Be… pretty afraid. I’m going to summarize/translates Jay’s four reasons why the Democrats should be worried about the 2012 Republican candidate:
- We’ve got some serious fellas running. Romney and Pawlenty; probably Daniels, at this point; and Jay considers Huntsman serious, though I don’t know if I do. Yes, hold that objection for after the fold.
- We’re not going to see a proxy class warfare battle in ’12 like we did in Obama/Clinton in ’08. The aforementioned candidates are all pretty much variations on a theme: white governors with crossover appeal who are moderately conservative.
- Donald Trump isn’t going to be the nominee, and neither will any other fringe candidate. Behold the awesome moderating power of using primaries as opposed to caucuses! Using ’08 again: it’s no coincidence that Obama won more caucuses, while Clinton won more primaries.
- There will be no enthusiasm gap. More on this after the fold.
#4 is the key point: I can already hear people grumbling that how in God’s name does the party expect him or her to vote for anybody except [Candidate X] (or [Candidate Y])? To which Jay notes two reasons. The first answer involves a good VP pick… which, remember, might have worked for us in 2008 if the economy hadn’t had picked that fall to melt down. The second is even more important: by November of 2012 Republicans and conservatives will have been waiting for four years for the privilege of crawling over broken glass in order to vote against Barack Obama. I myself will happily suffer a compound fracture of the leg if that’s what it takes to get me to the polls to vote a straight Republican ticket, and I live in a Congressional District and a state that is not particularly at-risk for the Democrats.
And, honestly? There’s still that bad/worse dichotomy that’s been shoved down our throats since January of 2007. Like it or not, it’s a factor. At least now they’re scared enough to actually talk about things like entitlement reform…