The Blogging of the President: "The current conventional wisdom that even with a Republican Party that is less popular than broccoli with liver, that the Democrats will not be able to shift a mere 15 seats out of 435, nor 6 seats of the Senate, even though such swings have ample historical precedent – in 1958, for example, Democrats picked up 13 seats, as well as 3 of the 4 new seats in the Senate, and almost 50 in the House, this with Eisenhower still relatively popular in the country. If this political moment sees another round of gridlock, followed by two years of excruciating descent in to the next recession and 'the tyranny of the minority' – then expect more than merely a political explosion, expect demands to alter the constitutional balance of power, and the means by which elections are held."
Stirling Newberry tells an interesting tale, about the consequences, should the Democrats prove unable to push the Republicans from control of Congress, despite their unpopularity with two-thirds of the population. It is not, to my ears, a particularly plausible narrative, but I do wonder about the reaction, should the intensity of opposition to the Republicans not find power in the near term.
The problem is not just that the Republicans have gamed the system, it is that, despite Bush's unpopularity, a part of that unpopularity is shallow, related to nothing more substantive than the price of gas. The Republicans have great advantages, including a kind of control of the news media. Close to half the country votes Republican, no matter what.
On the other hand, a minority of Americans feel intensely anti-Bush.