Lincoln’s Been Thinkin’
Mike Crowley at The New Republic puts Lincoln Chafee’s dilemma in context: These days, Chafee’s life is one heavy load after another. Arguably Washington’s chief Republican heretic, Chafee was alone among Senate Republicans in opposing the Iraq war resolution and one of two against the 2001 Bush tax cuts; last month, he joined two other ...
Mike Crowley at The New Republic puts Lincoln Chafee's dilemma in context:
Mike Crowley at The New Republic puts Lincoln Chafee’s dilemma in context:
These days, Chafee’s life is one heavy load after another. Arguably Washington’s chief Republican heretic, Chafee was alone among Senate Republicans in opposing the Iraq war resolution and one of two against the 2001 Bush tax cuts; last month, he joined two other Republican moderates in voting against his party’s annual budget resolution. But lately, he’s been trying to make some amends with the party he has spent the past few years needling. That’s because Chafee faces a rough reelection campaign next year. And he understands that, without the help of the very Republicans he infuriates, he could be toast.
The only problem is, Rhode Island Republicans aren’t as conservative as the Republican base, and Chafee has also won in a blue state because he’s been moderate enough to win Democratic and independent votes. If you’re looking for incumbent senators who’ll get voted out, I think he’s high on the list. The Bolton vote won’t be a campaign issue, but a pattern of placating his own party could be. Crowley identifies
an understanding among Democrats that their road back to a Senate majority probably requires them to take on Republican moderates about whom they feel a reservoir of goodwill. Just as the GOP has steadily knocked off conservative Southern Democrats, even those willing to work with them on occasion, Democratic strategists say they must do the same.
All of which is to say that realignment could be continuing. For years we saw states that went GOP in presidential elections still reelecting popular Democratic senators, and vice-versa. As the parties become more ideologically uniform, that may be coming to an end.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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