Wednesday, November 05, 2014

MOMMY, WHAT WAS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY?

If you still doubt that this was a wave election, or fail to understand how toxic the Democratic brand is nationwide, or think Democrats' only problem was a bad Senate map, read this:
... Republicans picked up Democratic-held governorships in deep blue states such as Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois, as well as in Arkansas. The wins swell the ranks of Republican governors to at least 31, near a high water mark in the modern era.

Republican gains extended to state legislative chambers as well. Before Election Day, the GOP controlled 59 of 98 partisan legislative chambers across the country. On Tuesday, preliminary results showed Republicans had won control of both the Nevada Assembly and Senate, the Colorado Senate and state House chambers in Minnesota, New Mexico, Maine, West Virginia and New Hampshire.

That would give the party control of 67 chambers, five more than their previous record in the modern era, set after special elections in 2011 and 2012.

It also would give Republicans total control of 24 states, in which they hold the governor's mansion and both chambers of the state legislature (Nebraska's unicameral legislature is technically nonpartisan, but in practice Republicans control the chamber by a wide margin). Democrats, by contrast, are likely to control all three legs of the governing stool in only six states.

Many Republican majorities got bigger on Tuesday night. The GOP won outright control of state Senates in Washington and New York, which they had controlled under coalition agreements with centrist Democrats. By the early morning hours on Wednesday, Republicans claimed supermajority status in 16 legislative chambers....
Wow.

At National Review, John Fund quotes Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures:
The Republican wave that swept over the states left Democrats at their weakest point in state legislatures since the 1920s.
Fund writes that in a post titled "Democrats Sink to Pre–Great Depression Levels in State Legislatures" -- and, really, that's appropriate, isn't it? The Democratic Party was the party that championed ordinary Americans from the time of the New Deal, but the party has been coasting on that reputation for decades now; when it confronted an economic crash that approached the Great Depression in magnitude, it didn't deliver for ordinary Americans, and, to the extent that the party's plans were blocked by Republican obstructionists, it failed to assess the blame in a way that gave voters a clear choice for a way forward.

I know that in this mega-money era it's impossible to get elected without genuflecting before the plutocrats and oligarchs, without whose money it seems impossible to run a credible campaign. But Democrats are genuflecting and still not winning. At a certain point they have to ask themselves whether the amount of deference they're showing to the wealthy is worthwhile, given the fact that it doesn't save their jobs and dissipates whatever accumulated goodwill the party has left. Never mind that it's morally wrong.

I agree with a greet deal of what Erik Loomis says:
Democrats need to give Latinos, African-Americans, and the young a reason to vote. Check this out:



37%!! That means that Democrats simply could not get young people to vote while Republicans did an outstanding job motivating their base.

That means that Democrats have to rethink their midterm election strategy is a very real way. It's one thing when there's a presidential campaign. But the politics of midterm elections means that the same types of political calculations don’t work. How do you do that? You make your party about actual issues that young people and people of color care about. You support legalizing marijuana and prison reform. You support a vigorous government jobs program. You embrace immigration all the way, demonizing those who oppose a path to citizenship and the decriminalization of undocumented immigrants as racists. You make a $15 national minimum wage central to your campaign strategy. You have to call for student debt forgiveness. You have to make your party the party of the poor and the non-white, and not just in the passive way. If the racists and the plutocrats don't like that, well, they weren’t going to vote for you anyway....

It's increasingly clear, with the minimum wage hikes in deep red states and marijuana legalization continuing its march, that the nation wants these progressive policies, but they don't see the Democratic Party as any vehicle to get them done. And maybe it isn't....
It isn't, and the Democratic coalition knows it (or I should say the would-be Democratic coalition, since the coalition doesn't vote except in presidential elections -- and might not vote even then if the Democratic candidate isn't exciting enough).

Loomis thinks Democrats should stop trying to appeal to old white men. This is where I disagree with him. No, Democrats shouldn't attempt phony duck-hunting and NASCAR bonding -- they should be who they are, advance policies that help the non-rich achieve a better life economically, and pitch that approach to the old as well as the young, the white as well as the non-white, the rural as well as the urban and urbane. Everybody but the rich is in the same boat these days anyway -- your recent-vintage Ivy League sheepskin won't get you a real job any more than decades in the recently closed factory will -- so a message of economic relief for the non-rich, backed by concrete proposals fought for seriously, ought to have appeal across demographic lines. No, this won't win Democrats a majority of older males. But it will make inroads. And this doesn't have to be in lieu of appeals on other issues -- it should be in addition. You fight for Joe Lunchpail's economic security and he really might not mind that you also fight for his nephew's right to get gay-married.

