Christine O’Donnell is still the underdog in the race to represent Delaware in the U.S. Senate, but the Republican establishment is getting behind her campaign and she has been energizing donors to provide the money to run an effective campaign in the final month leading up to Election Day. The GOP has other reasons to be encouraged by her campaign.
Since O’Donnell’s surprise victory in the Republican primary several weeks ago, the national media have been unrelenting in their scrutiny of her, to the point where even the comedians at Saturday Night Live jumped in with an over-the-top spoof of her campaign. Other conservative candidates who have been targets of this “mediaocracy” have seen their political fortunes improve during this time as well. No doubt, the rise of these candidates is due in large part to their own tireless “grassroots” style of campaigning and the increasing resonance of their fiscally responsible message. Still, O’Donnell’s turn as the lighting rod must be giving some extra breathing room to more than a few candidates who previously occupied the cross hairs of the liberal media.
We’re also talking about the media fueling an “us versus them” narrative that is boomeranging on the liberal elites. The over-the-top ferocity of the attacks against O’Donnell could be triggering common-man solidarity with the underdog Republican candidates in Connecticut, West Virginia, Nevada and elsewhere. Like the campaign against Sarah Palin in 2008, the vitriol and exaggeration of many pundits have energized an equally powerful reaction against their perceived venomous demeanor. Or maybe it’s the realization that the comparison in 2010 isn’t with some perfect candidate, but with the crowd of flawed establishment politicians currently inhabiting Washington. Against that standard, the everyday humanity of these Republican challengers can seem almost normal.