Its hard to envision a better scenario for the Democrats than the 2008 Election, with an eight-year Republican President suffering from low popularity levels, an unpopular war that has worn out the American public, an economic downturn, Congressional elections that should favor the DNC, and a Republican nominee with more than a few bridges to build with his own base before he can even think about a national campaign. And yet, Democrats could be facing their biggest electoral embarrassment since 1994.
From day one, which, for this election, was more than a year ago, the situation looked like it couldn’t be better for the DNC, or worse for the GOP. Republicans had just suffered a major defeat in the midterm elections, the Iraq War wasn’t going well, two well-publicized scandals had damaged the Conservative brand, and the Democratic Primaries were set to be a one-woman coronation while the Republicans engaged in a multi-person battle that risked, more than once, lasting all the way to the convention.
But luck, and perhaps fate, have combined to seriously darken the outlook for the DNC. For one, the Iraq War has improved significantly since the start of campaigning, with deaths dropping by more than 50%, and serious political process being made, the support of the war has improved, but both of the major Democrats have tied themselves to a quick retreat. For another, the Republican primary ended much earlier than expected, providing John McCain with more than enough time to heal divisions and put together an acceptable ticket for the general election.
But much of Democrat’s current situation is their own doing. The Democrat’s chosen heir, Hillary Clinton, entered this race with extremely high unfavorables, but the loyalty of much of the party. Unfortunately for her, one of the few men to not pledge themselves to her service was one of the few men who had a good shot of beating her, and the result has been an extended primary season that has caused the Democrats to lose critical time and ground that would otherwise be spent running against McCain. And if the polls are any indication, its costing them in a big way. McCain is now running near or ahead of the Democrats in usually-blue states like New Jersey, Michigan, Minnesota, and others.
Will it be enough to cost the Democrats the election? We’ll see.