That headline comes in a Tweet this morning from Taegan Goddard, publisher of Political Wire. Yes, polls are breaking for Senate Republicans. Normally, in mid-term elections, polls across the country show a turn or confirm a direction that forecasts election day. So the smart money is on the Republicans.
But before the GOP celebrates and begins looking toward 2016 with overflowing optimism, party leaders may want to ponder one more thing: This election should not have taken so long to show a direction. The Republicans should have taken a clear lead weeks ago.
The post mortem
Following the 2012 election, the Republican National Committee undertook an analysis to determine why the GOP kept losing elections. Many Republicans decided that the message was the problem. Others decided that the candidates were the problem. They went about trying to fix their perception of the problem. Whoa!
Too many Republican candidates or their political advisors tried too hard to fit the “message.” As they tried to adjust, many were not really “themselves.” Eventually, most found their footing. But that took a while and meant that voters needed more time to decide.
Republicans were lucky. Some Democrats stuck too long with the Democratic versions of Republican “messaging.” Senator Mark Udall of Colorado hammered on the “war on women” long after the voters wanted to move on. His Republican opponent is headed to a victory that Udall could have prevented if he had just been Udall all along.
One Republican has been headed to a big win all year – Governor John Kasich of Ohio. Why? He is who he is. In these days of issues-research-driven ads and candidates, Kasich is refreshingly simple. Ohio voters get it. They figured Kasich out long ago. But nationally, nobody has been talking about him. That ends Wednesday.
Wait! They’ve been here all along
The talking heads will talk up Kasich as a plausible presidential candidate. He will be “Chris Christie without the bullying,” “a smarter Rick Perry.” The spotlight may begin to focus on a few Midwestern Republican governors. That’s no surprise. That the mainstream media took so long to catch on is a surprise.
Will the Republican operatives in Washington figure it out? If so, when?