The conventional wisdom — which I too bought into — was that Democrats were going to support Obama, but grudgingly and without much enthusiasm. There had been too many disappointments; the golden aura of 2008 was long gone. Meanwhile, Republicans would show their usual unity and discipline, and at best it would be Obama by a nose.
Instead, the Republicans appear to be in a shambles — while the Democrats seem incredibly united, and increasingly, dare I say it, enthusiastic. (Mark Blumenthal sees this in the polls, but it’s also just the impression you get.)
How did that happen? Partly it’s because this has become such an ideological election — much more so than 2008. The GOP has made it clear that it has a very different vision of what America should be than that of Democrats, and Democrats have rallied around their cause. Among other things, while we weren’t looking, social issues became a source of Democratic strength, not weakness — partly because the country has changed, partly because the Democrats have finally worked up the nerve to stand squarely for things like reproductive rights.
Gosh, you mean 2010 wasn't the beginning of the new order at the hands of the Tea Party as American voters realized that yes, the GOP was wrecking the economy on purpose in order to try to win, and that their social derpwinism was really the last gasps of a clusterfrak of nimrods playing the white hetero male privilege game in disguise? If only people had known!
And let me add a speculation: I suspect that in the end Obamacare is turning out to be a big plus, even though it has always had ambivalent polling. The fact is that Obama can point to a big achievement that will survive if he is reelected, perish if he isn’t; health insurance for 50 million or so Americans (30 million from the ACA, another 20 who would lose coverage if Romney/Ryan Medicaid cuts happen) is enough to cure people of the notion that it doesn’t matter who wins.
All of this in turn has an implication that Republicans won’t like — assuming that Rasmussen doesn’t have a special insight into the truth denied to all other pollsters, and that Obama does in fact win with a solid margin. The right is already set up to blame poor Mitt, claiming that he lost because he wasn’t conservative enough. But that’s not what we’re seeing; it looks as if voters are rejecting the right’s whole package, not just the messenger.
Now if we could only cure the Village of the stupid notion that mid-term elections always determine the Presidential ones.
Seriously, this is what I've been yelling about around here for a year now (along with the GOP campaign of voter suppression) that Republicans were just going to overreach and screw everything up, or at least Mitt Romney's 47% exercise finally got through to the millions of folks who said "But Romney's a moderate, he won't take anything away from me, just those people." And of course, we found out that anyone making less than a quarter mil a year is very much "those people" to Mittens. People don't like finding out the odds are not ever in their favor. It's a new thing to a healthy chunk of the voting populace, and no sir, they do not like it.
Camera Bartender Guy, wherever you are, America salutes you.