Ed Kilgore has a short and fascinating post at Washington Monthly today. In it, he observes that following 2014, Republicans largely convinced themselves that the political landscape was tilting to the right.
A lot of Republicans came out of their 2014 landslide fully expecting to keep the party going right into the presidential cycle. There were a lot of reasons to doubt that optimism, from the change to a presidential cycle with less positive turnout patterns for the GOP, to the end of a six-year midterm dynamic that was sure to fade, to an improving economy.
Ed points to a Pew poll that shows the Republican party is viewed extremely negatively by Americans to suggest that the landscape is not favorable for Republicans.
He concludes by saying:
Any way you slice it, any thoughts by Republicans that the landscape is tilting in their direction in this cycle really come down to the fairly abstract notion of an electorate that thinks it’s time for a change after the Obama administration. If contrary to that notion this turns out to be a “two futures” election in which voters are simply comparing the two parties and their candidates, the landscape just isn’t tilting Right.
In essence, Republicans are counting on “Obama” fatigue but Democrats will try to make it a “two futures” campaign. In 2008 and 2012, Democrats were very successful at the “two futures” approach. I hope they repeat that success.