By: Richard L. Abbott
The Delaware Republican Party is a paper tiger (perhaps cub). As Republican victories swept across the U.S. last week in a wave, little ‘ole Delaware was immune, in fact opposite from the national trend. Here, Democrats made gains, almost taking every statewide office for the first time in modern history.
Last Tuesday’s outcome was predicted and predictable. For 20+ years now the Republican Party decline has slowly inched it closer to irrelevant status. But how? And why? The answers are really quite simple if you analyze the last 25 years.
- Me, Not Thee: What Republican Party?
Too many Republican officeholders have focused primarily on their own political careers, with anything from benign neglect to outright disregard reserved for the GOP. Eight (8) years ago Republicans held a 27-14 majority in the State House, but today it has flipped to 26-15 Democrat (a loss of 12 seats or
44% of the Caucus). One cause: entrenched Republican Representatives bailing out at the last minute, without any advance notice or succession planning – all of their seats have gone to a Democrat. In contrast, Republican legislators’ reasonable advance retirement announcements have resulted in Republican holds in most instances.
In 1988, Mike Castle selected an older, novice candidate as his Lt. Governor running mate, squelching any potential for Republicans to hold off Tom Carper from running and winning in 1992 (and coincidentally or not, paving the way for ”The Switch” between Castle and Carper). Even our beloved Sen. Bill Roth contributed to the demise, unadvisedly seeking re-election in 2000 rather than making way for Mike Castle in order to potentially keep the seat in Republican hands.
The prime architect of the Delaware Republican Party in the ‘90’s, Basil Battaglia, also played a lead role in the Republican downward spiral. As Party Chair, Battaglia co-opted considerable Republican time and resources to advance the ultimately ill-fated political career of his son, at the expense of building a farm team for the future.
A perfect storm of short-sighted decisions by Party elected officials and leaders has weakened the Republican Party. Advantage Democrats
- Non-Existent TV & The Increasingly Biased, Left-Wing News Journal
In New Castle County, the main source of political news is The News Journal newspaper. While it was owned by the duPont family, “the paper” as we call it in Northern Delaware, was a beneficent purveyor of all sides of a story. But 25 years ago it was sold to Gannett, a liberal media company. And the liberal slant of news and editorial coverage began, eclipsing in this year’s prejudiced “smack down” of uncivil, personal attacks and outright misrepresentations regarding conservative Christine O’Donnell. Advantage Democrats
We have no Delaware television station. Period. End of story. So even a candidate that has money cannot make any campaign inroads with voters through the critical
advertising medium of TV. Advantage Democrats
- Money & Registration: “Big Money” Republicans Die – Labor Unions Don’t, And “Motor Voter” + Migration Pump Up Democrat Numbers
25 years ago, a long list of traditional Republican givers from Chateau Country existed – maximum contribution checks came in bunches. The list is now very short, as the noblesse oblige attitude toward the Republican Party has died out.
Meanwhile, political contributions from Labor Unions, who almost exclusively back Democrats, have continued unabated; union organizations have perpetual existence and their political spending seems to have increased even as membership has fallen. A national network of unions “swap” contribution checks to magnify giving potential for local Democrat candidates. Advantage Democrats
When Congress passed laws requiring State Motor Vehicle agencies to register votes in the 1990’s, it was vigorously opposed by Republicans. And with good political reason; it would increase Democrat and Independent registration numbers. Indeed, that it did in Delaware – big time. Advantage Democrats
Pennsylvanians, New Jerseyans, New Yorkers, and Marylanders have migrated to Delaware in large numbers over the last 20 years, retiring, fleeing higher taxes, or transferring for job reasons. The States they originate from are mainly Democrat and Independent, not Republican. And their party registration and voting decisions have followed suit. Advantage Democrats
- 2010: A Sore Loser & Hypocritical News Journal Liberals Advance Democrat Dominance
It was well-known that 2010 would likely be a strong Republican year nationally. And Mike Castle was the hands-down favorite to win the election for U.S. Senate in Delaware. But he ran a disastrous campaign, full of lukewarm positions that ignored the obvious mood of Republican primary voters. Castle voted against
the two biggest Obama Left-Wing Programs: the Stimulus and
Obama-Care. But you would not have known that from Castle’s campaign. So he was a sitting duck when to-be-expected criticism for his relatively inconsequential votes for the Bailouts and Cap & Trade came, enabling his opponent to successfully cast him as a “Liberal” in the eyes of primary voters.
Then after Castle lost, he engaged in a 6-week public fit of selfish behavior which the liberal News Journal played up to help paint the Republican U.S. Senate nominee as extreme and strange, all the while failing to mention that Chris Coons was a “Traditional Tax & Spend Liberal” who would vote 100% with Obama. So rather than focusing on the issues of the day, the race was transformed by Castle and The News Journal into a superficial personality profile comparison, enabling left-wing Coons to escape substantive voter scrutiny and thereby waltz into office a la
Obama circa 2008. Advantage Democrats
- What Next? Ideas/Issues: Personal & Business Freedom And Prosperity
Democrats believe government has all the answers. Republicans believe government should get out of the way of individuals. Democrats have Utopian ideals. Republicans are more Darwinian. The two parties’ foundational underpinnings are in sharp contrast. And never has that contrast been clearer than today, as the once moderate Delaware Democrat Party has morphed in the last decade into a very Liberal, Left of Center political organization as one-party rule has taken hold in Delaware.
America became a great nation based on a pioneer spirit, a strong work ethic, a free market capitalist economy, and a small government. These characteristics are embodied in the Principles of Individual Freedom, Lower Taxes, and Less Government Regulation. Our Republican Party embraces and stands for these principles. They are time honored.
In contrast, Democrats favor a more command-control economy, greater government regulation, and higher taxes – the antithesis of what made our Country great. Democrats want to take a larger piece of the pie (i.e.
a zero sum game), while Republicans seek to make the pie bigger so there is more for everyone (growth & prosperity). So why would voters fail to see such fundamental differences between the two parties? Because no one tells them, and lately Democrats have taken to talking like Republicans in campaign mode but voting like Democrats in office.
As Republicans, we need to make voters aware of the Brand/Message that makes our party the party of Traditional, American Principles. Ronald Reagan did this well. A return to “Morning In America” is long overdue. If done effectively, we Republicans can present voters with the stark contrast of ideas and issues which will help us prevail over the Welfare State mentality of the Democrats. Let’s Hope
our Party will Change
. Stay tuned.