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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Midterm election countdown: 23 days

It is three weeks and two days until the 2006 midterm elections. The latest issue of PS includes two different political science studies, using different methodologies, which conclude that the Democrats will pick up 22 seats in the House. Apparently, the latest polling also suggests a solid Democratic victory -- though it seems premature to talk of a "landslide."

Republicans, of course, are not going to roll over and play dead. As Karl Rove warned back in January, they see their trump card as terrorism.

I expect some effort in the coming weeks to raise the level of fear. Basically, they will return to their strategy that seemed to be working for them (well, President Bush's approval ratings increased anyway) around the fifth anniversary of September 11. Their message really was that Americans are "safer," but "still not safe."

As James Fallows implied in the September Atlantic Monthly, raising the level of US fear is all too easy:
Any of the dozens of ports, the scores of natural-gas plants and nuclear facilities, the hundreds of important bridges and tunnels, or the thousands of shopping malls, office towers, or sporting facilities could be the next target of attack. It is impossible to protect them all, and even trying could ruin America’s social fabric and public finances. The worst part of the situation is helplessness, as America’s officials and its public wait for an attack they know they cannot prevent.
Are the Democrats ready for the electorate to be reminded, selectively of course, about some of these facts?

Back in January, I offered what I still think is a good game plan for the Democrats. Talk about Iraq in a very blunt way.

If anyone from the John Yarmuth campaign is reading -- I think this could work to defeat Anne Northup as well.


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