It was worse than imaginable – Virginia? Really? VIRGINIA? That certainly wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Add in the unknowns of Louisiana and Alaska, and it can get even more gut wrenching.
But it’s not just the Senate.
It’s the governors. Congrats to Rhode Island for your first female governor. Congrats in Pennsylvania. But Vermont a squeaker? Maine went to LePage over feeding donuts to bears? (Not kidding). Even in Kansas where prominent Republicans signed that they would not re-elect Brownback, and he wins?
Not to mention the House – largest Republican majority in 70 years.
There will certainly be issues for the Republicans going forward. The Senate will be fun to watch, and we’ll see how big the tea bag contingent really is in the House when the Speaker election comes up. But for now, there’s that issue of placing blame.
And blame sits firmly with the Democrats. We need to take a lot of blame for what happened, we need to analyze the hell out of it, and then we need to do the right things.
I live in a small town with a Democratic Committee. Over the 30 years I’ve lived here, the demographics have changed from lily white Republican WASP, to a more inclusive society, where Democratic registrations have gone from well under 20% to approaching 40%. I don’t generally get along with the local Democratic Party. I tell them the same thing year in, year out. In certain ways, I have the relationship with them that Sheriff Bart has with the town he serves in Blazing Saddles. I have a few friends, but mostly, I get pie from people who don’t want other people to know they don’t hate my positions. It’s actually not that bad, but when it comes to how to run things, we are diametrically opposed. It’s a microcosm of a lot of what happened in last night’s tsunami.
Democrats have a good ground game, and that shows nationally in Presidential years. But what we suck at is giving people a reason to be a Democrat when it’s not that last six months running up to said Presidential election. We are character-driven, instead of platform and policy driven. Our messaging is terrible, and we are too quick to throw our people under the bus in lieu of defending them.
We don’t coach our young people. The biggest problem for us in 2016 will be the young people who decide to vote Libertarian because they don’t really understand what that means, and they fall for the pseudo-libertatians using the cloak of individual rights as a front for what they really want to do.
This needs to stop now. Today. We need to coalesce around a set of beliefs, stick with them and fight for them. We need to watch what is going to unfold in the Senate and be vocal about it every day.
Think about it: McCain will have Armed Services, Inhofe will have Environment, I don’t even want to think about Judiciary. They are going to align with Darrel Issa and hold hearings like we’ve never seen. They’ll put poison pills on funding bills, They are going to impeach Obama in the House, and possibly convict him in the Senate. They are going to try and repeal the ACA. They are going to refuse to sign the UN Climate Change agreement. More troops will go off to war. Taxes will go up for everyone but the über rich. Abortion and certain birth control forms will be outlawed. Common Core is dead. Voter suppression on a mass scale will continue, and this time with no oversight from Justice. And let’s not forget that we’ll not only be without a Surgeon General, but also an Attorney General and a bunch of other positions, including judges.
Think a return to the Dark Ages.
Yes, kids, they are that bad.
There are things we can do. We need to analyze what happened, improve our messaging, and work hard to keep things in the sunshine.
A blog like this may well disappear, and we are one of the few small, independent progressive blogs around. Six years ago, there were hundreds that have now folded into larger blogs, or just died off. Tom Wheeler’s FCC is looking for new ways to make the internet pay-to-play, and we won’t be able to afford the cost of a direct pipe to the internet. Wheeler will have brand new allies in the Senate to help him.
I recommend that we take a few days to lick our wounds. Personally, if I had the time, I’d spend the next four days in the bathtub. And then we need to come out fighting. We need to take a serious look from the local committees on up – let the blue successes lead the purple areas, and outreach to the red ones. We need to blog, comment on blogs (not on Facebook, because we need the records), pick issues, write position papers and work when it doesn’t seem to matter. My local position has always been that if we give Democrats good reason to BE Democrats when it doesn’t matter, they’ll turn out to vote for the same reason they brush their teeth: muscle memory.
We need to support our President, for Obama is all that stands between us and annihilation.
So lick your wounds, and remember, as of January, you’re either part of the resistance, or you’re a collaborator.