Clift, Eleanor, Newsweek
Byline: Eleanor Clift
The GOP hasn't won yet -- What it would take for the Dems to get re-fired up and score a big midterms upset.
Democrats have this fantasy that millions of voters, mostly the young and people of color who elected Barack Obama, will defy predictions and swarm the voting booths on Election Day. The reason most polls forecast disaster for the Democrats, according to this scenario, is that pollsters haven't found a way to accurately tap into the millennial generation, which doesn't have landlines, or Latinos because of the language barrier. So is it completely crazy to think that a hidden force is going to emerge to turn this election around?
Nov. 2 will doubtless bring its share of surprises, and one of them could be that Democrats suddenly awaken to the threat posed by a Republican takeover of Congress. The same enthusiasts who got Obama elected may decide that the chance to deliver another big blow to the GOP is just too enticing to pass up. They don't even have to really win. The party in power typically loses seats in the first midterms after a new president takes office, and Republicans have been anticipating a big victory for months. So even if the Democrats lose seats--but manage somehow to hang on to slim majorities in the House and Senate--that will be a huge success.
One of the few strategists willing to climb out on this limb is Simon Rosenberg, founder of the New Democrat Network. His belief is based on a healthy skepticism of traditional polling, together with a keen appreciation of the country's changing demographics. "This is a volatile and unpredictable electorate that is still capable of showing us surprises," he says.
Still, for the Democrats to retain control of the House, a number of things have to happen. First, the base has to get re-fired up. Recently Obama has been drawing big crowds reminiscent of the heady days of '08. …