Instant Replay: Politics as Sport


Republicans stood in near lock-step against Democratic proposals for economic stimulus, the health care law and Wall Street reform. And while that blanket opposition has played well with the Republican base, moderates might not like one party refusing to work with the other.

Democrats have tried to brand the GOP as the "Party of No."

"If I say the sky is blue, they say no," President Obama has been touring the country saying to cheering crowds. "If I say fish live in the sea, they say no."

Republicans tweaked their offensive strategy and produced a new "Pledge for America," reminiscent of 1994's successful "Contract with America" -- an entirely new offensive strategy, because of an unexpected interception.

4. Campaign-Enhancing Drugs

In sports, the illegal use of steroids can increase offensive output by fueling tougher punches, more home runs and faster cycling; but if an athlete is caught using these performance-enhancing drugs, officials swoop in to take back all of the endorsement deals and accolades they won him in the first place.

Allegations of illegal drug use have haunted some of the greatest athletes of our time: Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Lance Armstrong, Manny Pacquiao ...

But what if steroids suddenly were legal?

That's what Democrats say happened in politics this year when the Supreme Court overturned some campaign finance laws and ruled that corporations and individuals could anonymously donate unlimited sums to third-party groups. Those groups have spent more money this year than political parties, mostly on Republicans.

Now, just like in sports, the accusations are flying.

5. Split the Vote

Flash back to 2008. Florida's Tim Tebow receives 309 first place votes for the Heisman Trophy. Oklahoma's Sam Bradford receives 300 and Texas's Colt McCoy receives 266.

But Tim Tebow loses the Heisman to Sam Bradford. Why? Because of the intricacies of Heisman Trophy voting and the fact that second and third place votes must also be tallied up and taken into account.

Intricacies of voting and point breakdowns are not unique to sports. Two years after these minutiae stripped Florida's golden boy of his second consecutive Heisman Trophy, similar vote split specifics promise to play a prominent role in the state's senatorial race.

After a litigious televised debate in October between the three men running for a Senate seat in Florida, Republican Marco Rubio emerged as the clear frontrunner, attracting 50 percent of voters surveyed by Rasmussen Reports, because his opposition seemingly is split between Independent candidate Charlie Crist, with 25 percent, and Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek, with 19 percent.

Similarly, in the tight Nevada Senate race between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Tea Party opponent, Sharron Angle, Reid's best chance of getting re-elected may lie in the unique "none of the above" option on the Nevada ballot.

Specifically, if Reid's camp can manage to split his opposition enough between support for Sharron Angle and support for none of the candidates listed on the ballot, then Reid just might escape the anti-incumbency trend unscathed.

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