Guess what? The media was wrong again.
Yes, once again, they sold you a bill of goods about Democrats not showing up for the midterms — not just because Democrats don’t show up at midterms (a historical trend), but also because there was an alleged “enthusiasm gap” ailing Democrats. Cut to dire predictions about how President Obama sucks because he can’t force Republicans to grow up and now America is suffering so naturally Democrats hate Obama so they won’t vote. Or something.
Republicans have been counting on Democrats staying home, and so once again they felt comfortable entering another race without a real platform. They are running on hate and negativity, presuming that the entire country feels as they do.
But just as in 2012 when the media sold you the narrative that the Obama voters were going to stay home, the media is wrong again. It turns out that it is actually the Republican Party that may be suffering from enthusiasm gap.
Republican whisperer Robert Costa writing with Karen Tumulty at The Washington Post brought some insight into “Late-season surprises” that “shake GOP confidence in Senate elections”.
Republicans have also been counting on an “enthusiasm gap” to carry them over the finish line. Polls show their base is more excited about voting than Democrats are.
But in states where establishment Republicans toppled tea party insurgents in primaries, such as Kentucky, Kansas and Alaska, the GOP is struggling to rally activists who feel their favorites were wronged.
Conservative firebrand Chris McDaniel, a Mississippi state senator who was defeated by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) in a June primary, said he expects many of his hard-right supporters from around the country to stay home in November in order to send a message to the national party.
“Conservatives feel betrayed by elements within the Republican Party,” said McDaniel, who is challenging Cochran’s victory in state courts. “It’s always regrettable when people decline to take part, but thousands of them will, and I understand their frustration.”
So not only are Republicans losing elections they thought were possible, but the “GOP wave” has officially failed to show up for duty. On top of that, the Republican base feels betrayed and want to stay home in order to punish the party leaders for ignoring their wishes. But it seems nothing will get through to the Republican Party at this point.
Republicans are getting scared and starting to question the long term strategy of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, wondering if perhaps it was a mistake to refuse to work with Senate Democrats.
It was obvious that things were turning days ago after polls showed Alison Lundergan Grimes in the lead in Kentucky as Republicans pulled out of the Michigan Senate race in order to defend previously done-deal seats. Days ago the media was shocked as Democrats pulled ahead in several key Senate races.
Republicans love to race blind, basing their campaigns on the same belief in sentiment and ideologically distorted versions of reality with which they govern. Fox News and several pollsters enable the party’s epistemic closure. The problem for Republicans is that the rest of the country is not in their bubble.
If Democrats are successful with their ground game, the midterms could be quite a surprise for the media and Republicans.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.