Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Several million words probably have been written or spoken about the results of Tuesday's midterm elections. My favorite piece, so far, comes from Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post, who opines that the Republican tsunami was driven mainly by a sudden realization from America's white masses: "Dear God, we've got a black man in the White House!"
I suspect Robinson is awfully close to the truth, so I couldn't help but wonder, "Given that Barack Obama, indeed, is black, is there anything Democrats could have done differently that might have altered the outcome?"
Regular readers know I think Obama made a huge mistake with his "look forward, not backwards" approach to the apparent crimes of the George W. Bush administration. Be that as it may (as lawyers like to say), here is maybe the No. 1 political mistake Democrats made: They allowed the BP oil well to be capped before the election.
Would the election have been different if the BP well had still been spewing in the Gulf of Mexico when voters went to the polls on Tuesday? Given the somewhat anecdotal evidence we've seen in Alabama, I think the outcome would have been radically different. Heck, the Democrats might have even gained seats in both the House and Senate and picked up any number of governorships.
Why do I say this? Well, our Legal Schnauzer Philosophy Department has developed a new political theory. We call it the "White People Will Automatically Vote Republican Unless Something So Godawful Happens That It Shakes Them Out of Their Stupor And Causes Them To Think Democrats Aren't a Bunch Of Commies After All" Theory.
Our theory is based on the notion that the white electorate has become like a computer with default settings. Their default setting for voting is set on "GOP"--unless something shakes them out of their comfort zone and causes them to say, "Dammit, now I've got to go into preferences and figure out to change the default setting so that I can possibly vote for that other party . . . what's it called again?"