Early Peaking in Massachusetts
Much discussion about the Massachusetts special election over in the Corner, including a thread about whether Republican Scott Brown “peaked early.” Naturally the thread began with an email from a self-confessed Massachusetts liberal; then followed a statement of jitters from a New Hampshire conservative:
Over the weekend, while reading the “Globe” online and watching political ads on TV, I had this odd sense that Brown had peaked at the wrong time. It feels like the Dems finally “get it;” they finally understand that Brown had a real shot at this thing. I feel like if the election had been Saturday Brown would have won, but now I fear that the fear of defeat has driven the Dems to frantic GOTV effort that will topple the Brown insurgency.
We certainly shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that a Brown win would be dramatic and unexpected, and I guess we’ll find out tomorrow whether two days of lag time between peak and election is enough to turn the tide back to Coakley. However, if we consider what voters are doing, in these slightly down days, it seems to me that anything but a major loss on Brown’s part will only be more profound for the “early peak.”
This ties into the Northeastern Republican discussion that we had a few days ago, in which I suggested that there was no doubt that the huge red surge in the region was motivated precisely by the conservative and tea party enthusiasm that David Frum fears. Now comes the second part of my proffered equation, during which time Massachusetts voters are actually looking at Scott Brown beyond the headlines. These are the days that they’ll discover that he’s hardly Sarah Palin with less estrogen. That he is, in a neutral sense, moderate. That they can palatably give him a shot in office.
And from my seat next door, here in Rhode Island, it looks to me as if the Democrats are continuing to misunderstand how unbought Americans think and operate. As Massachusetts voters investigate the man behind the unexpected hype, Senator John Kerry (D, MA), he of the slanderous anti-military testimony, added unconfirmed claims about intimidation of his preferred candidate to the list of negative attacks on the political unknown who might derail the Obamamotive.
As Shannen Coffin points out, Massachusetts voters are right now looking at a candidate, on the Republican side, and desperate political machine, on the Democrat. If they choose the candidate, then the machine — and all those who thought they’d purchased a slate of nation-toppling policies by building it — will begin to collapse on itself.