As recently as January, all the Serious People were predicting that Democrats would probably not only lose the Senate, but fall further behind in the House, thus rewarding Republicans for five years of lockstep intransigence.
Of course, the “Democrats in disarray” meme has been proven grossly in error many times before, mostly for the same reason: Democrats may be feckless and lame, but they have the evergreen advantage of, well, not being Republicans. Recent events, as did those in past elections, are shaping up to prove Republicans are adept at one thing: snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
After five years of bleating incessantly that Obamacare was Hitler and Stalin, put together, today we find 8 million signed up, rosy and improving CBO projections, and red states who refused to participate being left shamefully behind.
But don’t worry, Republicans still have the minimum wage, equal pay for women, gun control, reproductive rights, and taxes to fall back on… Oh, never mind. So, faced with the utter collapse of their can’t miss 2014 strategy, they’ve evidently found another rabbit to pull out of their Stetsons: militias! That’s the ticket.
Vote for us or we’ll shoot you.
Now, no one has ever accused Sean Hannity of being smart, but does he really think that another Waco or Ruby Ridge would be good for his party’s electoral prospects, given that the subsequent Oklahoma City bombing contributed to Clinton’s 1996 landslide?
And does a party widely considered to be made up of crazy, gun-toting yahoos with chips on their shoulders really think their new poster boy should be Cliven Bundy, a crazy, gun-toting yahoo with a chip on his shoulder? Worse, a freeloader to boot, in a party not generally known for its fondness for freeloaders?
You might think that’s nuts, and you would be right. You see, Republicans have their flaws, but excessive introspection is not among them. Whenever the behavior of their candidates or supporters sends voters fleeing for the exits, they simply double down on them, and find another, preferably large and growing, group to blame, and hope that a little more dark money and voter suppression will do the trick next time.
Clinton’s and Obama’s successes were not because either one was particularly beloved, but because their opponents were so repellent. Yet each time, Republicans looked in the mirror at their pasty, jowly mugs and loudly blamed moral relativism, the Black Panthers, or grabby moochers for each richly deserved defeat.
November is a long way off, and long before their crackpot candidates start saying the sort of offensive things that lost them the Senate in 2012 their most ardent followers will be busy shooting law enforcement officers, committing hate crimes, and generally shitting the bed, as is their wont.
Meanwhile, their financial backers will be equally busy creating environmental disasters, perpetrating financial fraud, and barraging the voters with obnoxious, mendacious advertising.
Democrats may make some pretty boneheaded choices, but they’ve chosen their enemies well.