The Odd Mutual Pessimism Between Democratic Elites and Conservative Grassroots
Rarely have we seen an election cycle where the Democratic elites and most of the mainstream media seem convinced a Republican landslide, or near-landslide, is imminent, while a lot of Republicans and conservatives aren’t so sure.
The signs of doom for Democrats are piling up like delayed flights in a thunderstorm . . .
The Washington Post’s Election Lab calculates there’s a 96 percent chance Republicans will control the Senate. (They calculate a 99 percent chance of winning the House.) They project GOP wins in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, and Louisiana; Democrats hold on in North Carolina and New Hampshire.
Nate Silver and the FiveThirtyEight crew give Republicans a 73 percent chance of winning a majority in the Senate. The New York Times gives the GOP “just” a 68 percent chance of winning a Senate majority.
The pollster for the Des Moines Register looked at Republican Joni Ernst’s 7-point lead in her poll unveiled Sunday and concluded, “This race looks like it’s decided.”
The early vote in Colorado shows that of the 1.1 million votes cast through Friday, 41 percent were by Republicans, 32 percent by Democrats, and 25 percent by voters not registered with either party. That’s a 104,000 vote margin that Mark Udall and John Hickenlooper have to overcome — not impossible, but a very tall order.
Just days before the midterm elections, Republican Senate candidates are in strong positions in three key Southern states [Kentucky, Georgia, and Louisiana] putting the GOP well within striking distance of regaining control of the upper chamber, according to brand-new NBC News/Marist polls.
Up in New Hampshire:
According to the survey, Brown’s at 49 percent and Shaheen’s at 48 percent. Brown’s one point margin is well within the poll’s sampling error, meaning the race is deadlocked. About three percent of those questioned said they were unsure or preferred someone else.
“This race is a complete toss-up,” said Wayne Lesperance, Professor of Political Science at New England College.
John Harwood of CNBC:
Dems haven’t given up hope of holding Senate but play seems to be Doug Flutie ricochet to Franco Harris bouncing to David Tyree-helmet-catch.”
Chicago Sun-Times: “With only two days to go, Democrats slipping in Senate contests.”
How intense is Democratic panic? Today the New York Times op-ed page features a piece entitled, “Cancel the Midterms.”
And yet, go to the comments section of Campaign Spot or any other political blog covering the elections, and you’ll find at least one guy saying some variation of “Eh, it doesn’t matter, the Democrats will just find a trunk full of extra ballots at midnight and steal the election.” Does voter fraud exist? Sure. Does it exist on a scale large enough to swing elections? Sure, particularly really close elections. Does this mean that the entire process of elections is a futile, rigged exercise, where conservatives would be better off staying home in silent protest? Heck no!
If there’s fraud, conservatives are better off showing up and going to the polling places to witness it — or serving as poll watchers whenever and wherever possible. If the voting machines are turning Republican votes to Democratic ones, then you have to show up and attempt to vote “Republican” to catch it!
Are these people with some sort of trauma from the 2012 results? Congenital pessimists? Or Democratic operatives attempting to depress the opposition?
This isn’t an insane reaction, mind you; conservatives have been disappointed on Election Night before and it will inevitably happen again some year. There are certainly some races that came along and surprised Republicans — they probably thought Thom Tillis would have an easier time getting a consistent lead in North Carolina, and Pat Roberts’ problems against the so-called “independent” in Kansas presented another tripwire. Things can and will go wrong.
But there are signs of . . . progress, to use an ironic term. From Harwood’s column:
In response, Democratic candidates lean on fundamental shifts in their party’s direction on social issues. But Republicans have deflected their “war on women” attacks more effectively than before.
There will be a lot of “lessons” to come out of this election cycle, but that may be one of the biggest.