I expect the Virginia race to play out in that all-too-familiar way: The evening starts with a tease for a surprising GOP upset, then a slow attrition of the Republican lead as the liberal population centers report all of their votes. I will be delighted to be proven wrong, but I think McAuliffe will still pull this out in the end. That said, it looks like it will be a lot closer than expected.
Still, it will be interesting to see how the press spins the role of Obamacare in the surprise tightening in the last couple weeks. So far on CNN and MSNBC the pre-mortem is all about the shortcomings of the tea parties, the “war on women,” etc. (though the huge power of the Clinton brand seems to have fallen out of the conversation for the moment). I’m not saying those are completely unworthy subjects. But there’s a noticeable lack of discussion about how things got close at the end and why. It seems to me the PR disaster of Obamacare and Cuccinelli’s exploitation of it had to play a significant role in that. The MSM is probably not the place to look for the really interesting reaction, though. They’ve already written most of their “Why Cuccinelli lost” scripts. But the reaction from Democrats might be interesting. They saw McAuliffe’s double-digit lead (in at least the Washington Post poll) shrink to single digits as the Obamacare debacle grew. Obviously, with two flawed candidates running two flawed campaigns, it’s possible to draw all sorts of conclusions from this race. But politicians tend to focus on the issues that affect their own reelection prospects. And so far tonight, Obamacare is not looking like much of an asset for Democrats.