Democrats are hoping that disillusionment with the war in Iraq will launch them to victory -- though their other hoped-for theme, "the culture of corruption," froze to death in Rep. William Jefferson's freezer. Democrats also cobbled together a Contract with America lite called "A New Direction for America" that would take America in quite an old direction. They would reverse the Bush war on terror in favor of a defensive crouch ("fully man, train and equip" our first responders), provide taxpayer subsidized college tuition "for all" and "stop any plan to privatize Social Security."
If Republicans do lose the House and Senate in 2006 (and I predict they will not), it will not be due to that stirring Democratic platform. Instead, it may be the case that the GOP base is simply too exasperated with Republican leadership to show up in large numbers. The country remains about evenly split between the parties, so lack of enthusiasm by one side or the other can decide elections.
The Republican base is roiling over two matters: illegal immigration and federal spending, specifically earmarks. The failure of immigration reform can plausibly be laid at the feet of Democrats in Congress. Earmarks are another matter. According to National Review, earmarks have grown tenfold since 1995. As the Christian Science Monitor reports: "When Republicans took over the House in 1995, there were five earmarks in the Labor, Health and Human Services bill, amounting to $2.4 million. By FY 2005, the number of earmarks attached to this bill had soared to 3,014 or $1.18 billion." There are a great number of Republican voters who look at those numbers and ask, "Why bother to vote?"
Were it not for the Islamofascists and their tireless struggle to destroy our civilization, Republicans might be looking at disaster in November. As it is, with the Democrats stubbornly opposing the war in Iraq, the detainments in Guantanamo, NSA eavesdropping on al Qaeda calls and the Patriot Act, it seems the Republicans may slip back into office -- though narrowly.