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Explaining the Expectations Gap

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I got a bunch of e-mails during the top-of-the-hour break about the point that I made that I haven't seen any Republican Party messaging. "This is what we stand for. This is who we are. This is how things are gonna change if you vote for us. This is what we're gonna stop. This is what we're gonna do. We believe in lower taxes. We believe in securing the border."  Whatever it is, I don't see any of that, and I got a bunch of e-mails from people, "Hey, Rush, that's right, but I don't see any from the Democrats, either." 

And I said, "Now, wait just a second."  And I paused, mentally, and I pondered that, and there may be some truth to that.  I know what the Democrats do.  They're doing it.  I know what they're going to do if they keep winning because they're doing it.  The Democrats telegraph who they are every day, ideologically.  Now, they may not be packaging it officially in campaign ads and this kind of thing, and maybe my superior knowledge and understanding of these people just makes me think that they do package themselves because I know them so well. But I had to stop and think about it, and they're not doing so, either, really, other than the fact they're in power and governing and are implementing what they believe. 

I mean, that's a hard, cold reality that, for some of us, is impossible to miss.  But for the low-information crowd out there, is clueless.  Now, the Democrats, the Democrat Party is a disease.  The Democrat Party is poison.  The Democrat Party could not win if they were up front about what they intend to do.  But they never are.  Snerdley, what I'm talking about, the Democrats, in the Obama campaign we're gonna lower the sea levels. The earth was gonna heal. They were gonna take care of women because Republicans are engaged in a war against them.  They do get specific with that. 

They don't get specific and honest about their agenda, but they present one.  And the Republicans aren't.  And, to me, you know, I think it's a win-win.  I happen to believe that more Americans live their lives as traditional Americans always have, in a conservative sense, not just political, but culturally, morally, I think it's why the country's still got a chance.  But they need to be supported.  People need to know that they're in the majority in the way they think.  Right now too many people in the majority of thinking think that they're a dwindling minority, and I would think the Republican Party would want to do something about that. 

But then the Republican Party, when it comes to, let's say one issue, amnesty, they're all for it just like the Democrats are, and they've caught some hell by being public about that.  More and more what's happening is that all of these consultants and the people that run the PACs and raise money and put together the TV ads, they seem to be the ones who are defining what a party is for, and what it stands for, and that can change from candidate to candidate. 

Now, about this expectations business.  This is this is kind of in the weeds, but I'm gonna mention it 'cause there's two things here.  First up, from yesterday is a story from the Pew Research Center, and the headline is:  "Republicans Open Up Wider 'Expectations Gap' Ahead of Midterms."  It's a survey based on Republicans will be more optimistic that 2014 will be better for them. So it's really a survey of optimism and attitudes and expectations.  Now, I know this sounds kind of esoteric, but stick with me on this for just a second. 

"With just over two months before the midterm elections, Republican voters are widening the 'expectations gap' with the Democrats. About six-in-ten (61%) Republican and GOP-leaning registered voters think their party will do better than in recent elections -- roughly double the share of Democrats (32%) who feel similarly about their party’s chances."

So to boil this down, 61% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters think they are going to clean up.  Only 32% of Democrats think they're gonna clean up.  Now, "This gap has not reached the same levels of the GOP’s margin before their large 2010 gains or the Democrats’ expectations in their 2006 sweep of both houses of Congress." But it's close.  The Republican expectations gap is very close to what it was in the 2010 midterms.  This could be why there isn't any polling, although there's two groups of pollsters. 

You would have Republican pollsters who'd be polling for their candidates, and they probably are, but not releasing any results, and then you'd have the national pollsters, the ABC/Washington Post, the CBS/New York Times, NBC/Wall Street Journal, they're not releasing any polling results.  We can only conclude from that that there aren't any that are favorable to the Democrats or Obama, so they're not gonna go there.  And absent any polling data, there's not any discussion about a wave election, because the media's become so dependent on polls. 

In polite terms I'd say it's a shame.  In street lingo, it's outrageous.  It's just absurd, the degree to which polls have now become ways of making news and shaping public opinion rather than the false reporting that accompanies them, which is, "This is a reflection of public opinion." 

That's not why people do polls anymore.  Well, they do; the internal people poll to find out what's going on, but the Drive-By polls are really meant to shape public opinion.  And if you have a set of polls that show, for example, a huge Republican wave election, there's no way you're gonna release 'em.  And if you think that's what your poll's gonna show, there's no way you would even take it.  So you won't even be accused of hiding your results; you don't even have any. 

So then we come back to expectations.  Okay, why does that matter?  What the hell is this?  Well, let's go to Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post today.  He writes the following:  "Republicans Think They Are Headed to a Big Victory This Fall. Does that matter? -- Yes, Republicans are much more convinced that they are headed for a win on Nov. 4 than are Democrats." I think he's bouncing off this Pew survey.  "But," he writes, "Republicans were also convinced that they were going to beat President Obama in 2012. And that didn't work out so well.  So, do expectations -- high or not -- matter? The answer is they can -- especially in a midterm election."  Thinking you can or will win can help the turnout, especially in midterms, which are very dependent on turnout. 

