Really, it’s no surprise that a “Terrorist” attack on the eve of the election could change the outcome and in Rocking the 2008 Election Frank Rich voices what many are thinking, that the only way McCain can win is if another 9/11 happens, right before the election.
I would look for something confusing, but not clearly staged – similar to the Bin Laden tape that came out just before the 2004 election, it certainly helped Bush.
DON’T fault Charles Black, the John McCain adviser, for publicly stating his honest belief that a domestic terrorist attack would be “a big advantage” for their campaign and that Benazir Bhutto’s assassination had “helped” Mr. McCain win the New Hampshire primary. His real sin is that he didn’t come completely clean on his strategic thinking.
In private, he is surely gaming this out further, George Carlin-style. What would be the optimum timing, from the campaign’s perspective, for this terrorist attack — before or after the convention? Would the attack be most useful if it took place in a red state, blue state or swing state? How much would it “help” if the next assassinated foreign leader had a higher name recognition in American households than Benazir Bhutto?
As Rich points out – people are more intelligent, hopefully, this time, and won’t fall for the same tactics – or will they?
If the election is not close – forget it – but the election might be close call, as elections, lately, have been, and in a close call – as it’s suggested that Ohio will be - with Obama Up Within Margin of Error in Latest Ohio Polling
the Real Clear Politics poll average puts Obama up 47.3 percent to 43.8 percent; and Five Thirty Eight projects a 4.4 percentage point victory for Obama in the state. In other words, the race in the state is tight — though Obama appears to have a narrow, though noticeable, edge currently.
What does the map look like if Obama is indeed able to pull off a victory in Ohio?
The path to victory for John McCain becomes significantly more tenuous. A win in Ohio brings 20 electoral votes, meaning that if Obama can carry the state in November and can keep the Kerry states in the Democratic column– and he now leads in each of them, according to averages of polling from the states — he would win the White House. Tack on states like Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico and Virginia — additional states that George W. Bush carried in 2004 that Pollster.com now shows Obama leading in — as well as the handful of other red states Obama is clearly competitive in, and all the sudden the map looks a lot less like a 50/50 split and a lot more like, well, something entirely different.
So … even if Republicans or Neocons that want to stay in power don’t play the Terror card, others who wanted some one like Bush to stay in power, could – meaning a lot of parties have an interest in Rocking the Election, one way or the other.
But we need to avoid falling into those traps – and I’m wondering if we’ll even be aware, till it’s too late – like 2004.