Politics & Policy

Nevada Senate (Initial) Autopsy Report

Sharron Angle is not going to be the next senator from Nevada.

The country’s most symbolic and closely watched contest was called for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid early Wednesday evening, a win he pulled off despite extremely high negatives and the dismal state of the state economy.

With roughly 60 percent of the precincts reporting, Reid led by a margin of 50 to 45 percent. That margin narrowed briefly, then widened again. Fox News called the election for Reid; other national outlets soon followed; the victory speech came at just before 11 p.m.

This wasn’t Reid’s first rodeo, but as electoral battles go, he said, “I have to admit, this has been one of the toughest.”

Nearly every pre-election poll showed Angle with a small lead. Some said she was surging. They were wrong.

Some questioned the survey samples and poll results. They were right.

In the end, Angle was beaten by her own negatives — somewhat self-created but also driven up by a relentless and ruthless Reid campaign — along with a notable lack of support from numerous prominent Republicans, and the state Democratic Party’s get-out-the-vote machine.  

The Tea Party vs. Democratic Establishment face-off was intense. In the end, Reid defeated the grassroots-funded grandmother from Reno and re-proved that messaging matters.

The Reid campaign set out to define Angle as an extremist in the six post-primary weeks during which she was scrambling to raise money and hire a staff. It largely succeeded, and at times Angle helped them along with past and present impolitic statements that were featured in campaign ads. Undoubtedly, Angle wishes she could take back a pre-primary interview or five.

It is never easy or entirely graceful when a candidate who is comfortable well to the right on the political spectrum has to slide to the center for the general election. Angle was less artful at it than many, in part because she often said exactly what was on her mind first and answered questions later. 

Or not.

Angle’s avoidance of the media made said media rather unhappy, but it may also have disappointed some voters who were looking to her to step up, step out, and speak plainly, no matter which reporter’s microphone was in front of her.

None of this absolves Team Reid from running a scorched-earth campaign that sometimes painted Angle as so far to the right she had fallen off the planet.

Angle won the only debate, but apparently it did not make enough of a difference.

Reid will return to Washington the victor.

Most Popular

Film & TV

A Sad Finale

Spoilers Ahead. Look, I share David’s love of Game of Thrones. But I thought the finale was largely a bust, for failings David mostly acknowledges in passing (but does not allow to dampen his ardor). The problems with the finale were largely the problems of this entire season. Characters that had been ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... Read More

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More
Film & TV

Game of Thrones: A Father’s Legacy Endures

Warning! If you don't want to read any spoilers from last night's series finale of Game of Thrones, stop reading. Right now. There is a lot to unpack about the Thrones finale, and I fully understand many of the criticisms I read on Twitter and elsewhere. Yes, the show was compressed. Yes, there were moments ... Read More