In the last couple of weeks or so, many of my fellow Democrats are sensing the healing winds that will be visited on this nation when we take over one, or -from this mouse to the Goddess' ears- both Houses of Congress.
Caught in the certainty of our righteous zeal, we envision landslides as the party of the Iraq War, Halliburton, anti-choice and anti-science gets its long-overdue comeuppance.
Well, scrape me off the ceiling if that happens. But if you look at political realities on the ground, a Democratic takeover of the House may be limited to a single digit margin, and a Senate redemption is probably not going to happen.
What's at play here is not "stolen elections," but the reality that most House districts in the U.S. have been heavily gerrymandered. Even after Foley's folly, it is likely that no more than 40 GOP seats are in play.
A net Democratic gain of 15 seats is necessary to take the House.
Math reworked: If the Democrats win 30 of those 40, while holding all of their own, that means we run the House by narrow but obvious margin..But a 25 of 40, which given trends is somewhat more likely, and that means the GOP will still run things- but by a razor-thin margin.
If that happens, look for the "stolen election" crowd to exaggerate reports of every long line, every polling machine breakdown, each and every come-from-behind GOP win in the last hours- as a Rove dirty trick facilitated by co-conspiring Diebold hackers.
While a paper trail of every vote should be required, a far more likely explanation will be that some voters in gerrymandered districts may fall back on their voting habits. But despite the methodical, studied investigations of progressive outlets with a long history of investigatory journalism AND skepticism toward Republicans- the "stolen election" crowd will not want to hear of it.
Why is this? I believe part of the reason can be found in the degree of anger various people have against Bush and the GOP. Many if not most of the citizens who despise the Republicans do so because- face it- Republicans, and the Republican president- have lied to us for years. A mindset that wouldn't believe Bush if he said 2+2 equals four is the most naturally receptive to mental pictures of ballot manipulation committed by operatives of the same party.
The same group of "stolen elections" believers, however, have not recently driven out past latte-land and gone out to the exurbs, where on Sunday morning the parking lots of the 10,000-member mega-churches are festooned still with SUVs and pickups hearing "Bush/Cheney," "NRA" evolution-refuting fish, and of course, "Support Our Troops," insignia.
And sorry to say, but these are voters are solid GOP, and don't need a Diebold hack to make them that way.
Damn I hope I am wrong, but there may be just enough of them to hold the House and Senate.