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August 4, 2010
The Show-Me-State Proves Conservative Momentum Is Growing
Voters' voices were heard regarding ObamaCare on Tuesday, at least in Missouri, as about seven out of ten Missouri voters, nearly a 3 to 1 ratio, cast their ballots in favor of a measure that would exempt Missourians from the ObamaCare mandate to purchase health insurance,. The results of this vote provide much insight into who has the momentum going into the mid-term elections in November.
Missouri is considered to be a bellwether state in politics, as the state's electoral results in presidential elections have mirrored those of the entire nation in every election since 1904 with the exceptions of 1956 and 2008. In addition, the state's geographic distribution of its people (55 percent urban, 45 percent rural) makes it comparable to the overall nation.
Those supporting Proposition C -- those in favor of eliminating the insurance mandate -- were seen and heard to a far greater degree in the Missouri media than were their opponents. Aside from a direct mail effort from the Missouri Hospital Association, little money or time seemed to be spent by those opposed to the ballot initiative.
What this tells us is that Democrats want no part of this issue come the elections in November. Poll after poll showed that Americans were against ObamaCare before it was signed into law. For a Democrat to trumpet his or her support of ObamaCare would be paramount to political suicide this close to the elections.
Democrats who voted for or supported ObamaCare had nothing to gain by opposing the measure. Were they to have been actively against the proposition and lost, it would have shown them to not be representative of the people.
The most important conclusion we can draw from this vote, however, is that it shows how the Tea Party movement and conservative activism have managed to sustain momentum since ObamaCare was signed into law. And that momentum within the Tea Party continues to build since its birth on February 19, 2009 when Rick Santelli of CNBC made his famous rant. Tea Party leaders in Missouri and conservative leaders in the Show-Me-State were aggressive in getting out the vote and oh how they showed their political power. If the effort of those in Missouri can be duplicated nationwide, then we may see the GOP make massive inroads in Congress.
This is the issue that should keep Democratic politicians and strategists up at night. The movement that began with one man's rant for the need of fiscal conservatism and the corresponding millions of Americans who heard him speak their exact thoughts, has now developed into a powerful political machine. It is a machine that is demanding increased fiscal, and to a much lesser degree moral, conservatism and it is getting results.
The message of conservatism is far from fading as we enter the final three heading into the mid-term elections. In fact, momentum is growing. According to the latest aggregate polling data compiled by Real Clear Politics, Republicans now lead Democrats by 6.0 points in a generic congressional vote. This is the largest gap since July 14, 2009.
Furthermore, the Real Clear Politics numbers show a sharp upward movement in support of Republicans in a generic vote since July 5 of this year, with a corresponding decline for democrats.
All of this points to a near dead-even prognostication from Real Clear politics as to the balance of power in the U.S. House if elections were held today. Were Republicans to regain control of the House, it would be indicative of the grassroots power of the Tea Party.
Momentum also remains on the side of conservatives regarding the U.S. Senate. Real Clear Politics shows the balance of power in the Senate at 49 Democrats and 43 Republicans if the elections were held today, with eight toss-ups. To win all eight seats seems unlikely for the GOP. However, the political momentum is certainly on their side and going back to when Obama took office, the GOP has managed to come a long way.
The key test for Tea Party leaders and conservative activists will be whether the momentum they have can be sustained and enlarged as Election Day approaches. The House and Senate are likely to be dormant as campaigns hit full stride and no incumbent wants to make any waves.
As evidenced by the results in Missouri, keeping ObamaCare front and center is part of a winning foundation for Republicans, as is a message of fiscal conservatism and putting an end to the massive government intrusion into the lives of Americans.
Chad Stafko is a writer and political consultant living in the Midwest. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org