Americans prefer Democrats to Republicans, prefer voting for Republicans to voting for Democrats
This is, of course, the lament of many majority parties facing midterm elections: If it was a choice, they'd win. If it's a referendum, they lose. But for all the dollars and messaging expended trying to make choices out of referendums, it never works. It's always a referendum. You'd need to radically shake up the election dynamics to get into something closer to a choice election.
Something like, say, Jon Alter's idea of scheduling debates between the president and the minority party's House or Senate leadership. This has been suggested before, of course, and people reject it as harmful to the dignity of the presidency. But that fear is based on a vision of the presidency that doesn't really exist today. Presidents are party leaders, and governance is a conflict between the two parties. The more midterm elections reflect that reality, forcing the president to defend his vision and the minority party to articulate their vision, the more useful they'll be.
September 7, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories: 2010 Midterms
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