Have you noticed there are two entirely different — and wholly irreconcilable – narratives regarding the mental status of Democrats buzzing around now?
Narrative number one: Democrats remain so obsessed, traumatized even, by our narrow losses (or stolen victories) in 2000 and 2004, we’re constitutionally incapable of accepting good news. Even though the polls look great for Barack Obama, we steadfastly refuse to be happy about it. Instead, terrified victory will once again be snatched from us at the last moment, we walk around in a dark cloud of misery and foreboding.
Narrative number two: Democrats are in grave danger of blowing this election because we’ve become so damned cocky, based upon the polls, that we’re convinced Obama already has things locked up. It’s made us complacent. And as a result, we probably won’t work very hard the rest of the way to the election and a lot of us won’t even take the time to vote.
So, let’s add it up: Democrats today are utterly terrified of losing, but, at the same time, are also so overwhelmingly complacent about winning that we won’t even bother showing up to vote.
The only problem, of course, is that a lot of it is pure bunk. Complacency my ass!
Here’s the truth, at least as I see it. Older Democrats — defined as those of us who’ve been politically sentient for at least eight years — are, in fact, terrified of losing, absolutely and utterly so. The last two presidential elections still burn in our esophagus like an underdone extra large beef and bean burrito (with double onion). Complacency?! You’ve got to be fu*king kidding! Obama could be leading in the polls by 30 points and we’d still show up to vote and stand in line nine hours if need be.
And, by the way, we won’t do that just to make certain Obama wins. We were robbed blind in 2000, and maybe again in 2004. We’re looking for payback.
By the same token, nothing will stop African American voters from flocking to the polls. They’ve already proven this in the primaries and in the early voting so far for the general.
So that leaves the youngsters — defined, as you’d expect from the above, as anyone who hasn’t been politically sentient for at least eight years. And here, of course, is where the big question comes in: will the kids turn out? (When you’re over 50-years-old you have a constitutional right to call people in their 20s kids, so live with it.)
Most of these young Americans, after all, have no investment in the 2000 election. They didn’t sit in front of their television sets, as Democrats of my generation did, screaming in outrage as a GOP dominated Supreme Court closed down the Florida recount. They didn’t have to hold themselves back — time after time — to keep from throwing a glass at the television screen as one amoral Republican hack after another accused Al Gore of trying to steal the election, even as they themselves were finalizing that very crime.
So will the kids become complacent? Will they, once again, decide to stay home?