Reince Priebus is Playing Smart Politics. Maybe Democrats Should Try It Too.


Here’s the latest from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus:

At a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast on Tuesday Priebus said Republicans would see massive gains in the 2014 election, especially in the Senate. “I think we’re in for a tsunami election,” Priebus said. “Especially at the Senate level.”

Ed Kilgore thinks Priebus should cut the crap. If Democrats lose five or six Senate seats, that won’t be a tsunami. It will be perfectly normal given the electoral map, the six-year itch, and the usual Democratic turnout problem in midterms.

Maybe so. But that’s pretty obviously not the game Priebus is playing. He’s not analyzing, he’s working the refs. He wants to build momentum and make Republicans look unbeatable. He wants to look like a winner. He wants to get Republicans to turn out in big numbers this November.

Democrats, by contrast, are already acting like whipped curs, moaning about the map and the itch and the turnout. They lose a special election by two percentage points and all is lost. Incumbents start dropping like flies. The press, smelling weakness, piles on. Democratic voters, acting like the normal human beings they are, get discouraged and figure that things are hopeless. So they don’t contribute, they don’t campaign, and they don’t bother voting on Election Day.

Priebus knows this very well. If he could think of a word even bigger than tsunami, he’d use it. He wants his voters to think of themselves as part of a decisive turning of the tide against dissolute liberalism, and if his party wins in November he wants the media to write about it as a historic victory that gives Republicans a conservative mandate. It’s just smart politics.

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