What If Obama Loses?
Thinking ahead to November, I was trying to imagine how the Democrats, particularly Obama’s most ardent supporters, might react if he lost. As bad as they were at accepting Kerry’s loss, Obama’s loss would be far worse.
To begin with, his supporters will try to poison the well by claiming that some sort of cheating had occurred, regardless of how little actual proof there is (see Ohio, 2004). This will justify labeling McCain as illegitimate and the existing politics of demonizing one’s competitors will continue. To be fair, Republicans do this too: Republicans were harping on the fact that Clinton never got more than 50% of the popular vote, even though it means nothing. Democrats are far quicker, though, in making allegations of cheating.
Immediately afterward, Obama’s supporters will be saying hysterical things like “He was our only hope; all hope is lost!” and other such nonsense. This will be the most nauseating part for those of us who follow politics obsessively and aren’t in love with Obama. Obama is clearly a very intelligent man who is a wonderful speaker (see the Jefferson Jackson Dinner from Iowa) and is inspirational at times. However, his resume’ is paper thin and the emotional investment his most ardent supporters have in him is inexplicable, at least if you try to nail down specifics.
That will be followed by a great deal of petulance by the most ardent supporters mentioned above. Denial along the lines of Julia Roberts saying “He’s embarrassing, he’s not my president. He will never be my president.” about George Bush and other pissy-pants behavior.
Then the recriminations will start within the Democratic Party. The Clintons will certainly be at the forefront of these. The election will have revealed flaws in Obama and in retrospect he will appear to be a weak candidate, though there will be no way to have known this in advance.
Hopefully, at this point, acceptance will set in, but I doubt it.
If McCain loses it’s hard to tell how Republicans will react. My only misgiving will be that Obama will have a Democratic Congress; if the Republicans were in control I would probably vote for Obama.
How others will react is for another post.