Our season of discontent, and Harry Reid’s

Politico reports that Harry Reid’s hopes for re-election in November rest on a scenario in which enough voters select a third or fourth party candidate, or “none of the above,” to enable him to prevail with less than 50 percent of the vote. To bring about this outcome, Reid, in the words of a top political journalist in Nevada, “will have to run the most negative campaign in the history of Nevada” by dumping millions of dollars into attack ads hammering his GOP challenger. That’s a task Reid surely will relish.
Reid has a basis for believing that a goodly number of the votes he fails to obtain will not go to his (yet-to-be-selected) Repubican challenger. In each of his four previous Senate races, third-party candidates and “none of these candidates” combined won at least 4 percent of the overall vote, with the total reaching nearly 8 percent in 1992. But with Reid polling at only about 40 percent right now, he’ll probably need a much larger percentage of the electorate to eschew the two major party candidates.
The Reid camp says it’s confident that, in our season of discontent, this will come to pass. If the discontent is vague and unfocused, the Reid camp might be right. But if, as seems more likely to me, the discontent is directed primarily against the party in power, and its leader in the Senate, then we can expect it to be manifested in votes that will inflict the maximum damage on Reid — in other words, votes for the Republican candidate.


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