At Last…

…it will be over tomorrow.
I’ll make no predictions about the outcome of the election. Nate Silver is better at that than I am. I just hope he is right. And of course, it is the down ballot races that will really matter, and I expect ALEC and the Right to continue to make big gains in the state houses (with disastrous consequences in the coming years) because the Democrats and progressives still aren’t paying enough attention to those races. Although the flip side of that is where I am now. I recently moved to DuPage County, IL, which is as Republican as Chicago’s Cook County is Democratic. Yet with the most recent redistricting by our Democratic controlled state house (a growing rarity) the suburb I am in now will have a Democratic congressman for the first time probably in my lifetime. The clever new district goes from where I am and winds into Chicago ending at the lakefront just a couple miles from where I used to live. It makes me glad enough in the moment, though I believe district gerrymandering is one of the most undemocratic things we do in our political system. I mean, how is it a democracy when the congressmen get to choose their voters rather than the other way around?
I digress. Though I will make no predictions about tomorrow’s outcomes, I will make very confident predictions of how each party will spin it if they lose–and they would both be wrong. Still, I’m confident that is how they will react, because they do not learn from history, and because it is how they always respond.
If the Democrats should lose and we face a president Romney, the Democrats and the left will conclude it happened because they did not tack far enough to the center, because they did not give in enough to compromise with the Right. They will conclude they lost because the country has just moved to the right. And as always when they conclude that, they would be wrong. If they lose it will be because once in office they abandoned too many of the progressive ideas that won them the White House in 2008 and in doing so lost the enthusiasm of their core voters. They have cracked down on medical pot, they haven’t closed Gitmo, they keep talking like they’re willing to gut social security, they bailed out the banks without any constraints, they did not help those whose mortgages were under water, they continued to put the interests of power and money ahead of the interests of people. And for that the Democrats do have the harder task, because if they do not do that, they would get completely destroyed in spending and would likely lose anyway. Still, one could hope that at some point they would realize they lose enthusiasm because they abandon their principles, and not because the voters decided that yes, the wealthiest among us do deserve another tax break, and we, the middle class and poor, should be doing more to pay for those tax cuts. Yes, I exaggerate for effect. And it isn’t nearly as much of an exaggeration as I wish it was.
Let’s hope that isn’t the scenario we face on Wednesday, and rather we get to see how the Republicans spin their loss. The real reason they will lose is that they have become too extreme, giving in to the most radical parts of their party, ousting mainstream candidates in primaries in favor of true extremists. Candidates like Cruz, Mourdock, Akin, etc. are so far right they almost make the original tea partiers of four years ago look quaint. So, if there was any sanity left in the party they would conclude that they lost because they went too far to the right, gave in too much to the extremes of their party, abandoning the majority of the country. And of course that is not what they will conclude. Rather, as they always do, they will conclude they lost because they did not have a true conservative as a candidate. They will throw Romney under the bus by Friday, and say that if only they’d had a real conservative they would have won. If only Ryan had been on top of the ticket, if only Santorum had gotten the nomination. And in a way it may not be bad that they conclude this. For though it would make the reality of such a candidate becoming president unimaginably destructive to the country, it also makes a Republican victory less likely.
In short, if the Democrats lose, they will conclude it was because they doubled down on their beliefs, when in reality they did no such thing. And if the Republicans lose, they will conclude it was because they did not double down on their ideology, even though that is exactly what they did.

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About JP

We're two guys who met in college, in 1980. We've stayed in touch, and like to talk politics, current events, music and religion. JP is nore liberal than Sid, but not in every way. We figure that dialogue stimulates ideas, moderates perspective, and is in general friendly. These are things we need badly in these dangerous times. The blog name is taken from a song by Bruce Cockburn.
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