Dems vs. the 1978 New York Yankees.

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Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 7/9/18

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The 1978 baseball season is one that Boston Red Sox fans would rather forget but probably can’t. In mid-July that season, the Red Sox had a 14 ½-game lead over their archrival New York Yankees. Following a manager change when Bob Lemon took over from Billy Martin, the Yankees tore through the American League East. From fourteen and a half back they wound up the last day of the season tied with the Red Sox for the AL East title. A one-game playoff in Boston would see the Yankees down 2-0 in the seventh when shortstop Bucky Dent would launch a three-run homer over the Green Monster to take the pennant.

If you’re a Democrat in 2018, the parallels to the 1978 AL East, though not exact, should nonetheless be disturbing. In 2009 the Dems had the White House, a super-majority in the Senate and control of the House. They also had the media, the movie industry, professional sports, popular culture and virtually all of academe on their side. Their leader – Barack Obama – was smooth, articulate and hip. Dems had the equivalent of a 14-game lead.

But since then, Republicans have torn through the country the way the 1978 Yankees tore through the AL East. The GOP has won both houses of Congress, the White House and more than 1,000 governor and state legislature seats.

Yet throughout most of 2016, conventional wisdom held that Hillary Clinton was as unbeatable as the 1978 Red Sox. That “wisdom,” with its attendant arrogance, did much to bring about the improbable candidacy of Donald Trump. In the last hours of a bitter campaign season, Trump’s three-run homer — the electoral trifecta of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — caused Hillary Clinton’s “insurmountable” lead to vanish like a desert mirage. Here in mid-July 2018, against a backdrop of a strong economy and rising paychecks, predictions of a “blue wave” in the November mid-terms might similarly vanish.

The Yankees of 1978 won the pennant by winning on the margins. Opposing batter leadoff walks turned into leadoff outs. Yankees base runners that had hitherto been stranded on base turned into runs. Opposing ground balls that had been getting through started getting stopped. Two or three more Yankees hitters per game got on base.

The wins started coming.

Similar success on the margins by Republicans should scare the hell out of Democrats – particularly with respect to African-American voters. A recent Harvard-Harris poll revealed that 85 percent of African Americans want less immigration. Kanye West came out in support of the president and almost immediately support for Trump among black men as expressed in polls doubled. True, it’s still not a huge number. But it doesn’t need to be.

As a 2017 Pew survey reveals if you dig deep, if five percent of black voters switch to voting Republican, and another five percent or so just stay home, the Democrats’ chances of winning elections fall sharply.

That’s a far cry from their “14-game lead” of 2009.

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of Gleiser Communications, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The Team FM & KYZS in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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4 Responses

  1. Buddy Saunders says:

    Not being a sports fan, I remember nothing of the events you describe from the 1978 baseball season, but nonetheless I understand your analysis concerning the political game today. More and more, the Democrats have batty people in their batter’s box. In the end, crazy ideas steeped in raw, screaming emotion do little to persuade voters.

  2. Linda E. Montrose says:

    Sometimes life is like going to the eye doctor when you haven’t been for quite sometime and being told you need new glasses, that those you have on aren’t doing the job they once was. Then when you put your new ones on for the first time, you are amazed at how much sharper and clearer everything seems to be.
    Think for a whole lot of people, President Trump happens to be those new pair of eye glasses.

  3. Holland Cooke says:

    Are you inviting November wagers?

  4. Linda E. Montrose says:

    Mr. Cooke, I’m not a betting person, but think you will find the blue wave is going to be nothing more than a ripple. This hate mongering is getting old very quickly, surely you do not advocate violence as does mad maxie?

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