If you want to see what a party "in the wilderness" looks like, look no further than France's Socialist Party. It famously placed third during the 2002 presidential election. This shocking result meant that the runoff was conducted between the center-right Jacques Chirac and far-right leader Jean Marie Le Pen.
The Socialists have never really recovered from 2002. In that same year, they lost control of Parliament and failed to recapture the French presidency. It has been a full decade since they had any toe-hold in government, and they have not held the French presidency since 1995.
The French Left finally seemed poised for a turnaround this year, with IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn as a likely and credible Socialist challenger to center-right President Nicholas Sarkozy. And then...Strauss-Kahn gets arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a hotel maid.
And the assault allegedly occurred...back in 2002.