I've heard for years that the Republican Party is a doomed fossil, of interest only to cranks with one foot in the grave. Well, reports of the Geezer Party's demise look awfully premature right now. If the old are solidly Republican and the middle-aged continue to be split down the middle, while Democrats fail and fail and fail, eventually even the young are just going to decide that there's no alternative. I think the demise of the Democrats is more likely in my lifetime than the demise of the Republicans.

12 comments:

MisterPister said...

Harry Truman said over half a century ago that the day the Democrats turn their backs on the working class is the day they sign their own death warrant. We are now witnessing that, Koch brothers or not.

The Republicans are nothing but AGAINST....name your subject and they go on ad nauseum as to the faults of their opponents. But, Democrats are offering nothing because they do not want to antagonize Wall St.

So, if the working class has no motive to vote FOR anything, what other result can be expected?

Ed Crotty said...

It is depressingly ironic that the biggest result of out first African American President is to galvanize (racist)white people into flexing their muscle politically and turn against the Democartic party. Fully agree with the commenter above, and blame Bill Clinton's "triangulation" for accellerating it.

Victor said...

Anyone have the "Suicide Hotline" readily available to give me?

Can President Cruz be far behind?
Or, President Paul.
I hope their Presidential primaries and debates consist of more clownish shit-shows.

FSM forbid they tamp-down the nuttiness.
Because if they do...
OY!

John Taylor said...

By turning their backs on Obama,Dems have shown they don't believe in what they voted for. No wonder voters punished them.

Yastreblyansky said...

It's not a Republican wave. Nobody in her or his right mind ran out excitedly to vote for Charlie Baker or Mitch McConnell or Paul LePage. They were elected by people who stayed home because they didn't see a helpful alternative. It's a wave of alienation.

duffandnonsense said...

"At a certain point they have to ask themselves whether the amount of deference they're showing to the wealthy is worthwhile, given the fact that it doesn't save their jobs and dissipates whatever accumulated goodwill the party has left."

They could make a start by dumping the worst of their silly socialist policies!

@ Ed, above: Would those be the "(racist)white people" in Utah who just elected the first black woman into the House?

Phoenix Woman said...

All of these tsuris over the Six-Year-Itch:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-year_itch

Dark Avenger said...

Utah is full of Mormons, Duff, not racists. I think you're confusing them with Alabama or Mississippi.

Of course, as a drunken conservative, confusion is probably a natural state of mind for you.

Philo Vaihinger said...

"Democrats need to give Latinos, African-Americans, and the young a reason to vote."

No, that is the strategy that just crashed and burned, as Dem propaganda for this election cycle focused on Ferguson, voter ID and civil rights, positively screaming that the Klan was coming if the Dems didn't win.

And that is the strategy that has cost the party the support of huge numbers of white voters whose economic interests make them natural supporters of the Democrats.

Democrats cannot win relying on youth and minorities who don't show up while profoundly alienating white voters who do.

That is the lesson of those NBC statistics and the breakout by race that KOS showed from CNN.

Not that anyone will accept that, obvious though it is.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Hello, Duff. On the wrong side, again, I see. Nice to hear from you, all the same.

giantslor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
giantslor said...

"Loomis thinks Democrats should stop trying to appeal to old white men. This is where I disagree with him. No, Democrats shouldn't attempt phony duck-hunting and NASCAR bonding -- they should be who they are, advance policies that help the non-rich achieve a better life economically, and pitch that approach to the old as well as the young, the white as well as the non-white, the rural as well as the urban and urbane."

Yes, THIS. Democrats NEED some old, white, rural men.

At the same time, Democrats need to double down on their voter engagement efforts. Organizing for America was (is?) a joke. Their efforts at engagement were lame at best. Instead of winding down the Obama campaign, they should have maintained it at the same level as much as possible. They should have made Obama's fight his voters' fight. They should have enlisted volunteers to make calls and knock on doors for every big legislative battle. If they lost a battle, there would always be a new battle.

Of course, better policies would have helped motivate his voters. Financial crooks should have been brought to justice. The stimulus should have been twice as big. Obama's opening shot on health care reform should have been single-payer -- "Medicare for All." Maybe then we would have gotten at least the public option. And on and on. Obama should have started out big on every issue to excite and engage the base. He should have engaged the base to fight for these issues. Even when these fights ended in compromise, at least Democratic voters would have known that Obama and the Democrats in congress tried, and that the solution was more engagement, not less.