15 October 2010

Republican tidal wave? Not so fast!

Has the party of WWW (wanking, witchcraft, Waffen-SS) actually teabagged away its chances of a Congressional landslide? Eighteen days before the election, here are the portents:

In the Senate, where every seat is critical, Republican primary voters in Delaware threw away a sure-fire win. O'Donnell is a joke, and I know of no serious assessment which gives her any real chance of victory. Nevada is now too close to call, but that in itself is telling; Reid is unpopular even with Democrats, and a moderate Republican is heavily favored for Governor. Teabaggerdom's nomination of Angle turned another Republican sure thing into a nail-biter. Connecticut, too, has been moving our way, perhaps due to McMahon's minimum-wage gaffe. Even FiveThirtyEight, which had lately been throwing cold water on Democratic hopes, has begun to take note of shifts in several states.

One Senate race clearly taking a turn for the worse is Florida, where Rubio has a widening lead. He's never reached 50%, and the race could still be salvaged if either Crist or Meek were to drop out in order to avoid splitting the liberal/centrist vote; given the ego and ambition of politicians, however, that's unlikely to happen.

In the contentious threesome up in Alaska, spurned pro-choice Republican Murkowski is within striking distance of teabagger Miller. If she wins, the outcome will be the same as if Miller had not been in the race -- except that some serious bad blood will have been created between her and the party.

Make no mistake -- every race counts. Even assuming that the Democrats retain their Senate majority, the margin matters. The more they perceive themselves as retaining a mandate, the better the odds that the timorous leadership will dredge up enough guts to change the Senate rules and abolish the filibuster for 2011.

As for the House, here are a few tight races to watch -- and, as with the Senate, the Republicans are plagued by a sprinkling of nutters such as Iott.

Another perennial problem for the right is hypocrisy. Whitman's campaign for Governor of California has been badly damaged by revelations about her illegal-alien housekeeper, despite attempts to downplay the issue.

There's also the issue of how accurate the polls are. Phone polls which exclude cell phones create a slight Republican bias (larger than in the past as one-fourth of US households now have no land line), and voting by mail creates other complications. Don't read too much into this; people who persuade themselves that polls they don't like are wrong usually end up getting smacked across the face by reality on election day. But with many races so close, even a couple of points' worth of bias could make a difference.

Make no mistake -- we are going to see some losses. The party holding power almost always does in mid-term elections. But the Republicans are salivating for a blow-out. Anything less will feel like a disappointment -- perhaps stinging enough to force the right into a long-overdue confrontation with the toxic extremists in its midst, while the Democrats retain enough power to get on with moving the country forward and cleaning up the awful messes left by the last period of right-wing rule.


Blogger Sue said...

I'm feeling more optimistic with each passing day. I don't believe we will see the tidal wave the right is boasting about. I hope they get slapped in their smug faces HARD!

Will the teabaggers come to grips with the fact they don't have a majority of the country backing their extreme views? We'll see, but I don't expect them to die off quite yet, we still have 2012.

15 October, 2010 06:51  
Blogger Lisa G. said...

Harry was awful in that debate against Angle; it's almost like he wants to lose. He was about as effective in that debate as he is in the Senate.

15 October, 2010 10:03  
Blogger Jack Jodell said...

Contrary to what the MSM are hoping this will not be a runaway Tea Party victory. We are NOT that stupid a people and our memories are NOT that short!

15 October, 2010 19:53  
Anonymous rita said...

IMO, crazy Art Robinson, who is running for office in my district is stimulating the saner side of the population to get out there & vote.
Robinson Interview w/Rachel Maddow

My theory is, people realize it's NOT politics as usual when a candidate, so off the wall as Robinson is, actually has a chance of winning.
That should get them off their butts!

Sanity prevails...right?

16 October, 2010 08:39  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Sue: The Republicans are counting on their usual stable of religious fanatics, LIVs ("low-information voters"), and people who reflexively blame the party in power for whatever isn't going well, without bothering to check who's actually responsible.

Lisa G: No one seems to like Reid much. He's not equipped to win, but Angle is well equipped to lose.

JJ: I think the party of WWW is going to be disappointed.

Rita: Sanity prevails...right?

About 51% of the time, I think. Let's hope the loons can scare the apathetic to the polls.

16 October, 2010 11:01  

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