“The Midterms are Tightening!!” As Moe Lane writes, it’s a safe bet we’ll see plenty of these sorts of articles next month:
While I’m on the subject of predictions, here’s a quiet one: some time in September Nate Silver is going to announce his new House model, which will ‘amaze’ him with all the good news for Congressional Democrats that he’s getting from it. I further predict that Silver will predict total House losses of… about 27 net seats for the Democrats: 40 Democrat and 13 Republican flips would be the number that I would use if I wanted to go with maximum galvanization of progressives, so let’s go with that. This announcement will spill out via the New York Times and will be swiftly seized upon by the rest of the professional media: we will get three weeks or so of smug, congratulatory, and above all deeply relieved articles about the Democrats’ second wind… and it will not move the needle a hair’s-breath.
But it will keep liberals giving money and time to the Democratic leadership, so: Mission Accomplished.
PS: I got the 2006 and 2008 election trends wrong. So, by all means: have as much salt with that as you want.
That’s a trend that’s still ongoing as of the time we’re posting this: rounding up last night’s results, MSNBC, the home of cool and crisp anchors such as Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews, and frequent guest Janeane Garofalo blurts, “Anger trumps accomplishments.”
Speaking of anger, get ready for two months worth of increasingly desperate October Surprises, which candidates might want to start either wargaming for, mentioning in speeches ahead of time to reduce their impact, or both. As George Will wrote in September of 2003, during the California recall election:
Can the tone of the recall campaign get worse? Just wait. Ken Khachigian, a veteran Republican strategist, warns that Schwarzenegger should brace himself for what has become the Democrats’ trademark tactic. In football it is penalized as a “late hit,” but in politics it is often rewarded with success. George W. Bush received such a hit in the final weekend of the 2000 campaign — the revelation of his drunk driving arrest 24 years earlier. That probably contributed to an unusual development: Late-deciding voters, who usually break against the incumbent party, broke for Vice President Gore in 2000.
California Republicans have experienced late hits three times in the past 11 years. In 1992 Bruce Herschensohn narrowly lost a Senate race against Barbara Boxer when it was revealed on the Friday before the election that he and his girlfriend and another couple had visited a strip club. In 1994 Michael Huffington narrowly lost a Senate race against Feinstein when, a few days before the election, it was revealed that he had hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny. In 1998 Darrell Issa — he is now a congressmen; his $1.6 million funding of the recall petition drive produced this recall election — lost a Senate primary when it was revealed that he had embellished his military record.
A late hit by the Davis campaign against Schwarzenegger cannot come so late that there is no time for another such hit, one against Davis’s other problem, Bustamante. This could get even uglier.
With a frightened left throughout the country, and with lots of center-right and conservative candidates to attack, rather than than just one or two as in gubernatorial and presidential elections before the Web effectively nationalized every election, look for “getting even uglier” to really go nationwide during the next two months.
Related: Hey, the EPA is certainly doing their part to help throw the election to the GOP!