The chattering class is fond of far-fetched theories that lead to lots of intrigue, and one fanciful idea that has been floating around lately is that Scott Brown is ready for a comeback.
The hypothesis is that if John Kerry is nominated to President Obama’s cabinet, then Brown would be a strong contender to fill Kerry’s seat. It has even been speculated that Senate Republicans went after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice so harshly just to improve Brown’s chance at a comeback.
If you look at the facts, though, you’ll see that Brown is far from the sure bet to win another contest that Republicans hope he is. Consider the following:
Who lost by a bigger margin than almost any candidate in a competitive Senate race in the country?
Scott Brown. The 7.5-point loss he suffered at Elizabeth Warren’s hands was even worse than the 5.5-point loss for Brown’s fellow Republican Richard Mourdock in Indiana–that’s right, the guy who said pregnancy from rape is “something that God intended.” In short, as convenient as it is to refer to the Massachusetts contest between Brown and Warren as a close race, Brown took a beating.
Who was the only incumbent in the entire U.S. Senate to lose in 2012?
Scott Brown. Every one of Brown’s colleagues in the Senate who vied for reelection managed to win. That includes Bill Nelson in the swing state of Florida. That includes Democrat Jon Tester, who held onto his seat in Montana. That includes Bob Casey in the perennial battleground of Pennsylvania. It includes the other Senator Brown–Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Scott Brown proved himself uniquely inept in his failure to fend off his challenger – and to in fact lose by 7.5%. And remember, this wasn’t months or even years ago – this was last month.
Who lost to Elizabeth Warren by the same margin that William Weld lost to John Kerry?
Scott Brown. Weld and Brown both lost by approximately 7.48 points, but Weld was going up against a popular two-term incumbent, whereas Brown was the incumbent facing a first-time political candidate. For all the talk about his special campaign skills and positioning, nothing in the results was very special.
Who in the Massachusetts Senate election appeared to pick up no last-minute support or votes from undecided voters?
You guessed it: Scott Brown. Dozens of polls conducted in the seven months leading up to Election Day show that Brown hovered around the 46% mark the whole time. Of course, 46% is what Brown actually ended up with on Election Day. In other words, Brown made no progress during his campaign, despite an enormous war chest of almost $40 million to spend on it.
These facts tell only part of the story, though. What’s most damning to Brown’s future prospects isn’t the margin of his defeat. It’s the campaign he ran and the issues he stood for. (more…)