Previously, I would have said that the Democrats would suffer more. Democratic voters have shown a far greater willingness to break from the common herd, think independently of the party leaders, and withhold their votes if they don’t like what they see. Republican voters, on the other hand, show up regularly to vote for the candidate with an ‘R’ next to their name, even if what they’re getting is higher federal spending, new government programs, and seeming indifference to the traditional beliefs of the Republican Party.
Lately, concerning those Republican voters, I’ve started wondering if there is madness in their method. By all accounts, President Bush and congressional Republicans haven’t implemented much conservative legislation, but they have replaced two moderate Supreme Court justices with right-wingers. That gives four dependable right-wing votes (Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito), so they only need to replace one more and they’ll have an unstoppable majority of five. At that point, the Supreme Court can simply impose whatever beliefs it likes on the country, and there won’t be any democratic means by which the people can stop it.
In that way, the attitude of those voters makes perfect sense. They aren’t getting legislation from Congress; rather, they expect to get it from the bench. With all their hopes pinned on the Supreme Court, they wouldn’t risk a social moderate President. Such a president might choose a consensus judicial nominee who the entire nation could support–conservatives’ worst nightmare. I think the Pat Robertson/Ann Coulter wing of the party would defect in that case.