And the Survey Says, You're Dead
I cannot really recommend "The Left's Big Blunder," a 6700-word essay on how the media, Democrats, and other unworthies are making it look like Obama is beating McCain while the opposite is true. For one, it's 6700 words long, and you're busy. For another, it includes analysis like this.
In 1968, Richard Nixon did the exact reverse of what the Democrats are now doing. Instead of announcing bombastically that he and the Republicans had complete domination of the media and the electorate, his key campaign slogan was "The Silent Majority." Nixon knew full well that the atmosphere of the times made the Republican prospects looks pretty bleak. Youth culture and the social revolution of the 1960s were at a peak; left-wing ideology was soaring in popularity, a huge demographic of young post-war Baby-Boomers had just reached voting age and were thought to loathe the old-fashioned Republicanism; and the media had long had a serious vendetta against Nixon. Everything seemed aligned to ensure a handy victory for Humphrey and the Democrats.
1.) The "silent majority" phrase came in a speech given after Nixon was elected, not in 1968.
2.) Nobody thought Humphrey, the pathetic LBJ puppet nominated at the disastrous Chicago convention, could win in 1968 until the final week of the campaign, when he rose to a tie with Nixon, aided by Democratic voters coming home from the George Wallace independent campaign.
3.) Voters didn't like youth culture in 1968! A late summer 1968 Harris poll had 64 percent of "low-income whites," reliable Democratic voters, agreeing with the sentiment "liberals, long-hairs, and intellectuals have been running the country too long." They made a bee-line for Wallace and Nixon.
That's just once slice from a great big wedding cake of stupid. So why bring this up at all? It's the longest version of a theory I hear every day: that the polls are wrong, and that the media is brainwashing people into claiming they'll vote Obama, but they won't. (This piece was e-mailed to me more than the usual exposition of the theory.) I talked to Republicans this week who were utterly convinced that at this point in 2004, Kerry was winning as big as Obama is now. He wasn't!
None of this is to say McCain can't win, but if he starts winning, the polls would probably reflect it. I don't buy stories like this one of an "internal Obama poll" that shows Palin lighting fires among Pennsylvania voters, because… I remember the stories about the internal polls that showed Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum surging back from defeat, right before he lost by 19 points in his Senate bid.
If the Nov. 3 polls show a small Obama lead, then Obama wins, I'll be pleased that the "Bradley effect" didn't exist and that there was no unknowable conspiracy aimed at rigging the election. But it seems inevitable that we're going to get our second consecutive president that a sizable minority of the country will feel was elected through fraud. If we're going to have a cult of the presidency to start with, that seems like a bad development.