Linda McMahon and Obama 4Ever

Today, some odd “sample ballots” can be found fluttering around Connecticut polling places, featuring two photos with checkmarks next to them: one of Barack Obama, and one of Senate candidate Linda McMahon, a Republican. The sample ballots, in addition to SEIU-flavored “I Support Obama and McMahon” t-shirts, and Barack/Linda doorhangers, spell a last-ditch campaign effort to distance the senate candidate from her party. McMahon, who trails Democrat Chris Murphy by about five points, perhaps feels she has little choice left. (Besides, she’s no stranger to fakery, being married to WEE impresario Vince McMahon.)

McMahon’s efforts, moreover, reflect the flip-side of the conclusion Ezra Klein drew today. The Senate, he reported, was more likely to hold Democratic than the President was to win re-election–at least according to Intrade. The reason for that, as he notes, is because Tea Party primary winners like Akin and Mourdock in 2012 (to say nothing of Angle and O’Donnell in 2010) turn off general election voters. As a result, the Tea Party may have only itself to blame for failing to realize its biggest goal: repealing Obamacare. Not only might a Democratic Senate filibuster a potential Romney-led effort to repeal the law, but it was Arlen Specter’s party switch in 2010–prompted by a Tea Party challenge–that allowed Democrats to pass the bill in the first place.

If this trend holds–with extreme Republicans alienating non-base voters, and moderate Republicans desperately tacking to the center in Democratic states (see Scott Brown)–we can welcome the sure and steady comeback of the “Emerging Democratic Majority” that gets obscured by hyper-partisan primary elections and right-wing media commentary.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Simon van Zuylen-Wood

Simon van Zuylen-Wood is a writer for Philadelphia Magazine.