The 2012 campaign season is shaping up as a possible "transformational" election, but not the kind that Barack Obama and many Democrats had in mind.
Instead, it's a year when, if Democrats don't get their act together ASAP, they could suffer a trifecta of losses that will trigger further erosion of threatened New Deal and Great Society legacies and fulfill many conservatives' longtime dreams.
Many Democrats still seem smugly assured that, in the end, voters would never, EVER give GOPers control of all three branches of government given the rhetorical overkill of the party's talk show political culture, Congressional Republicans' political obstructionism, the continued enabling of Twilight Zone-like birtherism, plus Republicans' alienation of Latinos, many women voters, gays — and seeming disdain for moderates and America's "sensible center."
Among the many questions posed about the 2012 there are these three:
Two are a) whether the center is still "sensible" (centrists, moderates and some independents will ask) or b) whether the center was ever sensible (liberals and conservatives who consider the center mushy, unrealistic, lacking principles, and uninformed will ask). Polls vary, but most find that in terms of party identification the electorate is largely tied between Democrats and Republicans who need swing "undecided" voters to win.
A third question is whether 2008 will prove to be a fluke, merely a single Democratic Party volume wedged between two Republican Party bookends, a victory largely due to multiple-level Bush administration failures and the financial meltdown. If so, it means GOPers are destined for complete political control of the Supreme Court and that the mostly Republican dominance of Presidential elections since LBJ's exit continues.
Right now some analysts say Obama could become another Truman. Some Republicans say he's another Jimmy Carter. But Obama may generate "another Obama" that pundits and historians will use in the future. Exactly what "another Obama" means will emerge on Election Day.
So will the Democrats win despite themselves? Will some liberals really stay home because there was no public option in Obamacare? Will they forget about the Supreme Court (again)? Which party will swing voters hate the least and hold their noses and vote for? Will Republican Party unity combined with Super PAC bankrolling support make America's first African-American President just another fired one-term President?
If so, it will be another instance of life again seemingly imitating TV art, as the Democrats on election day would wake up to see the New Deal and Great Society more on the way out than ever, and find themselves epitomizing the name of another TV show: "The Biggest Loser."
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