McCain is toast
July 11, 2007 Leave a comment
In my role as purely a Political Scientist observer of politics, I have to say that I find the implosion of John McCain's campaign fascinating (news report here; inside scoop here). In this interesting column, Slate's John Dickerson speculates as to whether McCain can stage a comeback. In my books, he's done. The media probably play their most outsized role in shaping the context of presidential nomination campaigns. In the way in which the media set expectations for candidates and declare winners and losers they have a very real effect on who succeeds and fails in the overall process (as wonderfully explained in Thomas Patterson's terrific Out of Order). The problem for McCain is that he has in all likelihood now assumed the mantle of “likely loser” in the media's conventional wisdom. Once the media has a negative narrative for you, it is almost impossible to break out of. As if yoking himself to our failed Iraq policy isn't enough, the poor fundraising and personnel turmoil that have characterized McCain's campaign of late means that he has largely been written off by the media as someone with a real chance. Once that happens, a candidate is done for.