And If the GOP Doesn't Win, Cont.

By James Fallows

Many reader messages await on how the Republican party would react to the apparently imminent defeat of Mitt Romney -- that is, the failure to beat a marginally popular incumbent during economic hard times. Some people say defeat would necessarily propel the party back to the center; others, that it would boil out the RINOs and compromisers and empower those who say that a pure approach is the only way to win.

As an indicator of steering currents, here is an editorial tonight titled "Crush Them," from the National Review online, published a few hours before the polls were to open.

Conservatives have a rare opportunity tomorrow to do something they signally failed to do in the landslide elections of 1972 and 1984: finish the job....

It's not enough for the GOP to win tomorrow. It needs to win big, a win so convincing that even the Left won't be able to explain it away. The definition of victory in war is not a 50.1 percent majority that allows the other side to keep fighting -- it's the battleship Missouri, on whose deck the losing side signs articles of capitulation. The modern Left -- the unholy spawn of '30s gangland and '60s academic Marxism -- must be forced to its knees in surrender.

And if the scene tomorrow night is not of Messrs. Obama, Biden, Reid, et al on their knees in surrender, accompanied by Ms. Pelosi -- if the concession speech is coming from the other side and Mitch McConnell is left not with control of the Senate but with the obstructionist tool of the filibuster -- if any of that happens, I really will be interested to see how this branch of the right-wing movement "explains away" its situation and considers how the party can re-position itself.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/11/and-if-the-gop-doesnt-win-cont/264596/