Millions of dollars will be spent and billions of words spilled, but only one thing will decide this election: Will voters be madder at President Obama or at Republicans in the legislature?
On today’s market, the outlook for Democrats is as chilling as a New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge. For two months, the news has been all Obamacare – and all bad. While Obama energizes voters when he’s on the ballot, the magic doesn’t transfer when he’s not. In 2010, his voters stayed home and the Obama-haters turned out in droves. That’s what got North Carolina in this mess.
If that happens again, Kay Hagan could lose, and Republicans could control both houses of Congress and keep super-majorities in Raleigh.
2015 would be no fun.
But, then, in 2016, Americans and North Carolinians would recoil at the result, Republicans will nominate Ted Cruz for President and there will be a Democratic landslide statewide and nationally.
There’s also a more optimistic scenario for Democrats this year: Anger at the legislature over the damage done to education could trump anger at Obama. The GOP and Tea Party could overreach nationally, like 1998, when Newt Gingrich & Co. overreached, lost big and paved the road for John Edwards’ election.
The point is that elections today are driven by negative emotions, namely fear and anger. No politician is popular. No politician has approval ratings above the 40s in North Carolina. By contrast, Jim Hunt stayed north of 60 percent most of the time he was Governor.
So keep an eye on one thing: Who are the voters maddest at in November?