, is trying to demonstrate that he is different from both party candidates.  Do you believe that his ad makes the case?

Evaluating Campaign Ads — Braley vs. Ernst

This is 2014 and it is an election year.  Every week, I will post ads from the Democratic and Republican candidates for office in those races that are considered to be competitive.  If there are third party candidates running, then I will post their ads as well.  This week’s two ads come from Iowa in the race for retiring US Senator Tom Harkin’s seat.  The Democrat in the race is Congressman Bruce Braley.  The Republican is Joni Ernst, a member of the Iowa State Senate.

Both ads, in this installment, are positive.

**What is Congressman Braley trying to convey in this ad?

**What message is State Senator Ernst trying to make in this ad?

**What are your overall impressions of each ad?

 

The GOP’s Chances in 2014

According to political expert, Nate Silver, the Republican Party has a chance.  Read here.  What do you think?  Remember, a lot can change between now and November 2014, so this is just a guess that you are making.

Did Somebody Say, “Party”?

A political party, loosely defined, is an organization that works to get candidates on a ballot with the hope of getting those candidates elected.  The end result for a political party is to transform its platform or agenda into public policy.  In the United States, we have a two-party system.  In a two-party system, the candidates from one of two political parties usually win in an election.  Those two parties are the Democrats and the Republicans.  Within each political party, party members represent a variety of ideologies, geographic regions, or interests.

Let’s assume for a moment, though, that a political party is like a party that is thrown at someone’s house.  You have been invited to one of the two political “parties”.  One house is a Democratic house.  The other is a Republican house.  Choose one of the two “house parties” and then explain what you might see at the party if you attended it.  For instance, if I attended a Democratic house party, then I might see a Union boss open the door for me.  At the party itself, the attendees might be more female than male or more minority than white.  I might I make this assumption because the Democratic Party gets its support from unions, women, and minorities.

This is a pretty exercise to do.  Think of the geographic areas or the ideologies that also might fall in line with the two parties.  For assistance on ideologies, you might want to search Politics Matters for posts that I have made about political ideologies in the United States.