Democrats, Elections, and the NFL

As Democrat football teams started their mini-camps this
summer, there was great anticipation concerning the upcoming season.
Most analysts, many of whom are difficult to distinguish from Dem
cheerleaders, predicted a left-wing sweep that would end up in a
changing of the guard come January. Yet, given the results of the
NFL’s opening weekend, things aren’t as rosy for
the Democrats as some had handicapped.

No finer example of leftist gridiron disappointment transpired
than in Gotham City. As residents’ minds turned from a
classic battle at Arthur Ashe Stadium to two brothers fighting it out
at the Meadowlands, liberal Giants fans must have hated seeing this
frightening headline
in Monday’s New York Times – “Less
Promise for Democrats in N.Y.”

One has to wonder what annoyed Upper Westsiders more
– Peyton Manning getting the best of his little brother, or
the following:

[J]ust a few months ago, Democrats envisioned significant
gains in New York, perhaps picking up as many as four seats, possibly
even five. But that goal now seems increasingly remote.

Almost like another Eli Manning interception, the article
gloomily continued:

The shifting local fortunes for Democrats could have serious
political implications beyond New York.

Further south, despite their victory in Al Gore’s
home-state on Sunday, things also darkened for liberal Jets fans
according to Zogby International:

The online polls of Senate and gubernatorial races in 26
states find Democrats, who began this election cycle hoping to capture
the Republican-held House and Senate, losing ground in New Jersey.
There, incumbent appointee Bob Menendez suddenly finds himself running
dead-even with Republican Tom Kean Jr. Menendez had been leading since
a June poll.

And, Democrats that support the Steelers, Browns, and Bengals
had little to cheer about as well:

In two of the other hottest Senate contests this fall,
vulnerable GOP incumbents have suddenly closed the gap on their
challengers. Republicans Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mike DeWine
of Ohio, both of whom were down by wide margins essentially all year,
have suddenly narrowed the edge of their Democratic challengers to four
points. The survey shows that in Pennsylvania, the presence of
third-party candidates suggests an even closer race, with left-wing
candidates siphoning votes from moderate Democrat Bob Casey Jr.

This sense of gloom was also felt by liberal Falcons fans
despite their good showing in Carolina according to a report
by the Los Angeles Times:

Riding a wave of discontent over the economy, Iraq and gas
prices, Democrats are hoping to win enough seats to retake the House of
Representatives this November. But their success could also hinge on
their ability to keep the seats they already have — and doing
so could prove difficult in two key races in Georgia.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Jim Marshall of Macon and John Barrow
of Savannah are facing hearty challenges from a pair of former
Republican congressmen with name recognition and the ability to raise
big money. Bolstering their chances are new district boundaries drawn
up by the first GOP-dominated Georgia Legislature since Reconstruction.

Finally, Bears fans on the left side of the aisle –
despite their team’s trouncing of rival Green Bay –
couldn’t possibly like this
from the Chicago Tribune:

Republicans are noting with some satisfaction that gas
prices are falling. The specter of gas costing significantly more than
$3 a gallon this fall had worried Republicans who feared that voters
would take it out on their party in November.

But prices are well south of $3 and dropping. The Energy
Information Agency indicates that gas prices in the Chicago area are
now averaging about $2.86 a gallon, down from $3.27 a gallon a little
over a month ago.

In fact, the energy news in general has got to be depressing
liberal football fans across the country regardless of the color of
their jerseys; whether we’re talking about oil, gasoline,
natural gas, heating oil, or electricity, prices look to be
significantly lower this football season than last.

Yet, like an injury-prone season that seems to never end, the
bad news for left-leaning football fans continued to poor in all
weekend as reported
by the Philadelphia Inquirer:

In June, Scott Rasmussen’s generic congressional
ballot gave Democrats a whopping 47 percent to 34 percent lead among
likely voters. His latest poll, conducted in mid-August, showed the
Democrats’ lead shrinking to 8 percentage points. The Gallup
generic ballot gave Democrats a 54-38 margin in June. In the latest
Gallup, those numbers narrow to a 47-45 edge.

Quite a comeback by the Republicans with so little time
remaining on the clock, wouldn’t you agree? But, the
Republicans didn’t only make up ground on the scoreboard this
weekend, for the finances of liberal football sponsors also appear to
be yards short of a first-down. As reported
by The Hill,

“In 2004, there was significant support by large
national donors on behalf of the Democratic ticket,” said
Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.), one of a handful of lawmakers highly active
with the Democrats’ campaign operation. “That level
of energy has not materialized to date, and that is disappointing
considering the tremendous stakes and opportunities available to
Democrats this cycle.”

Apparently, top Democrat contributors in 2004 didn’t
get the bang for their buck they had expected, and are rethinking how
to spend their hard-earned dollars this football season:

This year, those well-heeled donors have yet to join the
fray. [George] Soros has given less than $2 million, [Microsoft
co-founder Paul] Lewis a paltry $1.1 million, and the others even less.

Add it all up, and that over-confident preseason posturing
about the Democrats riding a wave of Iraq war discontent right into
leadership positions in both conferences has evaporated as quickly as
the Cowboys’ ten-point lead in Jacksonville Sunday afternoon.

Update 12:19 by Matthew Sheffield. None of this should be
surprising. Democrats inside and outside the press have as reliable of
a record of overestimating their chances as the Detroit Lions do at
failing to win a Super Bowl. They did it in 1994, failing to anticipate
the Republican takeover of Congress. In 1996, Democrats underestimated
Bob Dole's strength.

Both of George W. Bush's gridiron foes, Al Gore and John
Kerry, believed their support to be stronger than it really was. In the
Bush-Kerry contest, Democrat fans erroneously believed their own press
releases right down to the fourth quarter, mistakenly thinking Kerry
was destined to emerge victorious. The media did it also in 2002 when
they falsely believed Democrats could use the Iraq war to propel
themselves past the goal line.

Does this mean to imply that Republicans are destined to win this fall?
Not hardly. But the Democrats and their cheerleaders would do well not
to count the GOP out of the game.

Campaigns & Elections
Noel Sheppard's picture