Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I'm not really a "make-lemonade-out-of-lemons" type of guy. But if I were a Democrat, the election results would not necessarily provide me long-run comfort.

The Democratic nominee won just 52% of the popular vote (the first Democrat to receive over 50% of the popular vote since 1976) with an incredibly charismatic candidate who massively outspent his GOP rival, in the face of an incredibly unpopular GOP president, an unpopular war (supported enthusiastically by his GOP rival), a financial meltdown weeks before the election, and with a stagnating economy.

Plus, Obama had a well-honed get-out-to-vote system while McCain was unable to replicate Bush's 2004 effort, the enthusiastic support of much the MSM (and U.S. elites more generally), and McCain ran a campaign about on par with Dole's campaign against Clinton (in which Dole was drubbed, receiving about 41% of the vote).

The thing is, with all of these strong advantages, Obama still only won 52% of the popular vote. If it takes all of these things for a Democratic candidate to turn Virginia and Ohio blue, then woe to the Democrats, because it most likely ain't going to happen again.

That being said, I think Republican arrogance -- especially in Congress -- has lead to the massive, repeated defeats there. And I fear that the fact that they can prove as incompetent as they've been and still attract levels of support that they do, will do little to dispel that arrogance. I think the GOP desperately needs a new generation of leadership. It's difficult to see who's on the horizon who can sustain a coalition of sufficient size easily to turn VA and Ohio back to the GOP column. I do think that McCain was the strongest Republican running this season. But that wasn't a high threshold.

Still, I think all of this stuff about the results of the presidential election hearkening to a new majority coalition is little more than wishful thinking. The numbers seem to me still to favor the Republicans in general.


Blogger CPA said...

Mitch Daniels won a second term in Indiana. Ross Douthat points to him as a possible rising star.

November 05, 2008 8:44 AM  
Blogger CPA said...

Oops, that was Reihan Salam:

Go here:

November 05, 2008 8:46 AM  

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