Why Harry Reid Could Win (Alternate Media View)
I just finished sending a reply to someone on my Twitter account saying Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is doomed to lost his race to Tea Party favorite Republican Sharon Angle despite some polls that show him within striking distance — when I saw this Las Vegas Sun column. In it, Jon Ralston explains why he thinks Reid could pull of a win — an upset at this point — even though the “atmospherics” are terrible.
Here’s his reasoning:
It just feels as if he is going to lose.
But I don’t think he will. Why?
First, let me be clear on this tradition of predictions. It is not a wish list but a walking out on a limb, so I can either crow afterward or eat same. I base them on data I am privy to and my gut. I have had much success in the past — look it up. But if ever there were a year for my lifetime batting average to take a hit, this is the one.
So take this for what it’s worth:
Harry Reid is the most resilient figure in Nevada political history. He should not even be here. He lost a U.S. Senate race in 1974, embarrassed himself in a mayoral race in 1975 and should have lost his re-election bid in 1998. But he found a way to win 12 years ago, and he will again Tuesday.
How? Let me count the ways:
Considering they were dealing with a moribund politician, and one who was sure to make their job more difficult during the year with his spontaneous effusions, Reid’s handlers have run one of the most spectacular campaigns in history at all levels: The turnout machine is formidable. The TV has been pitch perfect. The strategy — to peel moderate Republicans and independents who might not like their guy away from Angle — has worked.
And, perhaps equally important, Republicans managed to nominate the one person this year who could lose to Reid.
Here he is on target. Angle is truly an acquired taste: to win is most appealing to Tea Part members and conservative talk show fans. She takes no ideological prisoners in the way she usually takes no media questions unless they are coming from Fox News’ Shaun Hannity. Her appeal to independent voters and Democrats is thin — unless they want to get Harry Reid out of office. Which could be a factor.
Angle is a natural retail campaigner in small political subdivisions. But that’s not what a Senate race is about. And her campaign never could find a comfortable way to reconcile her past, controversial statements — they tried massage, change and deny — and she made plenty more during the campaign (Sharia law here, Canada’s terrorist conduit, Latinos-in-ads amnesia).
In the end, if she loses, I believe the six weeks following the GOP nominee’s primary win — she had a double-digit lead in June polls — were pivotal. During that period, the Reid ad campaign defined her so starkly and turned enough people into Anglophobes to give him a chance.
One more thing: Republicans do not have the huge turnout advantage in early voting they should in a wave election — under 4 points. And all the data I have seen tell me that unless Reid loses independents by 15 points or so, he will hold on.
A Reid loss would be expected.
You can BET most major journalism companies have Reid’s political obituary already written and it only has to be topped off with a lede.
If he wins, it’s a big upset at this point. In a year where people are disgusted by Washington just who would spell W-a-s-h-i-n-g-t-o-n more than Harry Reid?
On the other hand, for some voters who would spelly r-i-s-k-y more than Sharon Angle?
Will the aversion to Washington or risk win?
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent:
This race is so close that national strategists on both sides are privately refusing to predict the outcome. If Reid loses by a couple points, though, it will still have been a surprisingly impressive performance by Reid’s team.
It’s easy to forget this now, but Reid was trailing all comers by double digits not long ago. The Reid team sprang into action early on, basically selecting their opponent by launching a sustained effort to grind up Sue “chickens for checkups” Lowden in the quest to face Sharron Angle. Once Angle took over, the Reid machine shifted the assault machine in her direction and continued to pummel the new foe with maximum efficiency and brutality. Angle has proven more resilient than expected. But this is more a testament to the stiff headwind Reid faced than to anything else.