October 7, 2002
Enthusiasm by Democrats Over Elections Is on the Wane
(ADAM NAGOURNEY, October 7, 2002, NY Times)
Democratic leaders who two months ago predicted a strong showing in Congressional elections this fall have markedly scaled back their views, saying their hopes had been dimmed both by a concerted White House effort to focus attention on Iraq and by disarray in their own party over how to respond to the threat of war.
Democratic leaders said they were far from giving up on winning control of the House and holding on to or expanding their lead in the Senate. They pointed to polls showing voters were upset about the economy and the overall direction of the nation.
This is quite a frightening moment for a lifelong Republican. There's truly never been an election in my lifetime when the Democrats were generally pessimistic about their prospects and the media was reporting that they had reason to be discouraged. There have been several presidential landslides for the GOP in the past forty years--1972; 1980; 1984; 1988--but only in 1980 did Republicans have great congressional gains to go along with the big presidential win and, though it's easily forgotten now, 1980 was an upset and even in 1984 and 1988 there were periods as late as the conventions or the debates when the races appeared close.
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 7, 2002 1:56 PM
I've felt for most of the year that the GOP was, while not on the scale of 1994, going to do better than most expected.
However, I agree with Orrin - I normally figure the opposite of conventional wisdom will occur so when the cw is that Dems are not going to do well worries me.
I feel like Robert Shaw in The Sting
Funny, I was just feeling the opposite based on the recent poll numbers (I think it was a CBS poll) regarding the war and predictions in some tight races, including the one for governor in Florida.
Oops, Mr. Judd, I read your comments to mean you were feeling optimistic. But, then you are a conservative and I should have known that pessimism is your default mode. That is meant in the kindest possible way.
The Richardson Sanchez race is indeed interesting. To put things mildly, the Democratic party in NM is paleolithic in outlook and practise, while the Republicans are considered newcomers or Gringos. That makes the GOP candidate, John Sanchez something of a phenomena of the new century, and it also makes the independent and undecided vote critical. But voting turn out is notoriously low in these types of elections and the whole election might turn on how while both of these candidates are nominally Hispanic, Sanchez is the only one with the name. Nobody ever lost an election here by underestimating the intellect of the New Mexican electorate.
BTW, an almost preordained Congressional result is that NM will return exactly the same GOP/Dem split as in the old 107th Congress. Gloria Tristani has taken to desperately debating empty chairs with Domenici's name on them in order to get air time.