It’s terrible. It’s never happened before.
A President despised by one party has won an election despite having the economy against him and a deteriorating situation in a country he invaded, and, despite growing whispers that he’s simply not up to the job, he wins narrowly in a victory fueled by highly-motivated occasional voters who marched out to support him.
The candidate beaten by this weak, lame-duck president had good qualifications on the key issue of the election. Sure, that candidate lacked charisma and warmth, and was a wealthy New Englander viewed skeptically by much of the country, but he did have a background which gave him inarguable authority to speak on the most important issue of the day.
And sure, he basically won the primaries not through impressive political skill and charisma and vision, but simply because he was the only plausibly qualified would-be president among a gaggle of unlikely pretenders, many of whom were simply too extreme or too flamboyant for the country at large.
And sure, a blitz of negative ads partially turned his key qualification into a negative, by questioning his character in his dealings in his prior career.
But, overall, he was a credible candidate, and polled very close to the incumbent throughout the campaign season. He wound up losing, but by a narrow margin.
Still, that narrow margin is still a margin.
The winning party talks up a realignment that will permanently keep them in power. The losing party is despondent at that notion–they sense it’s true. How can we beat anyone, the losing party thinks, if we cannot beat this unqualified, dishonest, smug, man who has set the country on a suicide mission which will destroy it?
Why can’t the country see through the Imperial Presidency of this corrupt corporate cronyist? What’s wrong with America? What’s wrong with us?
The losing party thinks they’ll never win an election again.
And then…comes 2006, when the Democrats capture Congress under the sterling, brilliant, charismatic leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. And comes 2008, when a very experienced, very qualified community organizer wins the White House.