Earlier this year there was a massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile, causing extensive damage. In response to this quake a tsumani warning was sent out across the pacific rim. I remember watching anxiously the live footage from Hawaii as the tsunami was to come ashore. (Knowing the speed at which these things travel, predicting landfall is actually not that difficult.)
What came next was a shock to the newscasters. There was indeed a tsunami – on the order of inches or maybe a few feet. It was a non event. While it was a tsunami, it was not the devastating wave of water everyone was expecting. Relieved, we all went about our day.
This election cycle, pundits everywhere are predicting a massive electoral tsunami. Are they right? Maybe. Will it be of a grand magnitude? Maybe. Even if it is, will it matter? Maybe.
Predicting what will happen and what the fallout might be is ever an inexact science. Some things we can count on though:
The pundits and cheerleaders will be out in force. Every good sign for their side will be a sign that the electorate is firmly with them, and every bad sign an anomaly.
The winners will claim national mandate for their policies, the losers will claim that the losses were a referendum on their unwillingness to implement their policies to the fullest. Either way, the electorate will clearly be signaling to both parties that their policies are the preference.
If it gets really ugly, which I would describe as the Republicans winning control of the senate or taking 75+ seats in the house – or – the Democrats retaining control of both houses, you will catch glimpses of exasperated contempt and despair from the pundits of the losing party. In the former case, Juan Williams, Keith Olbermann, or Chris Matthews will be moved to near tears over the bad decisions the country is making. In the latter case it will likely be Sean Hannity who huffs in disgust that the country did not capitalize on a chance to save the future.
These are just a few of the things we can be counting on.
As it is election season, I’ll probably focus a few posts on the run-up and perhaps the aftermath. For now, I wanted to layout the cynical guarantees.