What If ...?

The latest RCP national average has McCain up by 3.2 percent and Obama leading McCain by 43 electoral votes. We have good reason to believe that Obama will perform well in a number of Southern states that he is nevertheless unlikely to win, a prospect that has led some to anticipate a scenario in which McCain-Palin wins the Electoral College while losing the popular vote — a nightmare scenario, in my view. But what if Obama-Biden wins the Electoral College and McCain-Palin wins the popular vote? There’s a part of me that would love to see this happen.

(1) Liberals are eager to win back the White House. After two terms of Bush, they are convinced they can do a better job. It’s not obvious to me that this is true, but I do sense that we need to let the left let off some steam, so to speak. I think the climate of distrust and anger that pervades our politics really is toxic, and a Democratic president might do something to remind the center-left that governing isn’t easy, particularly under straitened economic circumstances and with US forces engaged in hotspots around the globe.

(2) A popular vote win and electoral defeat by the McCain-Palin ticket would encourage cross-partisan empathy. Also, it would keep Republicans energized and eager to reinvent the party.

That’s the thought, at least.