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Will Our Championship Drought in the Super Bowl of Elections Ever End?

02.01.2008 14:27 | DISPATCHES

It's been 99 years since the Chicago Cubs have won a World Series. But they, as well as teams that have never won a Super Bowl, aren't the only ones in the throes of a championship drought.

No one is more long-suffering than those of us who dream of a progressive president. Or, less unrealistically, one who at least places the priorities of the people before those of the rich.

If the presidential primaries are like the regular season, Super Tuesday resembles Major League Baseball's playoffs, which determine who will play in the World Series. But the outcome of the election itself isn't decided in four to seven days like the World Series, just one.

Election day then is more akin to the Super Bowl. And we the people haven't won one since the winning streak of Franklin Roosevelt, a president who dared to rein in the rich. Since then, candidates like Adlai Stevenson and George McGovern have inspired progressives, but been blown out.

Meanwhile, thanks to the centrist positions of Democrats who have been elected president, victory on their part scarcely seems like one for our side. To return to the sports metaphor, it's as if our divisional arch-rival, such as the Dallas Cowboys, if you're a New York Giants fan, won it all.

To many progressives, the NFL is a guilty pleasure. (There's no real excuse for supporting what, in a certain light, appears to be a federation of paramilitary –- thankfully not yet armed -- forces roaming the land.)

Still, when a Republican defeats a Democrat that we don't support, it hurts just as much as if our home team had gone down to defeat in the Super Bowl. Like in 2000, when George Bush was handed a victory -- however marred by the equivalent of bad officiating calls in a football game -- over the then-uninspiring Al Gore.

If Hillary Clinton were nominated and lost the election, would progressives respond with the same anguish many of us did to Gore's loss? With Bush hatred taken out of the equation, it's tough to predict.

But it's hard not to suspect that progressives exist -– probably in the same crowd who watch football despite their better instincts (also known as men) -- whose disdain for Hillary is almost as great as for Bush. In fact, if she lost, they might even take perverse pleasure in the other party's victory.

Just like some Republicans -- hard right columnist She-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless is way out front on this one -– would celebrate a McCain loss.

If there's any justification for this line of thinking, it goes like this:

"Maybe now my fellow [Democrats, Republicans] will learn, once and for all that a candidate who doesn't represent the party's core values will go down in flames on election day."

Some of us despair of ever again electing a president who's on the side of the people. Bear in mind, though, that the Boston Red Sox endured an 86-year-long drought before winning the World Series again. To some among us, Barack Obama is another Big Papi on whom we pin our hopes for victory.


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