A new conservative celebrity has been born seemingly overnight in one of the unlikeliest of places – Massachusetts. Not even so much the state, but the position he is fighting for is the most surprising of turns – Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat. The audacity of a Republican to even venture out and try to win this seat is incredible. A few months ago, Scott Brown received the nomination mostly because no one wanted to run for a meaningless cause. But in the run-up to a Martha Coakley victory tour something surprising happened; Brown started turning around polls that he was initially down 10-20 points and has made this race a dead heat. At FiveThirtyEight, their data analysis now shows Brown with a 55% chance of being victorious tomorrow night. So what is the cultural and political importance of this race for what was once the liberal-est of seats? ***SINCE THIS WAS POSTED, FiveThirtyEight has revised their prediction after the release of some new updated polls showing Coakley in an even worse position. Nate Silver now predicts the race as a Lean GOP, with 74% chance of going to Brown.
The most immediate impact of a Brown victory would be in regards to the Health Bill in conference right now. Adding a 41st conservative voter, assuming no other voters changed their mind, would allow the bill to be filibustered and blocked from passage if it were ever to come back to the Senate floor. Essentially this is the final hour, curveball, long shot, wild card, hail mary, metaphor-inducing miracle the Republicans could not have imagined would be in play. That doesn’t mean that a Brown victory ensures health care does not pass. As CSM points out, there are three ways the Democrats could still get the reform bill through to the President’s desk. However, all of which have the potential of backfiring as all have a hint of under-handed play involved that might hurt the moderate and incumbent candidates up for re-election in 2010 even more.
Long-term is this gives a strong case for conservatism in the 2010 mid-terms. It serves as an early referendum on Obama’s policies and will show how well stitched his coattails will be when his name doesn’t appear on the ballot. The fact he spent the weekend in Massachusetts campaigning and saw crowds at reduced numbers from his epic 2008 campaign, are leading many to believe his brand will not carry the party this time around. Also, his high disapproval numbers in the state could hurt Coakley’s election chances. If you a couple a victory here with the gubernatorial races in VA & NJ, that will make three unlikely national seats that conservatism can hang their hat on. If you run the right candidate, you have the potential to win even in the Northeast.
Personally, I tend to put more weight in the history of the senatorial votes than the numbers being received from recent polls. But, in the final hours the race has become very desperate and nasty from the Coakley campaign and the left. After first trying to limit his appeal by releasing old photographs he took for Cosmo in the ’80s…which didn’t work with his soap opera magnetism that would make Hope Brady swoon, they now have stooped to doctoring video and making it seem he is advocating sodomizing Martha Coakley. This now leads me to believe there is genuine worry within their staff that they have lost this election. I can’t imagine claims such as this “We can do this” campaign that will surely be hammered on all the liberal talk shows will work in the Bay State. Surely common sense will prevail. I hope.
Although Republicans should be pleased with the current polls, by no means should they consider this a sure bet. A Republican victory in a senatorial race would be rarer then an opposition’s victory in Cameron Indoor or the Breslin Center. Democrats still run the political machine in Massachusetts and can still get out the vote. One of the unfortunate things for Brown is the fact he may have peaked a week too early, and will not surprise the Democrat voting bloc. They had time to rally and put forth one last-ditch effort to retain Kennedy’s seat. The conservatives of Massachusetts still need to get out and vote. But there is reason for great optimism that the conservative revival could begin earlier than November 2010.