The Corner

Downside of GOP Victory

The downside of a Democratic victory? Why, Speaker Pelosi, and all that jazz, of course. Yet with the polls tightening, fairness now requires that we think through the negative consequences of a Republican victory. In a word, the problem is anger. A last-minute Republican retention of both houses would mean a huge spike in liberal anger. And that would spell trouble.

For one thing, we might see profanity at liberal web-sites. That may seem unlikely. After all, liberalism is historically characterized by an affinity for reasoned discourse and fair procedure. Yet my fear is that the level of anger consequent on a last-minute Democratic loss could lead at least a few left-leaning bloggers to deploy curse words. That would significantly erode the web’s reputation for civility.

Another concern, real if remote, is that liberal anger could escalate to the point where significant portions of the country actually began to root for American failure in war. Implausible? Yes. But not inconceivable. And in its train, this shift in attitude could lead to efforts to bar military recruiters from our schools–perhaps even the banning of an organization like the ROTC from our finest college campuses. At its extremes, however unlikely it may sound, this sort of anger might yield active efforts to prevent conservatives from teaching, or even speaking, at our finest universities.

In short, a Republican win means the classic notion that “politics stops at the water’s edge” could someday become a thing of the past. In a worst-case scenario, the anger of the Democratic left could escalate to the point where we see aggressive efforts to purge national Democratic leaders who publicly express support for America’s war effort.

No doubt, there are those who will dismiss all this as implausible scare-mongering. Profanity at liberal political websites, Democrats rooting for America to lose a war, the end of open and fair exchange on America’s college campuses, efforts to stop military recruitment, suicidal infighting over foreign policy in the party of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman: I admit that it all sounds implausible. It certainly bears little resemblance to the America that once was. Nonetheless, I greatly fear that a last-minute Republican victory could usher in some or all of these consequences. So before you push that lever, think long and hard about the dangers of a Republican win.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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