We Decide 2006, Predictions...

Well, election day has finally arrived and everyone seems to agree that the country is likely to be a very different place Wednesday morning. These pundits seem to be following the conventional wisdom, which has the Democrats taking control of the House and at the very least narrowing the gap in the Senate, and the media has trumpeted the coming triumph of Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who would become the first female Speaker of the House (which puts her frightening close to the oval office). There are several reasons why I disagree with the prevailing political prognostications--

1. Conservatives have been hearing for weeks/months that the Democrats are walking away with Congress and I am certain a lot of people will vote because they are scared.

2. Early voting is both new and unpredictable with some estimates putting the percentage of total votes cast early at about 30%. If anything this should make for an interesting case study in election dynamics and voter trends which could rewrite the campaign play book for both parties.

3. Saddam Hussein found himself on the front page of every newspaper in the world on Monday following his conviction on charges of crimes against humanity, for which he has been condemned to the gallows. Hopefully this timely verdict will remind enough people that "The Butcher of Baghdad" is the only person truly responsible for the mess in Iraq.

4. Gas prices have plummeted in the last 8-10 weeks. Actual savings from this drop in prices probably have yet to make up for the hundreds of extra dollars many Americans shilled out during the summer driving season, but as undecided voters drive to the polls and contemplate their decision, this tangible improvement in the their daily lives may make the difference.

5. $$$$. Money matters and the Republicans have more of it, so they have every reason to be optimistic about their chances to stage a last ditch comeback. It is this war chest that makes the Republican grassroots mobilization that much more effective than that of the Democrats.

Maybe I'm crazy and can't let go of the hope that everyone who is a supposed 'expert' is really a delusional crackpot, but I'm am going out on a limb and predict that the Republicans will retain their majority in both Houses. If they don't, we are going to have to live under the legislative agenda of Speaker Pelosi, a prospect which should scare anyone with half a brain.
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