Can McCain Get Back in the Race?

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


I think bloggers/journalists/pundits giving campaigns advice is a bad and unproductive little habit, but my posts today about how raising Ayers won’t get McCain back in the race has got me thinking about what will.

Just to be clear, I think McCain going after Obama’s associations is a choice fraught with as much danger for McCain as for Obama. (See the last two posts for why.) So what can McCain do instead? He can paraphrase Bill Clinton and label himself “a new kind of Republican.” He can slam Bush. He can denounce the way the country has been run for the last eight years by a Republican White House and, for the most part, a Republican Congress. In short, he can capitalize on the disastrous condition of the Republican brand, instead of suffering from it.

And he can match this rhetorical move to the center with policies that, in most cases, stay solidly to the right. (In a way, he would mirror Obama.) As a result, he has a good chance of retaining the Republican base and an improved chance of swaying independents. Does this path guarantee victory for McCain? Of course not, but it’s a lot better than his current strategy, which is… what exactly?

And I have to point out that had McCain pursued this strategy from the beginning, it would have been awfully tough for Obama to tie McCain to Bush as successfully as he has. Would it have depressed turnout somewhat among hardcore Republicans? Sure. But look where a half-hearted attempt to play to the base has gotten him so far.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate