Nov. 4 could be their most disagreeable day since Nov. 3, 1964. Actually, this November could be even worse, because in 1964 Barry Goldwater's loss of 44 states served a purpose, the ideological reorientation and revitalization of the party. Which Republican candidate this year could produce a similarly constructive loss?And he doesn't see Hillary saving the GOP as so many hope,
Today, all the usual indicators are dismal for Republicans. If that broad assertion seems counterintuitive, produce a counterexample. The adverse indicators include: shifts in voters' identifications with the two parties (Democrats now 50 percent, Republicans 36 percent); the tendency of independents (they favored Democratic candidates by 18 points in 2006); the fact that Democrats hold a majority of congressional seats in states with 303 electoral votes; the Democrats' strength and the Republicans' relative weakness in fundraising; the percentage of Americans who think the country is on the "wrong track"; the Republicans' enthusiasm deficit relative to Democrats' embrace of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, one of whom will be nominated.
But even if Democrats nominate Clinton, Republicans must remember that Bush's 2.4-point margin of victory in 2004 was unimpressive: In the 12 previous reelections of presidents, the average margin of victory was 12.9 points. Bush's 50.7 percent of the vote in 2004 was the third-smallest for a reelected president (Woodrow Wilson and Bill Clinton won 49.2 percent in 1916 and 1996, respectively). Kerry's 48.3 percent was the largest ever against a president being reelected. (In the 12 previous reelections, no losing candidate received more than 46.1 percent; nine of the losers received less than 45 percent.)George tries to be a little gentle here (or deceptive) and toss a bone to his Republican base of readers by including Clinton's re-election vote percentage. In 1996, Perot ran as a 3d party candidate and Clinton's margin of victory was 8.5% over Dole. Bush's 2.4% margin of victory is the smallest margin for any re-elected POTUS in US history and Bush had no major 3d party to draw votes. "Unimpressive" is being very kind.