Some (Possibly) Positive Political News

By James Fallows

One of the biggest "dog that didn't bark" surprises of the past week has been the relative lack of "election was stolen"/"voter fraud"/"it's all because of ACORN" themes from the Fox-influenced conservative media and politicians. A few days before the election I argued that there were a number of signs of this "pre-delegitimization" theme setting in.

A reader notes that it hasn't happened, and that we should be grateful:

I know before the election some people wrote in predicting a post-election Republican campaign to promote the idea that Obama's win was not legitimate. However fortunately this seems to be failing to materialize.

Erick Erickson of RedState told his readers, "Barack Obama won. He won by turning out the most people in a well run campaign. In other words, he won fair and square."

In an interview with ABC News, Paul Ryan said, "The president deserves kudos for having a fantastic ground game, and the point I'm simply making is he won. He won fair and square. He got more votes, and that's the way our system works, and so he ought to be congratulated for that."

These are just two examples, and it's still quite early, but these are still encouraging signs. So that's some good news.

And here is a third example: last night on CNN, just one week after the election, the Republican governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, said (to paraphrase): "The results are in, the president won, his team has their turn to govern, let's move ahead." Worth underscoring how different that tone is from (a) the immediate reaction after the results four years ago and (b) what might have been. Sen. Mitch McConnell, whose reaction once again boils down to "the results are in, now the president better agree with us," has not fully internalized the message, but it is reasonable to hope that he is a lagging indicator, like Karl Rove on election night. 

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/11/some-possibly-positive-political-news/265190/