Falling Upward

Voters are turning away from the Republicans. But could the GOP actually win by losing?

Christopher Morris / VII for TIME

Would a McCain victory in November be bad for the GOP?

As their convention in Minnesota gets under way, Republicans are feeling a little better. Barack Obama hasn't blown the presidential race wide open, as many expected. The McCain campaign's charge that he's a celebrity, not a tested leader--widely mocked at first--seems to have caught on. In some key states, McCain may even be gaining ground.

Good news for the GOP, right? Actually, the exact opposite. Of all the disasters that have befallen the Republican Party in recent years, the most cataclysmic may be about to unfold: John McCain might win.

To understand why McCain's election would be so awful for the...

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