So the point that Cillizza's making is that this expectation gap could very well manifest itself in a huge Republican turnout advantage.  Republicans expect they're gonna win big because they assume everybody's gonna be out voting against what's going on.  So that's why this expectations gap is even relevant today, because it's all part of the context here that we're exploring, why there aren't any polls.  And why, therefore, there is no discussion of a wave election that might manifest itself for the Republicans.  And then, we're back to the same old thing:  Why aren't the Republicans contrasting themselves with the status quo?  Not against the theory of what will happen if the Democrats win; the Republicans can say, "Look what did happen, look what has happened, and we're gonna stop it." 

But they're not saying it.  I know what it is.  The consultants and others have convinced elected Republicans that anything like that is gonna be construed by voters as partisan, and voters don't want partisan.  Oh, no, no, no, no.  Voters want politicians to get along, don't you know.  Voters want them to work together.  The voters are tired of politics.  The voters are tired of partisanship.  The voters are really, really tired of all the arguing and the bickering.  So don't tell anybody that you disagree with Obama.  Don't tell anybody you disagree with the Democrats.  No, no, no.  Because that's just gonna scare the moderates and the independents, and they're gonna vote Democrat.  And in this way, I think consultants and handlers and all these PAC people can end up paralyzing a party.

I don't like this assumptions game.  I have tell you, I don't like this expectations game.  This expectations game can backfire on you.  For example, if you are relying on this expectations gap for a big turnout, well, what if so many of your voters expect to win big, they decide they don't have to go vote.  Since everybody's gonna be voting, you know what?  I don't have to worry about it.  I think it can work to suppress turnout. 

Now, what about the old saw that we always hear when the election season actually begins, from candidates and parties alike?  That you have to give people reason to vote for you, because if you don't, you're not gonna have a mandate after you win.  If all you do is win as the opposition, well, you can conclude that the voters want you to do the opposite of what's going on, but that may not be the case.  The Republicans found that out not long after 1994, if we want to be honest with ourselves.  Back in 1994, the Republicans, Mr. Newt and the gang, made the mistake of assuming that this massive win of the House for the first time in 40 years meant that there had been a transformation within the country, within the population of liberal to conservative. 

The assumption was then, everybody voted, voted because the Contract with America and knew exactly what the Republicans were gonna do and fully supported it, and it turned out that wasn't the case.  There was just genuine anger, and people were fed up with the corruption and all the other things going on in the Democrat Party.  There was the House bank scandal and the post office.  Plus, there was a lot of anti-Clinton sentiment at the time in the 1992, '93, '94 campaign, midterms.  And so the Republicans stopped teaching, they stopped explaining why they were doing what they were doing, and they were set up.  The Democrats and the media immediately just laid into 'em as typical conservative, racist, sexist, bigots.

originalAnd then we got, it wasn't very long after that, Republicans wanted to starve kids by cutting and eliminating the school lunch program.  And the Republicans didn't know what hit 'em, 'cause they're sitting there thinking the country has shifted and moved in their favor.  So this business of not offering, not explaining what you stand for, and not giving yourself a mandate -- now, I know there's no mandate, per se, here because there's no national election taking place, there's no presidential election.  That's where mandates come from.  I understand all that.  Where I'm coming from, I think, especially right now, six years into this mess, I think a very artful, honest, heartfelt explanation of who we are and what we believe and what we want to do, would result in its own landslide. 

Now, I understand that any time this is tried, the media is gonna launch and call conservatives liars.  I know it's a battlefield out there.  And it's clear that the decision has been made not to hit the battlefield.  We're gonna let the PACs take the field and we're gonna let the consultants take the field and we're gonna let individual House and Senate candidates define.  We're not gonna take the field.  And I don't know.  I just think it's a missed opportunity.  But I happen to believe in what we stand for, folks.  That's why I'm not afraid of it.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, let me give you some interesting stats.  You know, there was an election in Florida yesterday.  Were you aware of that?  There was a primary, and Charlie Crist is trying to reemerge up against Governor Rick Scott.  Well, wait 'til you hear some of these numbers.  Are you ready?  In the primary here in Florida yesterday, Governor Scott, Republican, got 217,000 more votes than Charlie Crist.  And, are you ready?  Overall 127,000 more Republicans voted Tuesday that Democrats, even though Democrats outnumber the Republicans in registration by 455,000. 

So there are 455,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in Florida.  Rick Scott gets 217,000 more votes than a former -- was he ever governor? Yeah, that's right, governor, attorney general, Crist, the George Hamilton tan guy.  The point is that there was huge Republican turnout, exactly what the expert thinking is: stay away, don't do anything, just let people vote. And 127,000 more Republicans voted than Democrats. 

(interruption) But, I know, that's the other side of it.  Rick Scott has not been on the sideline.  Rick Scott has been working the state.  He has been campaigning, and he has been explaining what he's gonna do.  He's got a track record, there's no question, got a good record.  But still, the numbers here on turnout go to that story from Pew on the expectations gap.  

END TRANSCRIPT

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