For months now I have been listening to the pundits and the press weave a narrative of certain defeat for Democratic control over the House of Representatives, and perhaps the Senate. I'm not buying it. "The party in power historically loses seats in the midterm", goes the clarion call. "Economic uncertainty always hurts those who are in charge". These memes, and "an anti-incumbent fervor" serve as evidence of a coming "wave election" which will reverse the results of the last two "wave elections".
Now, I'm not much of an expert on politics, I describe my own as to the left of Jesus, so most of my positions come nowhere near the mainstream. I'm uninvolved and figure that America will always possess the government it deserves, but I just can't bring myself to accept the narrative. I know that the Tea Party has been very vocal ever since the health care debate, and I know that the righties dominate the conversation on most of the blogs and news sites which I frequent. The have been certain of a coming Republican tsunami ever since Obama's nomination. "Wait until November", they say. I think they shall be very disappointed. I just don't see America giving power back to the Republican party.
Take for example the Senate race in Washington state. I was startled last week to read that this is considered to be trending Republican, and will perhaps help with a Republican takeover. The Republican candidate is real estate salesman Dino Rossi, trying to unseat Senator Patty Murray. Rossi is a perennial loser like Rick Lazio of New York, a candidate who can win election to the state legislature from his insulated district, but can't win state wide.
In 2004, Rossi ran for governor against Attorney General Christine Gregoire. Rossi won the initial count by 261 votes. He also won the automatic recount by 42 votes. However, he lost the hand recount by 133 votes. Rossi sued, and still lost, not just the election, but also the support of many independents as he was seen as a sore loser who wouldn't accept the results. Nevertheless, in 2008 Rossi challenged Gregoire again, this time losing by more than 194,000 votes out of 3 million cast. He went from 50%/50% to 53%/47%, actually losing support. And now they think he can defeat a well liked, entrenched incumbent? I don't buy it.
Washington is a state divided by the Cascade Mountains. The rural east side is mostly conservative, and the metro west side mostly liberal, especially the population center around Seattle. The pundits tell me there is this thing called the "Enthusiasm Gap" which will account for the seismic shift of more than 200,000 votes. Well, only the most dedicated partisans have enthusiasm two months before an election, so I don't think the "Enthusiasm gap" is anything real, rather just another meme created to differentiate "registered voters" from "likely voters" in order to produce the predetermined result.
I'll tell you why even that meme doesn't ring true to me. Washington has a very large military presence. Fort Lewis is home to the Stryker force and much more. We also have McChord and Fairchild Air bases, many naval ship yards, and Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, Bangor Submarine Base, Naval Underwater Warfare Engineering and more. Many service members retire here, we have tons of veterans. Now, veterans are generally a reliable Republican staple, but here's the thing, Patty Murray is a member of the Appropriations Committee and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, as well as the main Veterans Affairs Committee, where she has been a staunch and strong advocate for veterans. Despite a perceived "enthusiasm gap", the veterans will vote, and most of them will vote to re-elect Senator Murray.
The polls in August showed Rossi with a slight lead, but this week comes a poll giving Murray a nine point lead. That's quite a swing. Perhaps a closing of the "Enthusiasm Gap", and the dell knell for a media narrative that I never believed anyhow. We shall see.