“… a cause on foot
Lives so in hope as in an early spring
We see the appearing buds, which to prove fruit
Hope gives not so much warrant, as despair
That frosts will bite them.”
-William Shakespeare, from Henry IV, Part 2, Act I, scene 3
Sometimes it feels like the news cycle poisons us with false hope. Certainly the frosts of last November killed the hopes raised by some in polling that the midterm elections would be closer than they were.
Today we find ourselves again hopeful in the spring of 2015, as Politico teases us with a pair of tempting morsels like, “The GOP Is Dying Off. Literally,” and “GOP: Business lobby blowing it on trade.”
In the case of the former, it’s broken down to math. “The party’s core is dying off by the day,” writes Daniel J. McGraw, in Sunday’s Politico Magazine.
As he explains it:
“Since the average Republican is significantly older than the average Democrat, far more Republicans than Democrats have died since the 2012 elections. To make matters worse, the GOP is attracting fewer first-time voters.”
McGraw reaches that conclusion by multiplying the number of voters from 2012 exit polls who voted for Republican nominee Mitt Romney and are in their early sixties by the annual mortality rate, then multiplying that number by four, for each year between the last presidential election and 2016. He found that of the roughly 5.5 million Romeny-ites in the exit poll, there would be “229,900 Romney voters aged 60-to-64 who will be deceased by Election Day 2016.”
Carry that out to the 61 million who voted Republican in 2012, and “about 2.75 million will be dead by the 2016 election.” His math says the reaper will have taken almost half-a-million fewer Democrats.
While McGraw’s work sounds hopeful for Hillary – or whoever wins the Dem nomination in 2016 – it only represents, optimistically, just over a third of one percent of the 2012 electorate. It is possible that fewer Democrats decide to show up, next year. Couple that with the increase in voter suppression efforts in red states, and 453,000 people just doesn’t sound like a difference maker.
The only sure way to make sure Democrats win in 2016 is for their voters to come out and vote. That’s indisputable.
As far as Politico’s story on the GOP leadership’s disappointment in the business community for “getting outfoxed by Big Labor” because calls against the fast-track trade measure, known as trade promotion authority, are “running 10 to 1 against the TPA,” that’s less about citizen participation than it is about money.
Don’t get me wrong. I agree with and applaud the success labor – and the progressive movements that support them – are having in this campaign. Their efforts, though, are filling the void because big business has long seen the TPA as a done deal. Why wouldn’t they? After all it’s supported by the White House and the leaders of the Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress.
According to the Politico article, Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) “call for the business community to engage more aggressively comes months after the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber and others formed a coalition called Trade Benefits America to push fast-track legislation through Congress.”
The question, then is what does “more aggressively” mean? For politicians, it usually means shaking down the business’ coalition for more money. That’s why this is another false hope of any positive change in our political process. Money being speech, as the Supreme Court says it is, has the ear of both parties, even among some of the members of Congress who want to get money out of politics.
So keep calling your representative and tell them you don’t want the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPA fast track to pass. For now, words are speaking louder than money, and that, at least, is something to cheer for.