There are few things more powerful in politics than a feel of inevitability.
What I mean is, when candidates participate in an election, it’s an if. “If I’m elected …” and “If you support me …” It all feels very hypothetical, because it is very hypothetical. One might win, one might lose. Hard to say.
Yet, if you can convince people that you will inevitably prevail, that feeling goes a long way. For example, in the 1980 Democratic primary Jimmy Carter, the incumbent president, was challenged by Sen. Ted Kennedy. And while Kennedy pushed and pushed and pushed, Carter repeatedly reminded people that he was the president. And Kennedy was merely an annoying gnat.
Earlier tonight I saw this Tweet from Harley Rouda, and the language leapt from my screen …
Because we don’t know that Harley will be the one taking on Dana Rohrabacher. It could happen, but nobody’s sure. Yet by referring to the congressman as “My opponent,” he conveys a confidence that, I think, is cagey and wise.
But politically keen.