I’m going to go on the record early with this prediction, and should time prove me wrong, feel free to remind me of my mistake:
Election Night 2010 will prove to be a disaster for the Republican Party as we now know it.
I know, conventional wisdom holds that Republicans will win a lot of seats and will almost certainly retake the House of Representatives, perhaps by a comfortable margin. In the Senate, experts predict that Democrats will cling to a majority by a handful of votes, with a decent chance that Republicans could win control of that chamber as well.
I believe that conventional wisdom is correct. Come Election Night, I have little doubt that Republicans across the country will be happily, giddily celebrating what they perceive as a public rejection of Barack Obama and vindication of their conservative principles. They will, so to speak, get their country back.
And then what?
A party pushed into power by blind anger and outrage will then try to govern in anger and outrage. The dramatic, even revolutionary expectations that it has created among its base of supporters will collide head on with Washington realities. The contradictions inherent in a “populist” movement stoked to high dudgeon against Wall Street and other special interests — a movement that is in fact quietly financed and guided by those very same special interests — will no longer be hidden. And the mindset among conservatives that interprets even the slightest compromise as an abject surrender of principle will make it impossible for them to govern responsibly.
By 2012, the result will be the reelection of Barack Obama and Democratic control of both the House and Senate. That’s my prediction; what’s yours?