It took McCain until the final days of the election to realize that his best argument was that Americans love divided government and distrusted single party rule. From the look of things, not only may the Democrats take the White House, but they could also get a filabuster proof Senate and a powerful majority in the House. That means total control of government and a shameful end for George W. Bush, making W. the worst Republican president, in strictly Republican terms, in history.
But if I were a Republican, I wouldn’t fret too much (unless I was running for reelection tomorrow). Remember 1992? Bill Clinton was in the White House and the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. Nevertheless, Bill Clinton was unable to pass any significant legislation. Two years later, the Republican Revolution took control over the Senate and the House for the first time in 40 years, as well as big gains in state legislatures and governorships around the country. That’s right, Americans love divided government. It took a little longer for this to happen to George W. Bush, but the same thing eventually happened to the Republican dominated Congress in the 2006 elections.
What does this mean for Republicans? My guess is that the Democrats will have big congressional victories in state and federal elections tomorrow and if Obama also wins, Americans will once again show their preference for divided government in the 2010 midterm elections. If on the other hand Obama loses, we’ll have divided government with a Republican presidency and Democratic Congress, and no tangible incentive to vote Republicans back into government.
Think about it. If McCain wins and is unpopular — extremely likely with the horrible outlook for reelection plus twelve years of Republican rule in the White House — it will be even more difficult to elect Republicans in 2012. Therefore, the Republicans’ best shot is for 2010 and 2012 is an Obama victory in 2008.