Red Letter Day

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wild-ass election prediction

OK, I am feeling pessimistic today, but I have a prediction for the upcoming Congressional elections.

Sometime in the next week, the Supreme Court of New Jersey will issue a ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in that state. Unlike Massachusetts, which has a law prohibiting out-of-state couples from getting married in that state, New Jersey will allow out-of-state marriages.

Allthough this will be a great victory for civil rights, it will be a tactical disaster for Democrats, since this is the one and only thing that will actually motivate otherwise moribund and depressed right-wing voters to run and not walk to polling places in November.

In other words, gay marriage in New Jersey will be the "October Surprise" of the 2006 election, and will dominate the election season's final 2 weeks.

As a result of this, Republican candidates across the board will pick up a few extra percentage points. This will result in them turning what could have been a disasterous election result into basically "break even" (which for them is actually a victory). All those "in play" and marginal seats where Democrats were contending will go narrowly for the GOP.

End result: The House stays in the control of the Republicans, narrowly (they lose maybe 3-5 seats), and the GOP maintains control of the Senate by 4 to 5 seats. All of the gay marriage state constitutional amendmenets will pass (this would have happened anyway, but the good guys were at least within striking distance in a few states like Arizona and Wisconsin).

I really, really hope I am wrong here. It would be nice if the court could wait to rule on a divisive issue like this until after the election, in order to avoid undue influence on the political process, but I know courts don't ever think that way.

On the other hand, I searched the blogosphere and news sources pretty thoroughly before I wrote this post, and I saw no other mention of this as being the October surprise, not even from rabid wishful-thinking right-wing folks.

So if I am right, then you read it here first and I am a genius!

But I really hope I am wrong!

UPDATE (October 24): The ruling is due to be released tomorrow at 2:00 PM CDT.

UPDATE (October 26): Well, the decision has been released, and it basically will end up ordering the legislature to enact civil unions. It's not the electoral dynamite the GOP was hoping for, but it is not completely nothing either. So maybe it will have aless of an effect then I thought, but more then no effect.


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