Politico points to dismal results for Republicans in Massachusetts as a good indication that Scott Brown might not be a Senator much longer. But a post by NRO’s Jim Geraghty recounting some intelligence from New England indicates that it may be more than the Bay State’s penchant for Democrats at play.
Geraghty’s source talks about the unified effort that Democrats and their organized labor allies made in contacting nearly a million voters to stave off another Brown-esque upset. But the phenomenon is not exclusive to Massachusetts. For example, in Nevada, Washington, and Colorado Democrats defended vulnerable Senate seats by outperforming opinion polls that showed either a tie or a Republican advantage.
When Brown won his election, it had much to do with enthused Republican activists (nationally as well as in Massachusetts) sensing an opportunity and paying lots of attention to the race by making phone calls or going door to door to recruit voters. In past midterm elections, the the Republican 72-hour Task Force would do the necessary grunt work to get voters to the polls. That effort was missing this year – and nothing takes it’s place in 2012, Brown may not be the only Republican Senator in trouble.
The left is looking for a savior, and Jon Stewart is in town.
The Big Daddy co-star’s Rally to Restore Sanity, along with famed Congressional witness Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Fear, descends upon Washington DC this weekend just before the election. Many are hoping this event – which figures to be huge, both here in DC and in satellite rallies across the country – helps round up the Obama flock in a final push for the polls. That hope is misplaced, if only because of timing.
If the idea was really to organize and mobilize, the weekend before Election Day is far, far too late. When Glenn Beck and FreedomWorks held rallies in August and September, there were still months – months! – to go before election day. There were doors to knock on, voters to call, and independent friends and neighbors to convince. Those who attend this weekend’s rallies will surely vote, but aren’t likely to impact campaigns. (And even if they did, who’s to say that the Stewart/Colbert crowd will all be center-left oriented? I have plenty of right-leaning friends who are looking forward to the weekend.)
Stewart and Colbert can be pretty funny – especially Colbert, whose commitment to staying in character is nearly unparalleled among television comics. More than likely, their show will have more value as a comedy extravaganza than as a political movement.
Christine O’Donnell isn’t a witch. And she probably won’t be the next Senator from Delaware, either. That hasn’t stopped a wave of national media attention. From witchcraft to debate gaffes to media clashes to the now-famous Gawker story about an alleged one-night stand, every move O’Donnell makes seems to light up the DC pundit crowd.
Considering that O’Donnell is looking up at a 18 point deficit, her campaign really doesn’t deserve the attention. But in a time when coverage of every local election seems to include the context of national trends, Republicans could do worse.
In 2002, a tasteless pep rally over Paul Wellstone’s corpse is blamed soured many voters on Democrats and helped big Republican gains. In 2006, George Allen’s macaca moment and Mark Foley’s dalliances with 16-year-old-boys contributed to the narrative of Republicans as out-of-touch, scandal-prone, and fat with power – a theme which had been established by the Katrina debacle and the Iraq war losing popularity. Elections in 2004 and 2008 benefited from Presidential coattails.
Thanks to O’Donnell’s fumbling, stumbling campaign, CNN and MSNBC aren’t banging their drums about the romper stomper outside a Rand Paul rally. Keith Fimian’s unwise use of the 2006 Virginia Tech shootings to illustrate the need for gun rights may cost him a tight race, but it won’t save other endangered Virginia Democrats – or successfully paint Republicans as crazy gun-toting nut jobs in races nationwide.
Christine O’Donnell won’t win a Senate seat in Delaware, but her campaign may help Republican gains elsewhere.
(One side note on this Gawker deal: So this lurid story of a one-night stand comes from from someone is doing well enough in life that he wasn’t interested in sealing the deal with O’Donnell, but not so well that he was above accepting a “low four figures” payment for the story?)