I was among the first pollsters and pundits to float the notion that 2010 could be a reprise of 1994, when Republicans abruptly took control of a U.S. House of Representatives that had seemed irreversibly controlled by the Democrats.
Now, I'm starting to see signs that even the U.S. Senate could go GOP this year. What has changed to suggest this?
First, take a look at the primary elections across the nation. A common theme has been the tendency for incumbents to lose, or to unexpectedly struggle to win, especially on the Republican side. I predicted as much more than a year ago, and pointed out the parallels to the 1992 primary season.
This week in Florida, businessman and political neophyte Rick Scott fought Jeb Bush and virtually the entire state GOP establishment in his successful primary campaign for governor against the rather uninspiring Attorney General Bill McCollum.
McCollum's bureaucratic approach to government was epitomized by his inaction on a case that addressed the rights of Florida homeowners and others who had citrus trees on their lands. If their trees were within 1,900 feet of other trees that were deemed to be infected with citrus canker, then the private property rights of these homeowners were violated and their trees were felled by the state.
This totalitarian action by the state was overturned, not by lower courts but by a district court of appeals. Still McCollum pushed on, fighting the bureaucratic fight. This may seem like inside baseball, but it is emblematic of how the McCollums of the political world don't "get it" this year. The public is in no mood for traditional politicians and their traditional ways of bulldozing over the public.
Critically in most of the primaries in swing states, voter turnout, though by no means robust, has been decidedly heavier for Republicans. There may be internal GOP fights over how conservative the party's nominees should be. But come November, look for those supporting GOP candidates -- including the many independents who are "going Republican" this year -- to continue their support by flocking to the polls.
Why the lukewarm Republican voter turnout, even in hotly contested primaries? The answer is simple, and has been aptly outlined by my friend Neal Boortz, a nationally syndicated talk radio host. Boortz says these voters are a coiled snake -- they're saving their energy for one dramatic strike in November.
Public relations gaffes by the Democrats over the so-called "ground zero mosque" have only added an exclamation point to the long sentence of political illogic that President Obama and the Democrats have lately been composing.
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