Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Stop being so goddamned happy all the time

So...yeah, okay. So our guy, Paul Hackett, lost in yesterday's special Ohio election 48-52, which is a LOT less than you would expect in the Republican stronghold where he was running. This is leading lots of lefty bloggers to confidently assert that this represents a climactic sea change: that if a Democrat can come so amazingly close to winning in such a red district, people must be waking the fuck up, and Big Things will happen in 2006. And, you know, I would dearly love to believe that this is the case--that the rethugs will be violently swept out of power on a wave of sheer, visceral revulsion. BUT. all honesty, I have to say I'm really dubious about pinning such grandiose hopes on a single data point. There are any number of alternate reasons why this could have been so close:

1. The Rethuglicans didn't take the race seriously. Because they knew they were almost assured of a win, and because, come on, it's just one seat; it's not that big a deal to them. We, on the other hand, cared intensely, with loads of grassroots funding supported by A-list bloggers like Kos and Atrios. We were giving it all we had; they were not. There's little chance that they'll make that mistake again.

2. Low voter turnout may have skewed results. I can't find the exact numbers, but voter turnout was very low. Apparently, Ohioans don't care enough about democracy to vote in large numbers during an off-season. But as noted in the previous point, we got a lot more worked up about this than they did, given which, I rather suspect that out of the people who did vote, there was a higher ratio of good guy to bad guy voters (sorry to get all Manichean on you, but that's just how it fucking IS at this point) than usual. Again: not something that is likely to repeat.

3. Appearances matter. I know this is superficial, but let's face it, we're a pretty fucking superficial country. Put bluntly: Paul Hackett is brutally handsome. Jean Schmidt is decidedly NOT terminally pretty. And if you think looks don't matter in elections, perhaps you have been in a coma for the last, oh, fifty years. Republican candidates may be almost univerally stupid or evil, but at least they tend to be telegenic. Often, it's their only positive quality.

4. Rethuglicans cheat. We all know they did it in Florida in 2000, and the odds are depressingly good that they did it in Ohio in 2004. The results of this particular election could be partially explained by them, assuming the race was locked up and not bothering this time. If they ARE cheating on a regular basis--and why would one assume otherwise?--then, unless they're caught absolutely red-handed, ain't nothing gonna stop them. And even then...

5. Ohio is not the entire country. Coingate, anyone? The Ohio Rethuglican Party is laughably inept; a joke on a national scale. That's certainly good for us, and maybe it DOES mean we'll do this one state. That doesn't automatically mean we'll be so lucky elsewhere.

I guess being a total buzzkill, man, may not be the most helpful thing, but on the same token, don't let's get overconfident. Let's fight like everything's already lost and we just wanna take as many of the bastards down to hell with us as we can. Because that's very likely how it is.


Anonymous Anonymous pontificated to the effect that...

If I actually read, I probably would have already seen the term "Rethuglican."'s pretty damn funny as a term. Right up there with cons.

9:05 PM  

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