Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

As this presidential election year moves on, one time-honored axiom continues to hold true: Never underestimate the Democratic Party’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. On equal footing with the inevitability of death and taxes stands the Democrat’s innate ability to completely screw up a sure thing.

Currently the Republican brand is none too popular. The Democrat’s congressional and senatorial campaign committees have been able to out-raise the Republicans by huge margins. In contests where Republican challengers have thrown their hats in the ring, the incumbent Democrat is generally far outpacing them in campaign contributions.

A good case in point is the February contribution figures the John McCain campaign recently released – $11 million. Sounds somewhat impressive for a months work. until you consider that Barack Obama raised $55 million and Hillary Clinton $35 million, all in the same period. It doesn’t end on the national level. This year, the Florida College Democrats out raised the Florida College Republicans by five to one.

Any way you stack it, at this point it looks like it’s going to be another very bad year for Republicans. But hold the phone. It may be too early to write off the GOP’s chances, for they have one savior that may yet pull them out of the fire: the Democratic Party.

The last thing a party needs is public displays of contention. Setting aside the protracted primary fight between Obama and Clinton, the Democrats face the real possibility of the profoundly negative visual of Michigan and Florida’s delegates not being able to vote. Add to this the threats of legal action by those like Al Sharpton if those two states are allowed to vote and one can see the public relations disaster waiting to happen. Factoring in the nature of the Obama-Clinton nomination contest and the picture doesn’t look any better.

Obviously it’s important to follow the rules. However, when the penalty for not doing so is so severe that the rules become counterproductive to the ability of the organization to accomplish its mission, then somebody needs to step in and fix the problem. It is, after all, the Democrat’s election to lose.

As a Republican I’m going to laugh my ass off if they lose, but if they do so at a time when the stars are so clearly aligned in their favor then not only do they not deserve to win, they don’t deserve the privilege to govern.

Scott Wacholtz is a graduate student in the history department. He may be contacted at