Democrats, Elections, and the NFL

As Democrat football teams started their mini-camps this summer, there was great anticipation concerning the upcoming season. Most analysts, many of whom are difficult to distinguish from Dem cheerleaders, predicted a left-wing sweep that would end up in a changing of the guard come January. Yet, given the results of the NFL’s opening weekend, things aren’t as rosy for the Democrats as some had handicapped.

No finer example of leftist gridiron disappointment transpired than in Gotham City. As residents’ minds turned from a classic battle at Arthur Ashe Stadium to two brothers fighting it out at the Meadowlands, liberal Giants fans must have hated seeing this frightening headline in Monday’s New York Times – “Less Promise for Democrats in N.Y.”

One has to wonder what annoyed Upper Westsiders more – Peyton Manning getting the best of his little brother, or the following:

[J]ust a few months ago, Democrats envisioned significant gains in New York, perhaps picking up as many as four seats, possibly even five. But that goal now seems increasingly remote.

Almost like another Eli Manning interception, the article gloomily continued:

The shifting local fortunes for Democrats could have serious political implications beyond New York.

Further south, despite their victory in Al Gore’s home-state on Sunday, things also darkened for liberal Jets fans according to Zogby International:

The online polls of Senate and gubernatorial races in 26 states find Democrats, who began this election cycle hoping to capture the Republican-held House and Senate, losing ground in New Jersey. There, incumbent appointee Bob Menendez suddenly finds himself running dead-even with Republican Tom Kean Jr. Menendez had been leading since a June poll.

And, Democrats that support the Steelers, Browns, and Bengals had little to cheer about as well:

In two of the other hottest Senate contests this fall, vulnerable GOP incumbents have suddenly closed the gap on their challengers. Republicans Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mike DeWine of Ohio, both of whom were down by wide margins essentially all year, have suddenly narrowed the edge of their Democratic challengers to four points. The survey shows that in Pennsylvania, the presence of third-party candidates suggests an even closer race, with left-wing candidates siphoning votes from moderate Democrat Bob Casey Jr.

This sense of gloom was also felt by liberal Falcons fans despite their good showing in Carolina according to a report by the Los Angeles Times:

Riding a wave of discontent over the economy, Iraq and gas prices, Democrats are hoping to win enough seats to retake the House of Representatives this November. But their success could also hinge on their ability to keep the seats they already have — and doing so could prove difficult in two key races in Georgia.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Jim Marshall of Macon and John Barrow of Savannah are facing hearty challenges from a pair of former Republican congressmen with name recognition and the ability to raise big money. Bolstering their chances are new district boundaries drawn up by the first GOP-dominated Georgia Legislature since Reconstruction.

Finally, Bears fans on the left side of the aisle – despite their team’s trouncing of rival Green Bay – couldn’t possibly like this news from the Chicago Tribune:

Republicans are noting with some satisfaction that gas prices are falling. The specter of gas costing significantly more than $3 a gallon this fall had worried Republicans who feared that voters would take it out on their party in November.

But prices are well south of $3 and dropping. The Energy Information Agency indicates that gas prices in the Chicago area are now averaging about $2.86 a gallon, down from $3.27 a gallon a little over a month ago.

In fact, the energy news in general has got to be depressing liberal football fans across the country regardless of the color of their jerseys; whether we’re talking about oil, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil, or electricity, prices look to be significantly lower this football season than last.

Yet, like an injury-prone season that seems to never end, the bad news for left-leaning football fans continued to poor in all weekend as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer:

In June, Scott Rasmussen’s generic congressional ballot gave Democrats a whopping 47 percent to 34 percent lead among likely voters. His latest poll, conducted in mid-August, showed the Democrats’ lead shrinking to 8 percentage points. The Gallup generic ballot gave Democrats a 54-38 margin in June. In the latest Gallup, those numbers narrow to a 47-45 edge.

Quite a comeback by the Republicans with so little time remaining on the clock, wouldn’t you agree? But, the Republicans didn’t only make up ground on the scoreboard this weekend, for the finances of liberal football sponsors also appear to be yards short of a first-down. As reported by The Hill,

“In 2004, there was significant support by large national donors on behalf of the Democratic ticket,” said Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.), one of a handful of lawmakers highly active with the Democrats’ campaign operation. “That level of energy has not materialized to date, and that is disappointing considering the tremendous stakes and opportunities available to Democrats this cycle.”

Apparently, top Democrat contributors in 2004 didn’t get the bang for their buck they had expected, and are rethinking how to spend their hard-earned dollars this football season:

This year, those well-heeled donors have yet to join the fray. [George] Soros has given less than $2 million, [Microsoft co-founder Paul] Lewis a paltry $1.1 million, and the others even less.

Add it all up, and that over-confident preseason posturing about the Democrats riding a wave of Iraq war discontent right into leadership positions in both conferences has evaporated as quickly as the Cowboys’ ten-point lead in Jacksonville Sunday afternoon.

Update 12:19 by Matthew Sheffield. None of this should be surprising. Democrats inside and outside the press have as reliable of a record of overestimating their chances as the Detroit Lions do at failing to win a Super Bowl. They did it in 1994, failing to anticipate the Republican takeover of Congress. In 1996, Democrats underestimated Bob Dole's strength.

Both of George W. Bush's gridiron foes, Al Gore and John Kerry, believed their support to be stronger than it really was. In the Bush-Kerry contest, Democrat fans erroneously believed their own press releases right down to the fourth quarter, mistakenly thinking Kerry was destined to emerge victorious. The media did it also in 2002 when they falsely believed Democrats could use the Iraq war to propel themselves past the goal line.

Does this mean to imply that Republicans are destined to win this fall? Not hardly. But the Democrats and their cheerleaders would do well not to count the GOP out of the game.
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.