Paul  Weyrich

After the Iowa caucuses on January 3, the pundits are busy trying to determine the lessons learned from the opening contest of the 2008 Presidential election. It is clear that the voters in both the Republican and Democratic Parties want change. But the voters who turned out in record numbers are very different for each party. The Democrats whom Senator Barak Obama (D-IL) attracted in record numbers were mainly young people. The Republicans to whom former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee appealed in record numbers were mainly older Evangelical Christians. While both parties managed to attract new voters, Republicans should be concerned because the ratio was two-to-one between the parties in favor of the Democrats. Historically, whichever party has the greater voter turnout in Iowa in January is the party most likely to win in November in the general election.

Yes, both parties want change, but the kind of change they seek is radically different. Democrats want a move towards socialism, whereas Republicans want a move toward the sort of politics which Christian Democrats have in Europe. The two are very dissimilar.

As third-place Democratic winner Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) exclaimed while returns came in on Thursday, “This is a great night for Democrats.” Indeed it was. Unless the situation changes radically between now and November Democrats are almost certain to win a landslide election come November. While Huckabee is a charismatic candidate he is not a conservative. Should he be the nominee he would radically change the nature of the Republican Party. He raises taxes instead of cutting them. Whereas President George W. Bush managed to forge a political party of CEOs and grassroots conservatives, Huckabee wants to forge a middle-class party of Christian activists and people who resemble the unemployed, not employers. It would be a very different party, stressing middle-class folks instead of business executives.

Voters in New Hampshire are very different from voters in Iowa. New Hampshire voters are far more secular. 60% of Iowa caucus voters were active Christians, whereas only 19% of New Hampshire voters are active Christians. Yet it is still clear that the incumbent party is in big trouble. It is unclear at this point if former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney can win the GOP nomination, but even if he or Senator John S. McCain III (R-AZ) were to secure the Republican nomination, the lesson from Iowa is that the Republicans are in for a loss in November.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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