With the Republicans in the House garnering a great deal of anger with their draconian “health care plan” — which seems to offer us the choice between GoFundMe and Go F- Yourselves when it comes to providing decent coverage for all — Democrats are absolutely giddy with the prospect of retaking Congress in the midterms next year.
Such GOP fixtures as New Jersey’s Rodney Frelinghuysen, first elected to represent the predominantly Republican 11th District in 1994, could be vulnerable because of their vote —especially those who, like Frelinghuysen, voted against Trumpcare originally, only to change their minds.
Some of Frelinghuysen’s constituents have been turning on the heat, showing up regularly at his New Jersey office to request a town hall meeting, which he has refused to schedule. To some Democrats, that’s a sign his days in Congress are numbered.
Why, the Democrats haven’t been so stoked about the possibility of victory since the Republicans nominated an amoral moron with no government or military experience to run against an intelligent, highly qualified former U.S. senator and secretary of state. And we all know how that turned out.
If the midterms were being held this year, could the Democrats ride this wave of anger to victory? Maybe. But there’s a year and a half to go, and voters seem to have short memories and even shorter attention spans.
The Democrats could very well have picked up some momentum in the 2014 midterms, if only some of them had bothered to get out and vote. The turnout that year, according to published reports, was estimated at less than 37 percent of eligible voters. That was the lowest percentage since World War II, when many voters were otherwise occupied actually fighting the war.
The bad news is that if Trumpcare doesn’t pass — and the Senate seems disinclined to approve the bill as it now stands — the GOP has a year to scare its supporters into re-electing the same class clowns. And if some of them still look vulnerable, that doesn’t mean the Democrats can coast to victory. If, say, Frelinghuysen doesn’t look like a sure thing next year, they’ll talk him into “retiring” and nominate someone even worse, and the voters will gravitate toward the (R) as they always have.
The good news is, the Democrats have a year to get their act together. Get some good candidates, treat every seat as though it’s up for grabs, and make sure people vote. Get those phone banks in place, get your candidates out where the people can see and hear them.
And in the meantime, here in New Jersey, we have a unique chance to make our voices heard. New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states that have gubernatorial elections this year. Since the much-loathed Chris Christie can’t run for a third term, the odds are that the Democrats will recapture the top spot. But that’s not all that’s at stake. Both houses of the Legislature are also up for election this Nov. 7. Democrats need to show they can organize, get out there and send a message. Register, vote, and make sure your friends and family members do the same. Volunteer to take people to the polls. It will be good practice. And next year, do it all again — and make it count.
And please, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Last time the Democrats did that, the country ended up with egg on its face.