Liberals Worry, ‘What if We Win?’
In the final days of a presidential campaign that Barack Obama stands an excellent chance of winning, liberals are imagining all the terrible things that will happen if he does. “Liberals Fear Grand Bargain Betrayal If Obama Wins,” Carrie Budoff Brown writes in Politico. “GOP Already Working To De-Legitimize An Obama Win,” frets Zachary Roth on MSNBC. “Get ready, Dems,” urged The Democratic Strategist in late September. “If Obama wins, conservatives will try to de-legitimize his victory with hysterical, phony claims of ‘massive election fraud.”
I don’t mean to dismiss these concerns entirely. I myself have urged Democrats to ignore the respectable pleadings for a quick budget bargain from Erskine Bowles (and, closer to home, TNR’s William Galston) and recognize that Democrats hold a very strong hand in forthcoming negotiations over the “fiscal cliff.” (MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell has since July been doing the Lord’s work in waging a spirited “Off the Cliff” campaign to educate his fellow liberals about how strong that hand really is). The Democratic Strategist has some very practical suggestions about how to counter the inevitable claims Republicans will level that Obama stole the election. (I wouldn’t put it past the GOP to wage a baseless election-fraud campaign in Democratic strongholds even if Romney wins.) And yes, Republican partisans can be pretty nuts these days. In 2009 a national poll indicated that fully 52 percent of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama. Donald Trump still thinks Obama was born in Kenya.
But can you imagine conservatives confronting a probable victory with such anxiety and foreboding? Get a grip, Democrats. The likelihood’s better than even that you’ll keep the White House, and you’ll almost certainly keep the Senate, too. The House elections will be brutal, but recapturing the House in 2012 was always a pipe dream. The economy is lousy, Obama’s opponent is a frighteningly adept shape-shifter, and the president’s greatest achievement, Obamacare, is still a hard sell in polls. Yet he’ll probably get another term. Be happy, for Christ’s sake!