Polswatch

Outlining a Progressive Future

Major Development for 2010 – Arlen Spector Switches Sides

It a major coup for the Democrats in the United States, Republican Senator Arlen Specter has today announced that he will be switching parties and will now become a member of and run in the 2010 primary for the Democratic Party. Specter has recently fallen under immense pressure from within the Republican Party as primary challenger Pat Toomey looked certain to beat him in the 2010 primary vote. Toomey launched his bid against Specter just weeks ago and looked certain to gain victory in a state that’s Republican Party has recently taken a sharp turn to the right as hoards of moderates have fled to join the Democrats. This left the moderate, but popular (state wide), Specter extremely vulnerable to his conservative challenger and almost certain to lose. Specter stated this shift to the right as his main reason for switching parties.

The move, with the almost certain victory in Minnesota for Al Franken will give the Democrats the magic 60 Senators, a number that ensures that they can now overcome a Republican filibuster and pass any required legislation. This means that Democrats now will technically not have to deal with the Republican Party in any way in the Senate and will be able to pass a large number of the sweeping changes that they desire. Although the Democrats must be careful with this increase in power, this provides a great opportunity for them to continue to push their more left wing agenda in the next two years.

This must be a big wake up call for the Republicans in the US. With the continued rightward shift of the party it looks almost certain that these sorts of shifts from moderates will continue to occur. Whilst this isn’t likely to occur in Congress (as there are very few moderates left) it will almost certainly continue to occur with the general voting population. Candidates such as Pat Toomey are popular with conservative voters, but are simply far too decisive and to the right of a population that is taking a left turn. Arlen Specter is just doing what millions of voters around the country have done in the past years in the United States and rejected the far right agenda of the Republican Party. I am almost certain that if the party continues with this far right agenda through supporting candidates such as Pat Toomey that they will face continued destruction in 2010. 

Read more at my previous post on ‘Will the Republicans Continue to Crumble in 2010’ and at the Tally Room and Daily Kos

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April 28, 2009 - Posted by | Analysing the Right, Monitering the Left | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. People are making too much of this. From what I can see, the Specter switch is ultimately just a cynical ploy by the man to keep his job. Meanwhile the Democrats sell themselves down the river and effectively shanghai all the aspiring Democrats in the state by denying a fair primary. This kind of thing grinds my gears – if Specter truly was defecting because of philosophical differences as he states, then he would have done what Smith, Liberman and Jeffords before him did – become an independent.

    The 60 votes thing is a mirage anyway. The Democrats are still carrying senators like Ben Nelson who is virtually a Republican, and a handful of other senators who won’t vote to invoke cloture on certain issues like Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor. And on the biggest issue to come up this year so far, health reform, it looks like Obama is going to use the reconciliation process (which everyone bitched about during the Bush years) to bypass a tough senate vote anyway. Though it is undeniable that 60 votes is symbolically important and makes procedural motions easier.

    Bit of a rant there, clearly the morning news has put a bee in my bonnet.

    Comment by Matt L | April 29, 2009 | Reply

  2. This is a great discussion on this issue:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2009/04/29/smerconish_perino_gergen_begala_on_specter.html

    Comment by simon2013 | April 29, 2009 | Reply


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