He’s been making the tactical error of not telling Democrats what they want to hear lately*, so any excuse to discount this cold water on GOP party disunity is a good enough one, right?
In the wake of NY-23 last fall a lot of Democrats hoped that the ideological war within the Republican Party would impede GOP progress in 2010. I just don’t see it though.
Take a look at Florida- yesterday’s Quinnipiac poll showed Marco Rubio getting 82% of the GOP vote against Kendrick Meek and Charlie Crist getting 80%. The Rubio people might be disappointed if Crist still manages to win the primary, but they’d still vote for him to keep Democrats from increasing their margin in the Senate. And the Crist people might think Rubio is too far to the right, but that would probably be outweighed by a feeling that Meek is too far to the left.
Then again, they may not have much of a choice. If you look at the NJ and VA gubernatorial races, one glaring difference between the two is that in NJ hope didn’t actually die, choking, for Democrats until the actual day of the election; but in VA it was blatantly obvious that Deeds had achieved DOOM about a month previously. One major reason? In NJ, third-party candidate Daggett kept polling absurdly high – as in, double digits. That kept it from being immediately obvious that Corzine didn’t actually have a chance, which meant that by the time it was obvious the psychological impact had been lessened. Not relevant for Corzine, true… but NJ Democrats only lost one seat in their state legislature’s election, while VA ones lost a net six. Because VA Democrats despaired, and their visible despair was likely infectious.
In other words: clinging to the belief that the GOP is going to fragment any day now may not turn defeat into victory – but it could keep defeat from turning into rout, lower down on the ticket. So don’t expect this meme to go away; even if playing more or less to lose is not even remotely a viable route to victory…
*Yes, I recognize that you could make the argument that he’s been telling Republicans what they want to hear.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.