Sunday, November 7, 2010

Election Day 2010 Post Mortem - The Democrats Go Spineless Again

We sure blew that one.  According to the polls showing us where voters actually stood when it came to issues (they still don't like Republicans and their ideas), this should have been another Democratic win.  Well, if you define "win" as keeping both houses of Congress that is.  I think we Dem types understood that we'd lose some seats but we apparently were hoping against hope that we'd pull it out at the end.  Then reality hit on Tuesday.

Reason #1
Too many of us stayed home and gave away the election by default.  29 million people who voted for Obama in 2008 couldn't be bothered to go to the polls this year.  The majority of people who did manage to schedule in a few minutes at a polling booth were the Fox Noise demographic - angry old white people.  They won. Surprise!

I put this down as yet another failure to know how our government works and not being taught Civics in school.  I know that it's sexy to get out to vote for someone charismatic and intelligent on a national level and it's hard to convey that passion onto Representative Huff N. Puff and Senator Speaks Alot locally.  It's also just as obvious that the vote avoiders don't get that in order for that national leader they were so hot for two years ago to get things done he or she needs a Congress that will pass the bills to do it.  From the opinion pages of major national newspapers to news channel chat to bloggers, Obama has been blamed for things that are the fault of Congress.  And here we are.

Reason #2:
This is a major one - the communication failure of the Democrats.  That's the nice way of putting it.  I'm calling it more the failure of the Democrats to call out the myriad of Republican lies they campaigned on.  There was an article that came out shortly before the election - Eight False Things the Public "Knows" Prior to Election Day  - that summed up the myths and outright falsehoods being pushed by the Republicans before election day.  What did the Democrats do to dispell them?  Not much if anything. 

You'd think that after Gore and Kerry we'd have learned by now.  Both presidential campaigns were slandered and smeared as expected by the GOP and both seemingly took the positions that such charges were ridiculous on their faces.  They both decided that voters would see through such nonsense on their own and so there was no need to dignify those claims against them with a response.  That might have worked back in the days of three TV networks and ranters such as Limbaugh, Beck etc. were considered cranky crackpots howling at the moon.  Now the right has bought up enough airtime and cowed what used to be the reliable mainsteam news media from even hinting that what they say may not exactly be on the up-and-up so that those charges are repeated enough that voters got the idea that the Democrats couldn't respond because the charges were true.

I think you know who won that argument and who lost.  It just happened again this year.

Reason #3:
The economy, stupid.  This has and will be discussed ad nauseum so no need to repeat it here.

You may have noticed a theme here in this posting.  I'm disappointed at how the election went but if there's anyone to be angry at, it's the Democrats.  What the Republicans did in this campaign is what they always do so there's no news flash there.  What I'm angry about is that the Democrats let them get away with it.  Again.

Of course, there was a small silver lining to all of this.  What the Republicans won this year was just one House of Congress.  We still hold control of the Senate and the White House so the crazier planks of the GOP Tea Party platform won't go anywhere.  Healthcare insurance reform won't be repealed, there will be no privatization/destruction of Social Security and Medicare, the Department of Education will continue to exist, public education will not be eradicated, etc. etc. What's most likely to happen over the next two years will be gridlock and not much of anything else, legislation-wise.

Cold comfort, but comfort nonetheless.  Will the Democrats get it together to make a comeback in 2012?  That remains to be seen.

No comments: