I know of a number of liberals who are (understandably) frustrated and pessimistic. Snakebitten by the previous elections, they don’t believe Obama is going to win, and that we will be stuck with another Republican president.
I’m not saying Obama supporters can be complacent or that it is in the bag. But I think there is plenty of reason to be optimistic.
In 2000, the Democratic candidate was a stiff, wooden candidate, unable to connect with voters, tagged by the media as a liar, and who made all the wrong political moves. The Republican candidate was considered folksy and personable. He also had an incredible fundraising machine, and was able to significantly outspend his opponent. The Democratic candidate defeated the Republican candidate before the Supreme Court threw the election.
In 2004, the incumbent Republican candidate was almost at the peak of his popularity, yet to be dragged down by his administration’s botching of the war effort. He maintained a massive war chest. The Democratic candidate was an aloof, distant candidate, tarred as a flip-flopper and dogged by the very effective (if underhanded) Swiftboat campaign. He lost by an incredibly narrow margin.
This year? The Republican candidate is one who is loathed by many among the conservative base. Discontent with the reigning party is high. Support for the war and conventional foreign policy, the central platform of the Republican candidate, is at low ebb. The Republican candidate, while not aloof or unapproachable, is often seen as cantankerous. His “Maverick” and “Straight-Talk” cachet has worn thin with many. The Democratic candidate is one with incredible charisma, able to inspire and galvanize action. For the first time in years, the Democratic candidate has a significant edge in fundraising.
Two straight elections, the Republicans had substantial advantages, and still only eked out wins. Why not feel hopeful this time?