Asymmetrical Political Warfare
Commenting on Noah Scheiber’s undue fear of a McCain victory, Ramesh states that if McCain wins liberals will win policy fights 50% of the time, whereas if Obama wins they will win policy fights 90% of the time.
I don’t disagree that the left has less to lose if McCain wins than conservatives do if Obama wins. But the one area that narrows the difference somewhat is judicial appointments, especially the Supreme Court. There’s a fair probability that the next three Supreme Court vacancies will occur on the liberal side of the bench. If McCain gets to make those picks, even with an expanded Democratic majority in the senate, there’s a good probability that at least one of the nominees will be a young conservative. That means for the first time in eons there will be a true conservative majority on the Court. And if two young conservatives squeak through, it could mean a conservative Court for a generation. Given how much liberals depend upon the judicial branch for policy gains, that might be enough to keep Scheiber up at night.
Of course, the calculus shifts if one of the next vacancies comes from the conservative side of the Court or if the Democrats gain a filibuster proof majority and exercise same.