THE DOWNSIDE TO SURPRISES. K-Lo begs, "[e]ven if you're not a 'raging Santorum enthusiast,' [ew -- Ezra ] get him reelected for the dramatic, way interesting news story it will be. Do it to see the shocked expressions on anchors' faces." Not to pop the bubble, but if Santorum comes from a multimonth, 10%+ deficit to win the seat, I'd be much more concerned about an instant and powerful storyline suggesting widespread fraud and theft. Indeed, I worry about that even in the case of a legitimate GOP surge.
One of the real and undermentioned shames of the past six or so years is a serious deterioration of trust in the fairness of U.S. elections. We can argue back and forth over whether those feelings are warranted, but I've seen them from both the left and the right (many of my conservative commentators are certain Democrats constantly swipe elections) and there's been just about no effort to assuage these fears. Why we've not had largescale, bipartisan voting reform baffles me, but surely there's nothing particularly polarizing about paper records and stronger safeguards? I'd even go with a national ID so long as it was the government's responsibility to make sure everyone got a card before the next election. But in the absence of such legislation, even a much-smaller surprise than a Santorum victory -- say, a 14-seat gain for House Democrats -- will trigger widespread distrust and unrest. And that's not healthy for anyone.