Politico Primary Roundup: "The Narrative" Is Dead! Long Live the Narrative!

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Aug. 11 2010 11:08 AM

Politico Primary Roundup: "The Narrative" Is Dead! Long Live the Narrative!

It was a busy night for intangible political phenomena, as Politico tried to decipher the latest events in a year already designated for angry, anti-establishment voting . "So much for that neatly woven package that journalists and political observers commonly refer to as 'the narrative," David Catanese wrote of the Colorado primaries, in which one establishment-backed candidate won and another one lost.

For some reason, more Democratic voters cast ballots for Senator Michael Bennet than for his opponent, Andrew Romanoff, meaning that Bennet won the nomination. Republicans, meanwhile, cast more ballots for Ken Buck than for Jane Norton. Catanese described the Buck campaign as a veritable steeplechase of imaginary obstacles:


Buck, who ran an upstart, topsy-turvy campaign fit for an outsider, began as an underdog, leapfrogged to front-runner status by midsummer but then lost traction in the final weeks because of a string of verbal gaffes that had the GOP consultant class rolling their eyes.

So when nobody was voting, Buck was losing, but then—also when nobody was voting—he started winning again, but then—still while nobody was voting—he was losing. The dog jumped a frog, then the dog's paws lost traction, and the consulting class rolled its eyes. Eventful! Then voters voted, and he got more votes than anyone else.

Oh, and he did something to the narrative:

But he also eviscerated the conventional wisdom that the record-breaking GOP turnout would benefit his opponent, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton.

"The conventional wisdom turned out to be wrong. The anti-establishment message was the decisive factor," said Rob Witwer, a former GOP state representative.

The conventional wisdom, by contradicting the conventional wisdom, turned out to be correct. (Meaning the conventional wisdom was wrong.)

Meanwhile in Connecticut, Maggie Haberman and Shira Toeplitz report that Linda McMahon won her Republican Senate primary because she was rich:

McMahon spent $22 million for a come-from-behind convention victory, but still fell just short of topping the 50 percent mark in Tuesday’s three-way Republican primary.

But Ned Lamont, despite being rich, lost the Democratic primary for governor. According to Politico, this demonstrates the same thing as Linda McMahon's victory: "the limits of self-funding."
Possibly the voters preferred McMahon to either of her opponents, but preferred Lamont's opponent to Lamont? More voters vote for winners than for losers! File that narrative away for November, Politico. It might come in handy.


Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.



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