Unemployment will make or break Democrats


here is no doubt that Republicans will pick up seats in Congress- poll numbers and political history make it a certainty-  but there are some things Democrats can do to mitigate their losses.

First, Democrats must create jobs. The most important issue for voters during economic downturns has always been and will always be the economy. Simply put, how high or low unemployment is come November will be the primary determinant of how many seats the Democrats lose.

Second, Democrats must take demonstrable steps to reduce the deficit and help pay off the debt in order to win the support of independents. It’s no secret that independents often cast the deciding votes in elections. Their concerns should thus be a primary concern of parties that wish to win elections.

Republicans have taken the lead on this issue and are positioning themselves as the party of fiscal responsibility. They point to both the stimulus bill and the health care bill as examples of fiscal irresponsibility on behalf of the Democrats.

Third, Democrats must pass financial reform that will help prevent another crisis, like the one we just experienced, from occurring again. It has now been two years since the crisis began. Congress has had plenty of time to consider the issue and voters expect them to enact reforms.

Finally, Democrats must engender bipartisan support for at least one major bill. The best chance they have of doing this is on a financial reform bill. Many Republicans have already claimed that they agree with a majority of the bill proposed by Sen. Dodd and may be willing to vote for it with only a few changes. A bipartisan financial reform bill would help ease the public’s concern that the current Congress is too partisan and thus help create a more pro-incumbent atmosphere.

Thomas Prieto is a senior majoring in political science. He may be contacted at tprieto@themiamihurricane.com.