5 Delusional Right-Wingers Certain That Mitt Romney's Headed for a Landslide Win
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Republicans have decided that all the available evidence must be wrong and that Mitt Romney is headed for a certain victory next Tuesday. Many expect a landslide win that will rival Reagan's ten-point victory over Jimmy Carter in 1980. It's hard to recall another example of an entire political party deluding itself to such a degree that it has lost any connection to objective reality.
Romney can certainly win this election. There is no doubt about that. But he is just as certainly the underdog. Talking-Point Memo's Poll Tracker currently projects Obama to win 285 Electoral College votes to Romney's 191 (270 wins the White House); without toss-up states, Real Clear Politics has Obama with 290 Electoral College votes; Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight model gives the incumbent an 80.9 percent likelihood of victory; Sam Wang at the Princeton Election Consortium is even more bullish, projecting 318 Electoral College votes for the president and giving him a 97 percent chance of winning re-election.
Many conservatives simply refuse to accept this state of affairs. There are two reasons. The party hacks – including those in the Romney campaign – worry about turning out their base. People like to vote for winners, and if they believe their candidate is likely to go down in defeat, they may decide to stay home and do some laundry next Tuesday. They fear that if their candidate looks like he will be beat it can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Projecting an image of a strong candidate with good momentum keeps their voters engaged and enthusiastic.
For the rank-and-file, there's something else going on. Research suggests that political conservatives tend to have a greater need to avoid cognitive dissonance than liberals. The right has spent 4 years painting Obama as not only a failure and an incompetent, but a dangerous radical; a crypto-Muslim with dictatorial tendencies who may not even be an American citizen. The idea that such a horrible monster could be re-elected causes painful cognitive dissonance, which they're trying to manage by grasping at any straw they see.
This can lead to some truly comical efforts to twist reality into something that conforms with their world-view. Here are 5 examples, from the top of the Republican ticket to the bottom of the right-wing fever swamps.
1. The Romney Campaign: Independents
On Wednesday, after one of Romney's worst days of polling, the campaign held a conference call for reporters. According to Talking-Points Memo, “Romney’s top staff offered reporters an endless number of reasons they’re going to beat President Obama on a conference call Wednesday. Not included on their list of Romney advantages: a clear lead in the polls.”
“Obama has a political environment problem,” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said. “He’s got an intensity problem, he’s got an image problem and he’s got a ballot problem — and they all add up to a challenging Tuesday next week.”
The campaign's primary talking-point is that Romney is leading among “independents.” The problem is that there aren't many true independents – most who identify themselves as such usually vote for one of the two major parties. But here's the thing: these categories are very fluid.
Right now, more people identify as independents than Republicans or Democrats.And if you look at the chart above, you can see that there was a major shift around the 2010 mid-term elections, with a lot of people who had identified as Republicans deciding to call themselves independents. This probably correlates with the rise of the Tea Party movement, which is a partisan Republican operation that claims to be independent of the two major parties.