Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Party Switchers?

Jack asks:
"How does this (Specter) impact the chances of more switches? I've seen speculation about Snowe. Your take?

"I don't really think the idea of Snowe switching parties makes much sense. Specter switched because of electoral pressure to do so. Jeffords switched at a time when control of the Senate was in the balance. Neither of these incentives are available to Snowe, Collins, Inhofe or whoever would consider switching."
There are two lines of thought on either of the Maine senators switching:

1) You're right that there is definitely an electoral connection (sorry David Mayhew) here. Michael Steele can talk about targeting Collins or Snowe because of their votes, but how is he going to strengthen the bench in Maine and cultivate candidates to the right of either one of them that could win? That pressure existed with Specter, but not with Collins and Snowe. But...

2) It could be that one or both of them just simply gets sick being a part of a party that is philosophically different from themselves. Specter spoke along those lines, but I don't know that anyone took him too terribly seriously there. His was a move of electoral survival. As I said above, that doesn't really exist in Snowe's or Collins' case.

However, the Democrats are pushing the agenda now and the matters that they bring up for a vote could continually put Snowe and Collins in the uncomfortable position of having to decide between their convictions and their party. The more that happens, the more likely, I'd say, they are to reconsider their positions within the Republican Caucus.

The flip side is the extent to which they are on board with what the Obama administration is pushing. If either was totally in line with Obama, one or both of them would likely already have switched. But again, we're talking about the extent to which they are with Obama. It isn't one hundred percent and it isn't zero either. [I may have to look at some of their votes for a better idea, but that's a job for another day -- or another blogger. Ha!]

Ultimately, I think they'll stick it out (famous last words), but there's no doubt in my mind that they are being asked. The Democrats in the Senate would be foolish not to.

It never hurts to ask. The worst they can say is, "no," or maybe, "NO!" after the one hundredth time or so.

Recent Posts:
Open Thread: Specter Switch

Indiana Sec. of State on 2012 Presidential Primary

There Are Deciders and Then There Are...


Robert said...

I'm back!

Interesting comments on Snowe and Collins. Snowe has used this moment to criticize the Republican leadership for failing to learn the lessons of Jeffords. It seems to me that she is telling the Republican leadership to back off. As long as they don't push her too hard, she'll stay Republican. If they push her too hard, she will probably become an Independent. I don't see her becoming a Democrat. It won't help her electorally, and New England is the only place in the country where being an Independent is actually an advantage. As a Republican she gets only disdain from the Republicans and some interest from the Democrats. As an Independent she would get interest, respect and perhaps some leverage from both groups on contentious issues.

On a somewhat related matter, I am reading the Black twins' (Earl and Merle) book "Divided America". I just started it last night after watching Jacksonville State slaughter the Dawgs with a 9-run, ninth inning. The book divides the country into 5 geographic regions (sorry no maps, Josh but lots of x/y plots) -- South, Northeast, Midwest, Mountain/Plains and Pacific West. The book was written after the 2006 Congressional elections but before last year's Presidential election. It gives the South and Mountain/Prairie sections to the Republicans due to their ability to win large majorities of white, college-educated Christians. It gives the Northeast and Pacific West to the Democrats particularly due to the African-American, emerging minorities (Hispanic & Asian-Americans) and white non-Christians. The Midwest is the toss-up area. Although they don't address the 2008 election, I suspect that they would attribute the Democratic gains to strength in the Midwest and the Republican alienation of the emerging minorities with their anti-immigration message. It is an interesting read. I highly recommend it.

I have overcome my election burnout (and an intense semester) and now hope to return as a regular commenter at this site.

Josh Putnam said...

Hey, hey, hey. Look who's back (...and on the last day of classes).

Burnout, eh? Yeah, I took the back half of December and the first part of January off and spent most of February trying to get back up to speed. I think we've hit our stride lately. Obviously, I'll leave that up to other to decide.

It's good to have you back.