Beating Expectations and Winning the Scapegoat Game

Today is certainly a better day than the day after the last three elections! Not only did Democrats win where it mattered, at the polls, they also won the last ditch expectations game played by conservatives. It was clear from some pre-election reports that if Democrats did not pick up a substantial number of seats, and take control of both Houses of Congress, this could be spun as a loss due to failing to meet expectations.

At this point there remain some undecided races but it is clear that the Democrats are going to meet expectations with regards to the House. There were a couple of minor surprises going each way, but the Democrats do appear to be picking up the maximum number of seats predicted by those most optimistic about Democratic prospects and are exceeding the average predictions.

The Senate remains undecided, but with Webb in the lead in Virginia the Democrats are in an excellent position. With the prospect of a recount and court battles, the Virginia race is reminiscent of Florida 2000 in many ways. One way not being discussed by the media is the effect of the Green Party. The Green Party candidate, running as an independent, has over 26,000 votes. Without a Green candidate running, most likely Webb would be leading by an insurmountable margin. Granted Webb is far more conservative than the ideal candidate of Green voters, but the real issue isn’t Webb but who controls the Senate. Hopefully the Greens are over their delusion that there isn’t any difference between the parties, or at least see the value in having a Democratic Congress to balance the Executive Branch.

Another battle is over would be the scapegoats. As KJ already reported, Donald Rumsfeld is out. (Jerry Springer will be certainly be bragging over this prediction on Air America all morning tomorrow!) If the Democrats had done poorly, pundits would have speculated that any slight difference could have caused them to fail to meet expectations, such as Kerry’s botched joke on George Bush getting us stuck in Iraq. Instead Kerry deserves credit for campaigning harder than anyone else for fellow Democrats, and the ultimate lesson is that a Republican smear could be overcome. Kerry’s position going into 2008, as well as that of other Democratic Senators, will also be enhanced when they are in the majority and have the ability to influence legislation and gain favorable publicity by leading investigations.

Republicans lost largely due to Iraq and corruption, but Republicans also remain out of step with the country on most issues. They do remain able to win on gay marriage, but otherwise the country is more liberal. Voters supported embryonic stem cell research in Missouri. Around here, in conservative West Michigan, prohibitions on selling alcohol were relaxed, and the area is also sending one more Democrat to the state House, helping the Democrats take control. Even the proposal to restrict lap dancing in Seattle, by forcing dancers to remain four feet away from patrons, went down to defeat.

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  1. 1
    beachmom says:


    Gail Parker was a conservative Green candidate — she had little effect if any on the race. She did not take Dem votes away — she probably took equally from D and R. Nobody in Virginia is analyzing it that way. Ralph Nader she was not.

    Conservative bloggers are beginning to call for Allen to concede. Webb has declared victory and Schumer has sent an e-mail saying we’ve won the Senate. We have a lot of machines in Virginia — they don’t do recounts really. So there will not be enough changes to make up for the 7,000 vote gap.

    George Allen needs to concede.

  2. 2
    battlebob says:

    Was watching some of the pundits on CSPAN last night.
    Ed Rollins suggested it would be smart for Allen to concede and not drag it out.
    All votes are counted and there is no way a recount will make up over 7k votes.
    Rollins says hanging on makes Repubs look like they are trying to steal the election and may hurt them in future elections (meaning 2008).

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