(WASHINGTON MONTHLY)

By Kathleen Geier

Though this will basically be a total Debbie Downer of a post, I’ll kick it off on a more upbeat note: I do believe that despite our still-terrible economy, despite polls that show the electorate to be closely divided, President Obama will win re-election this fall. It’s likely to be close, but I think that the economy is improving just enough (albeit just barely), Mitt Romney is a rotten enough candidate, the racial demographics of the country are continuing to change in a way that favor Democrats, and Barack Obama is a decent campaigner. All those factors seem to augur a Democratic win.

But sadly, America can’t stave off disaster forever. The Republicans have a very good shot at winning the presidency in 2016, and if they don’t do it then, the odds will favor them even more strongly in 2020. The sad fact is, we can’t hold back these jagoffs forever. This country is a two-party system and that’s how we roll, with the White House switching back and forth between the two parties. Even under the most optimistic assumptions, with a country that is in much, much better shape by 2016, with an economy that is purring along and a new health care system that succeeds brilliantly and is more wildly popular than even its most fervent supporters dared to hope, it won’t necessarily redound to the credit of the Democratic party. After all, after eight years of Clinton, the country appeared to be in pretty good shape, but that didn’t prevent the Republicans from winning in 2000 (or, in reality, coming close enough so they could steal it).

None of this would matter terribly much if we still had your father’s — of maybe by now, it’s more like your grandfather’s — G.O.P. But what we’re actually dealing with is a radicalized, hyper-partisan, lunatic fringe party that keeps blazing new trails in wingnuttery.

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