I am a liberal Democrat who has voted pretty much a straight ticket since 1972. That being said, I am beginning to think that the Party would be much better off if Bush wins this election. Consider this:
It is unreasonable to expect that the Democrats can, or will, win every Presidential election from here on out. Sooner or later, the law of averages says we’re gonna lose one. Now, if you look at the last two times a party had a two term president (Reagan and Nixon/Ford), they were followed by a relatively weak single term administration (Bush and Carter). It could be argued that the political pendulum will always swing back for at least one term after eight years of one party’s agenda.
I am beginning to think this would be a good election to lose, and focus on 2004 as the opportunity to begin another 8 year Democratic Whitehouse. Whoever wins this debacle faces some enormous obstacles that pretty much guarantee gridlock with Congress, and a mediocre record at best. If Gore wins, he faces incredible hostility in the Republican dominated Congress.
If Bush wins, he serves under the shadow of the popular vote. The Congress will be a very narrow majority in the House, and maybe a dead heat in the Senate. Bush will never be able to pass his most conservative hot button issues, because the votes in both houses will be controlled by the Moderate Republicans. Without them, he can do nothing, and there are enough that one or two votes that cross the aisle would be enough to derail his platform promises (big taxcut, SocSec privatization, school vouchers). Even his “strict constructionist” nominees to The Supremes are likely to be turned down.
Couple this with the recession (maybe mild, maybe not) that every reasonable observer knows is coming (do you really believe the economy will go up forever?), and I say we let Dubya take the fall for a normal market swing, and catch it on the up tick in 2004.
Everything says to me, that whoever prevails, will win the battle but lose the war. I think of a ineffectual Dubya administration like a vaccination of weak virus that will stimulate the political immune system of the country, and kill the right-wing conservative infection once and for all. Sure, we may lose some ground on the environment and other issues, but in the long run, we will be much stronger, with the net effect of a longer period of progressive, liberal change.