Last June in this space, I – a Democrat – pooh-poohed the “Death of the Republican Party.” The media seems to love to bury a party whenever it has a bad election. I recalled that services had been held for both the GOP and the Democrats multiple times before and said “If you love the Grand Old Party I would not despair too much. It’s down, but it is a long way from out.”
Five months later much of the media is preparing a hearse for the Democrats to use next year. Either these commentators are so naïve they should be doing book reviews of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” or they are stricken with congenital exaggeration. (Dan Blaz of the Washington Post is one of the few exceptions.
November 3rd was not a great day for the Democrats. It was a good day for the Republicans but there was nothing that came close to being a sea change. In Virginia each party should have learned a lesson. The Dems should have learned that weak candidates and hopelessly inept campaigns don’t win. The GOP should have learned that a moderate message is much more successful than a messianic right-wing mixture of rage and certitude; especially so when combined with a tactically perfect campaign. (Likewise, the House seat the GOP lost in New York to a Dem when the likes of Sarah Palin shoved a Republican moderate out of the race.) We’ll see if anyone learned anything. They often don’t.
But my point here is not the frequently deaf ears of the respective parties and their candidates, but the fundamental wrong-headedness of what has come to be called “the chattering class” – the political reporters and pundits who seems to need to make each election a life-changing, cataclysmic event.
All elections have implications. So did this one. But, compared with the Democrats victory of 2008, the Reagan Revolution of 1980 or the Gingrich-plotted GOP victory of 1994, it was just an election. It was better for the elephants than for the donkeys, but it did not revolutionize the status quo.
Come on people. Get real.