by Jerome Armstrong, Mon Jun 07, 2004 at 05:12:53 PM EDT
The challenger/open seat races in place like CO, AK, and elsewhere are huge and exciting and deserving of all of our attention and support - but there's only one incumbent Dem Senator who's facing a challenge of this magnitude this cycle. And if we lose Daschle, we not only lose the Senate leader, but we lose any chance of winning back the Senate.
There can be little doubt the kinds of things we saw in '02 (against Cleland et al) will happen here this time. The 3rd party negative ads started back in April, and this race really began more than a year ago before we even had a opponent. Polls have shown a range, but it's South Dakota - with Johnson's 528 vote win in '02, and Stephanie Herseth's squeaker just last week, close elections are the norm here. Especially with a candidate like John Thune, who's making his second go at it, with all the resources of the national GOP, as well as a tradition of voter suppression on the Indian reservations.
And that last point should be stressed, as Nick Confessore posted on TAPPED the other day, following last week's special election in SD:UH, INDIANS ARE ALLOWED TO VOTE, TOO. A couple of months ago, there was some rightfully ticked-off chatter in the blogosphere regarding the stupid and quasi-racist notion that, quote, if it weren't for the black vote, the Democrats would be nowhere. (The clearest example of this came a couple of years ago from CNN analyst Bill Schneider, who explained on-air that Democrats were so "dependent" on the black vote that without them, the 1992 and 1996 elections would have been nail-biters and George W. Bush would have won an overwhelming electoral victory over Al Gore.) Josh Marshallnicely paraphrased this as the equivalent of saying "the Dems are just hopelessly sucking wind among real voters and thus have to resort to padding their totals with blacks." It's a dumb thought experiment in the sense that, of course if you strip either party of a big voting constituency, they would be less competitive. And it's quasi-racist in the implication that African-Americans somehow don't or shouldn't count.
Something similarly offensive is going on when Rep. Tom Davis, (R-Va.), the former National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman, says of Stephanie Herseth's narrow win in South Dakota, "If you take out the Indian reservation, we would have won."
One can't help but wonder if this is exactly what the GOP intends to do for November's rematch. After all, it was just two years ago that Republican operatives --- abetted by their media shills -- tried to suppress the reservation vote with scurrilous and malicious charges of widespread voter fraud. (For background, see here, here, here, and here.) Somehow, I think we'll be seeing more of that this fall.