Politics & Policy

A Political Gettysburg

The Dems try to win, against the odds.

We’re witnessing the political equivalent of Gettysburg. The Democrats needed to win this election to turn their prospects around. They needed the White House to win back the Supreme Court. They needed a pliable Senate to water down or halt the House Republicans. They failed, utterly.

The Democrats and all of their institutions (the media, academia, unions, Hollywood, etc.) threw everything they had into this election. Their 527s outspent the Right. They knocked Nader off a vast number of ballots. They juiced turnout to unprecedented levels. They created documentaries. The lied about the draft. They lied about their candidate. They lied about stolen munitions. They fabricated memos. They even got an assist from the now completely discredited exit polls.

And they lost.

Now, it appears they’re launching a political Pickett’s charge. On one side is a President and a party that is likely to have won the popular vote outright, have an Electoral College edge and wide Senate and House majorities. On the other are the Democrat’s shock troops–their lawyers–preparing to mount an unpopular and unsavory assault on the electoral result and the Right.

And, just like Pickett’s charge, the Democrats will fail, because the terrain they’re attacking is simply too difficult. Ohio is controlled, completely, by Republicans–in the statehouse, in the secretary of state’s office, in the governor’s mansion. And that’s just the political terrain. The Democrats will also run counter to public opinion and the obvious perception that Bush is the clear winner nationally.

Once the Democrats have lost this ill-fated adventure, they will face the cold, hard truth that Bush and the Republicans won’t be interested in conciliatory measures or bipartisan cooperation. They’ll face difficult fights over Supreme Court justices, Social Security reform, spending, taxes, and hopefully paycheck protection, election reform, and possibly even a supermajority requirement for tax increases.

They’ll have to come to grips with the fact that rural and evangelical voters and residents of the booming exurbs are forming their own powerful coalition, that talk radio and Fox News and bloggers are replacing their networks, and that the Solid South is now a fortress. They’ll review the data and find that Wisconsin and Minnesota will soon become the Ohio-backup for the GOP.

After fighting so hard for this victory, they’ll face a president bent on driving his advantage and making history. They’ll face a party that fought too hard not to seize the initiative.

Robert Moran is a vice president at the Republican polling firm Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates. He is an NRO contributor.

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