The New York Post
November 2, 2016
Democrats are whistling past the graveyard.
“This is nothing,” they insist, even as they call for FBI director James Comey’s scalp for reigniting the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal. The problem is that the polls were tightening even before Comey’s Friday announcement. What was a 6-point race in the Real Clear Politics average nationally only a few days ago is now a 2-point race.
And while Hillary still seems to have enough states locked down to win the Electoral College, what looked like a landslide a week ago is right now a potentially comfortable margin that may get narrower and less comfortable by the day.
While most poll respondents say the e-mail business isn’t affecting their potential vote, “most” ain’t “all.” One in 10 say it may.
Introducing a 10-percent note of uncertainty into a race not yet put away isn’t nothing. It’s something. It’s quite a lot of something.
And let’s not forget that Republicans disheartened by Donald Trump suddenly have a new negative lease on life — a new reminder that if they turn out next Tuesday rather than staying home, they might play a role in preventing a third Clinton term.
Some, like The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, have floated the notion that Comey’s supposedly outrageous conduct may energize Democrats. That sure sounds a lot less like logic and a lot more like graveyard whistling.
Instead, the data suggest growing Democratic listlessness and burgeoning Republican enthusiasm as the election approaches. That said, none of this means Hillary’s candidacy is in the grave; far from it. If you could choose, you would choose to be Hillary right now, not Trump.
Republicans were more enthusiastic about voting in 2012 than Democrats were, and President Obama still won by 4 points in part because his party’s get-out-the-vote machine was so able.
Meanwhile, the GOP’s is more notional than actual, due in large measure to the bizarre refusal of the Trump campaign to embrace even minimal professionalism in approaching the grinding work of engaging with and bringing out voters both early and on Election Day.
So Hillary is likely to pull this out, but the last-minute terror that has gripped sensible Democrats shouldn’t be forgotten if she does.
The rise of Trump and the stark fissures in the Republican Party and the conservative movement have dominated the political conversation for the past 16 months. And understandably so, for they reveal an institutional crisis at the heart of our politics, a loss of faith in the way we go about choosing leaders and a sense that Washington is broken.
But lost in the focus on Republican disarray and decay has been the ongoing story of Democratic Party rot.
The most important political story during the nearly eight years of the Obama presidency is how that presidency delivered a neutron-bomb strike to his party. Obama and the political structure of America have been left standing — but nearly 1,000 Democratic officeholders have been defeated.
In the House of Representatives, three successive elections in 2010, 2012 and 2014 have seen 63 Democratic Congress members lose their seats. In 2009, Democrats held 60 Senate seats. Right now, they hold 46.
So out of 535 elected positions in the US Congress, Obama has overseen a 14 percent reduction in Democratic officeholding — and the loss of majorities in both chambers.
Nationally, the numbers are even more stark. Democrats have lost 910 seats in state legislatures since 2009, while Republicans have gained 12 governor’s mansions. Overall, according to Louis Jacobson of Governing magazine, “Democratic losses in the Senate have so far reached 22 percent, 27 percent in the House, 36 percent in governorships and a stunning 59 percent in fully controlled state legislatures.”
Democrats hope a good showing on Tuesday will win back five Senate seats and maybe 15 House seats, but relative to their party’s losses since 2009, that’s like a bandage on an amputation.
Republicans are in lousy shape, and we all know it. They’ll be in lousy shape even if Trump wins, because victory isn’t going to heal the wounds of the past two years.
But Democrats are in lousy shape as well, and will be in lousy shape even if the E-mail Bleacher wins. Maybe now they’ll wake up to reality, the way Republicans have.
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