Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Not much to add to excellent analyses of the blowout by Joe Conason in Salon, the 11/5, 10:15 A.M. post of William Saletan in Slate (yes, after I slagged him yesterday), and Harold Meyerson in The American Prospect.

I knew the Democrats didn't do anything that would fire up their base, but I wasn't sure whether the base showed up anyway. It didn't. Here's Meyerson:

The base stayed home. In Georgia, where Zell Miller, the Democrats' most rightwing, Bushophilic Senator, counseled his fellow Georgia Democrats to run to the right lest the good-ol'-boy vote turn, the good-ol'-boy vote turned anyway, while African-American Atlanta didn't come to the polls, dooming not only Cleland but heavily favored Democratic Governor Roy Barnes. In Maryland, working-class Baltimore voted light, and longtime favorite Democratic gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend went down to defeat. In state after state, the Democrats waged a futile campaign to win over their periphery, while failing to mobilize their core. And midterm elections, as they bewilderingly forgot, are all about mobilizing your core.

The GOP core is always mobilized. That's what Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, et al., do -- they keep the base permanently mobilized, energized, galvanized. Tell the voters day after day that liberals, and thus Democrats, are "savagely cruel bigots who hate ordinary Americans and lie for sport" (Slander, p. 205), or that we're engaged in a "war" in which liberty must triumph over liberalism (Sean Hannity), and they'll make damn sure they get to the polls to fight off the threat to all that is good and decent.

Nonconservatives have ignored this sort of rhetoric for too long. We're really going to pay for it now.

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