Yes, yes, it’s not over until it’s over and the fat lady yodels because we don’t want to be this guy.
But being the Reality Based Community, the fact that we have to work hard all the way through Election Day doesn’t prevent us from noting that yes, we’re kind of kicking their butts.
Mitt Romney is a disaster. He’s the first Republican nominee in modern history to have higher negatives than positives (not even Bob Dole had that distinction). His every interaction with regular Americans (and heads of state, for that matter) has ended in an insult. He was a bully when he was younger, and he’s a bully now. Except that instead of shearing off people’s wrong-sized hair, he fires them. He speaks weird.
Pres. Barack Obama leads in Electoral College. Obama has opened up a four-point lead in the national polling, omitting Rasmussen (even though Rasmussen itself is now showing Obama ahead):
But that four-point national lead isn’t as relevant as the big electoral college advantage he currently enjoys.
It isn’t just Obama’s margin of victory in states adding up to 332 electoral votes (when he only needs 270 to win). It’s Romney’s numbers. Look at them closely. There are a lot of 42s and 43s and 44s. In fact, he only hits 46 percent in three of the 13 states. This, of course, speaks to the fact that no one likes Romney. And while the Romney campaign claims it’ll be like Ronald Reagan—coming from behind late in the cycle to win, fact is, people liked Reagan. They liked him a lot.
People don’t like Romney.
Heck, even Conservatives don’t like Romney. The conservative base is angry at the establishment for shoving Romney down their throats. And he did win in the worst way possible—with a gazillion-dollar negative ad blitz designed to belittle and denigrate one conservative hero after another.
Still, conservatives are desperate to try and like him. Yet every time they come close to doing so, his campaign goes and slaps them in the face. But it’s never a strategically smart slap in the face, like a Sister Souljah Moment, that buys him cred with the political center. No, these are stupid unforced errors that reaffirm every right-wing fear about Romney—that he’s a closet big-government healthcare-loving liberal who doesn’t really hate gays.
Of course, they nominated the father of ObamaCare who ran entire past campaigns on his social liberalism, so I’m not sure what they expected. They’ll still vote for Romney of course, since he’s the one who isn’t a black Muslim Kenyan Socialist. But they’re not exactly rallying around their standard-bearer. And in an election that will depend a great deal on base intensity, those things matter.
And how about that Senate? Earlier this cycle the Senate looked doomed. Democrats had to defend two-thirds of the seats up for grabs, and many of those were in difficult states. Meanwhile Republicans had nothing but strong incumbents in mostly friendly states. Yet a funny thing has happened—Democrats look set to keep their Senate majority. There’s even an outside chance they could expand it. Crazy!
But even if we end up with a status quo 53-47 or even 52-48 majority, fact is, it’ll be a better majority. Sens. Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman will be gone, giving us a more ideologically cohesive caucus. And if all goes well, the progressive wing of the party will be reinforced by Sens. Tammy Baldwin, Elizabeth Warren, Martin Heinrich, and Chris Murphy. As much suck as the Senate has been lately, those names are a genuine reason to get excited.
And with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid talking openly about seriously reforming the filibuster next Congress (and showing some serious fight as of late), it might even be a Senate capable of getting something done.
Even the House is in play. The conventional wisdom is that while Demorats should make significant gains this November, they won’t be enough to flip control back to Nancy Pelosi. And to be honest, that would be the safest bet. There’s no sign of a wave election and Republicans did shore up their majority during redistricting.
But there are hints that Democratic chances are improving: House Democrats are gleefully releasing their (great-looking) internal polling in droves while Republicans are keeping theirs stashed away—a sign that their numbers aren’t looking as hot. In recent cycles, there has been a correlation between election results and which party released the most internal polling.
But what about conservative billionaires? How can we fight off the millions of Super PAC dollars as conservative billionaires try to buy the election? We already are. See those Obama poll numbers above? He has already faced nearly $ 100 million in conservative Super Pac attack ads and his numbers have gone up.
And it’s not just Obama. Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown was supposed to be the most endangered senator this cycle—a freshman that was too crazy liberal for his closely divided state. As of early July, he had already faced $ 10.5 million in Super PAC attack ads, far more than any other. Yet through this year, his numbers have improved.
Maybe people have gotten good at tuning out attack ads. Or maybe they just skip commercials via DVR or online media consumption. Maybe it’s a combination of the two. But whatever the reason, those millions being spent by conservative billionaires are all being wasted. The evidence is incontrovertible. So Karl Rove announces that he will spend $ 5 million targeting incumbent Senators in five states? Who cares! Rove has already spent $ 41.6 million and Democrats have only gotten stronger throughout the year.
Obviously, we need to get this money out of politics, I don’t want to minimize the corrosive effects of the current campaign finance regime, and those Super PACs should have a bigger impact in House races where the candidates are far less known and defined. But at the presidential and Senate level? I don’t think we have reason to panic about it anymore. We should remain wary and vigilant and not take things for granted, but there’s zero reason to despair. We can win in this climate, even without white knight billionaires riding to our rescue.
Bottom line. Their billions and their candidates aren’t getting it done. Democrats have improved their standing with voters the entire summer and are poised to hold firm in the Senate and comfortably keep the White House. Even the House is coming into play, and worst case scenario, we’ll chop that Republican majority down significantly.
Democrats are campaigning with a swagger, having fun. They know they’ve got the advantage. Republicans are in genuine disarray (release the tax returns! Don’t release the tax returns!), trying to back a candidate they despise while keeping a lid on the Tea Party crazies.
We need to go for the jugular, destroy Romney’s chances. Down-ballot Republicans will suffer without a strong candidate at the top—particularly one that reinforces every negative element of the Republican brand. Just look to 2008 for inspiration, except Romney doesn’t even have a compelling personal story or a shred of heroism. Romney is on the ropes, with just one more chance to bolster his standing—his convention. The same convention Donald Trump insists he’ll speak at. And Rick Santorum. And Ron Paul. And Sarah Palin. And Herman Cain. Good luck with that, Mittens.
Our job: To run up the score. I know some of you like to talk about acting like we’re 10 points down. I guess that’s supposed to be motivational, but if we’re 10 points down, I’m like “screw it” and focus on more promising prospects. Did you work extra hard in 2010 when we were actually down 10 points? I didn’t think so. Instead, Republicans ran up their margins as depressed Dems conceded the cycle and sat out the election.
We need to embrace reality and shove reality down the GOP’s throats. Because yeah, we are ahead, objectively so. We’re winning and we’ve got to own it. They can whine about biased polls and biased media and biased everything that doesn’t conform to their little Fox News bubble world, all the while we do the work necessary to seal the deal.
When he has the lead, Peyton Manning doesn’t pretend he’s losing. He sets out to crush his opponent’s spirit by running up the score. Like this horse. The best defense is a good offense. We now protect our lead by going on the attack.
Volunteer for your local campaigns, and if you’ve got none, there will be plenty of opportunities ahead for virtual phonebanking and other volunteer work for the presidential campaign and other key nationalized races.
Spread the word on social media sites like Facebook—make sure people know we’re winning, bolster their spirits, demoralize the opposition. Write letters to the editor, comment on (non-Daily Kos) political websites, and yes …
Engage here at Daily Kos. Create an account if you don’t have one. Help support our mission by buying a subscription or gifting one to your favorite community members. Every cycle, this community motivates its members to do great political activism, and it’s time to ramp it up.
This is it, the calm before the post-Labor Day storm. Start psyching yourself up for the battle ahead. We’re winning. Don’t forget that.
Now go and seal the deal.