Once again at election time it is the old Ronald Reagan coalition of working class Irish and other Catholic groups in the American Midwest region who will decide the election.
The Reagan Democrats came home to the Democratic Party in the Obama presidential election year, but this year,led by the Irish, it appears they are once again drifting back to the Republican slate.
Polls in the key states show the ethnic vote shifting drastically to Republican candidates.
It is a indictment of President Obama and his vice president Joe Biden who typifies the Reagan Democrat appeal, that they have lost touch to a large extent with this key voting block.
They have done an incredibly poor job of explaining the health care reform, the bank bailout and the need to spend billion on a stimulus package to a group that arguably stood to benefit most from such government largesse.
They have failed to point out that if tax cuts bring jobs then the Bush presidency would have been a runaway success, or that cutting earmarks to regions means that region actually loses jobs.
They have also failed to explain how the Republican plan espoused by Bush and even some candidates today to privatize social security would have left tens of millions of older Americans in dire circumstances after the market crash.
Instead they have let the Tea Party and the Republican opposition define the election. It is a spectacular failure. It was bad banks and brazen greed that landed America in this mess, it was no government oversight that facilitated it.
Yet reading the polls that it was all just the government’s fault.
Somehow Obama has not been able to get the message out, especially where it counts most with blue collar white ethnic Americans who are suffering the most in this downturn.
Republicans are masters at summing up issues on memorable sentences while Democrats take forever to try and explain.
There is every indication that Democratic candidates on the East Coast and West Coast will survive most of the tough races. Barbara Boxer in California, Party Murray in Washington both have narrow leads in the senate races and appear likely to prevail while on the East Coast republicans best chance went up in smoke in Delaware when they choose Christine O’Donnell to run.
Meanwhile the south will be reliably red after this election.
So the battle comes down to Pennsylvania and the Midwest. The New York Times has profiled a number of congressional races where Irish candidates, with names like Toomey, FitzPatrick, Murphy, and Donnelly are competing fiercely to swing the election into their political camp.
How those races will go will define the fate of the house and perhaps the senate. For Joe Biden in particular, it must be galling to contemplate that the control of the House and possibly the senate will slip away because of a failure to hold his own Catholic base
Moving to Ireland
After living in Ireland for almost one year, this is what I’ve learned