Saturday, November 8, 2014

How Did the Republicans Win So Big?

Running away from Barack Obama didn't work. So run towards him? Maybe shoulda.

This is not rocket science, but it is science, in as much as there is a logical explanation for the midterm successes of the Republican Party. Here's why they won:
  • The Democratic Party, as is characteristic of it, ran away from Barack Obama the way they ran away from Bill Clinton in 2000 -- thus losing the opportunity to tout the successes of Barack Obama -- yes, there are many -- and the continuously improving economy.
  • The Democratic Party is afraid to wear, proudly and loudly, the mantle of populism. So they lose the great issues like income inequality, minimum wage, safety net, social justice, women's rights, etc. that could, taken as a package, be the policy position that appeals to the great bulk of the citizenry.
  • The Democratic Party cannot attract the voters in their coalition -- all the minorities, including women, and the millennials, plus, potentially, the white poor and working class -- for off-year elections unless they can galvanize their coalition behind issues that excite them to come to the polls.
  • Yes, the Republicans have successfully gerrymandered districts across the country and continue to use voter ID laws and other tactics to limit access to the polls for members of the Democratic coalition.
  • Simply put, the Republicans won not because they're right on the issues but because their base is totally freaked out by Barack Obama. After years of the conservative media jumping up and down and telling their audience that Obama is the anti-Christ on all levels and that he's going to take their guns, their religion, their children, their jobs, their healthcare, their money, their very future as the freedom-loving Greatest Nation on the Face of the Earth, these gullible freaked-out white people would vote for an ax murderer as long as he said Obummer hates you.
  • Bonus point: Obama-freaked-out whites were never going to vote for the Dems. But the Dems could have excited their own coalition, at least a little, by running as a united team that wasn't afraid of its shadow, even if that shadow was Barack Obama.
The Democratic Party and the progressives who support it will be in the wilderness until the Party decides to fully embrace its values and trumpet them far and wide.

Apparently, the Democrats need a White Knight -- or a white woman? -- to ride to the rescue to get them to the polls. Hopefully, for better or worse, that can be Hillary Clinton. I'd rather it be Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, frankly, but that ain't gonna happen.

Stuck with Hillary? Yep, and it's time we hitched our myriad causes -- all of them very popular! -- to her wagon. Remember, she can bring white women and blacks together into the same tent. Oops, that didn't come out right, but you know what I mean. Don't tell Southern whites, it'll freak them out. Wait, they're already freaked out, so... Here comes 2016, and it starts, oh, it's already started.
 Okay, she's a hawk. So, America is going to elect a Gandhi?
Not on your life. So take her for the rest of the good stuff...

Final thought: Barack Obama might not be popular right now, but he's smarter than the Republican leaders. Remember the Grand Bargain we were afraid Obama was going to allow to happen? Never happened. Why? Because he got the Republicans to kill it. Dude might have some skills. And that will come in handy in the next two years. Let's hope so. Get the popcorn ready.

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