Thomas Sowell

Media pundits have just about given this year's election to the Democrats -- at least in the House of Representatives and perhaps in the Senate as well. They might even be right, for a change.

Some are saying that this could be like the 1994 midterm election shocker when the Republicans seized control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. If so, the Democrats will win by following the exact opposite strategy from that which brought the Congressional Republicans to power in 1994.

The Republican strategy, crafted by Newt Gingrich, was to spell out their stands on key issues and to promise to bring those issues to a vote in Congress. They called their agenda "The Contract with America."

It is now clear to all that this year's Democrats are deliberately avoiding spelling out any coherent policy program of their own.

Their strategy is to second-guess, denigrate and undermine Republicans instead of offering an agenda of their own. Rather than having a contract with America, they are seeking a blank check from America. Moreover, they may get it.

How did the Republicans manage to bring themselves to this dire condition, just two years after winning both Houses of Congress, the White House, and most of the state governorships?

It wasn't easy -- and it wasn't new. It was the same thing that caused the first President Bush to lose his bid for re-election in 1992, after having had sky-high approval ratings in 1991. It was betraying the trust of supporters.

Back then it was the betrayal of the "No new taxes" pledge. More recently, it was the even worse betrayal of trying to legislate amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, combined with insulting our intelligence by saying that it was not amnesty.

Add to this the Republicans' runaway spending and the fact that the war in Iraq has been going badly, and you have all the ingredients of a political debacle.

One of the ironies of this election is that it is the Republicans in the House of Representatives who seem most likely to pay the biggest price for the disaffection of Republican voters -- when in fact it was the House Republicans who stopped both the Senate Republicans and the White House from making mass amnesty the law of the land.

Senate Republican leaders deserve whatever happens to them. If this election were about the fate of one political party rather than another, it would hardly be worth thinking about.

But elections are not about which politicians get to keep their jobs, though the media cover the news as if the political horse race is the issue. Elections are about the fate of 300 million Americans and the future of this nation.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate