Coleman Can Win

Ramesh Ponnuru says that Norm Coleman can still win the Minnesota Senate seat. Theoretically, yes, he still can, but it’s going to be extremely difficult.

Even while alive, Paul Wellstone was a figure who was practically revered in Minnesota politics. Despite his liberal voting record, the Minnesota DFL held Paul Wellstone in almost messianic reverence as a symbol of the liberal idea. With his death, Wellstone has become a martyr figure for Minnesota Democrats, which means that those who would have voted Green will now almost certainly vote for Wellstone’s replacement, even if Mondale isn’t nearly the political figure that Wellstone was. The DFL base is also very mobilized, and memories of Paul’s death may spur many who would not have voted to do so.

How could Coleman win? Well, he needs to continue the campaign starting today. He needs to stay on his message of being someone who can bring people together. This is a message that will help him in this time. He now needs to run a positive campaign that puts emphasis on his record in St. Paul – attacking the DFL would seem shrill and insensitive. By staying positive, and by talking about unifying themes, all of which have been established in the Coleman campaign all along, Coleman can have a solid theme for the last few days of the campaign.

It looks like the RNC is going to put even more resources into Minnesota due to the disruption of Wellstone’s tragic and untimely death. That means that Coleman has a chance to cement his record before Mondale can cement his. If the Republican base shows up to vote, and Coleman doesn’t lose ground, he can put Mondale into the position of having only a week to do everything needed to win the Senate seat – a daunting task even for Mondale. Coleman needs to act decisively but carefully, but if he does so he may just be able to pull off a victory out of the shadow of tragedy.

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