Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Five Takeaways From Last Night's Debacle

And I use that term "debacle" deliberately, because seriously, Americans have no idea what they are in for. I refer to two disparate groups: 1) the energized and angry Repubs who were driven by Obama hatred to take it out on any Dem, and 2) the lazy-ass Dems who sat at home or never even attempted to vote in the first place, enabling this travesty.

Anyway, let me give 5 takeaways from this debacle which has left the Repukes in control of the Senate with a 52-48 majority so far, and also in charge of many governorships (which could allow a lot more gerrymandering to ensure future repuke domination):

1) Democratic coalition voters are politically immature and too mesmerized by the cult of personality.

This explains why they never turn out in the same numbers for  mid-terms as they do for general elections. In so doing, by their absence, they invariably cede power to the angry wackjobs who are always intent to vote in mid-terms to "teach them libruls a lesson". The numbers as displayed this morning on the CBS stat board tell the sorry story:

In the 2012 general election, young (18-22 yrs.) voters represented 19 % of the electorate while yesterday they represented only 13 %. African-Americans, meanwhile dropped from 13% to 12% representation and Hispanics from 10% to 8 %.   Given many races - such as here in Colorado for the Senate seat occupied by Mark Udall - came down to 5-7 pt, wins it means that this absence in the current election could well have explained Udall's losing his seat to the nimrod Cory Gardener.

I attribute this backsliding to political immaturity, driven especially by younger voters' need to embrace a personality, as opposed to grasping the issues in play. If they would detach from personality worship, and simply study issues in each state and the candidates, this regular falloff should not happen.

2) As usual the Right was energized by fear and anger.

And in contrast, as in 2010, the Right's loonies came out angry in their numbers, driven by the nuts on FOX and Rush Limbaugh.  They came out in larger numbers than the original "Obama coalition" and this possibly explains up to 50 percent of the losses suffered by the Democrats.

It is no secret that the handlers of the Tea Party nuts and others on the Right know how to manage their minds to drive them to the polls in higher numbers than their D-counterparts. We call it "dog whistle" politics, especially presenting numerous unsavory images of Obama to try to instill racial hatred and fear. The voters will deny this plays any part, of course, but at a deep subliminal level it certainly does. One need not go out on a black person's lawn and actually wear a white robe and burn a cross to be a racist. He need only put up a 'skunk' image on Facebook and assert that it should be the "Presidential seal" for Obama so long as he's in office, since he "smells" and is "part black, part white". Funny? Not!

3) Money, as usual, trumped votes in at least three states - probably more.

As noted on Scarborough this a.m., the Koch brothers, using their tons of money and the front of "Americans for Prosperity" were significantly better this time around at the ground game -especially in North Carolina and Florida. That easily made the difference in those states, i.e. in Kay Hagen losing to Tillis in NC and Charlie Crist losing to Columbia HCA criminal Rick Scott in FL.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, big money flooded the state to try to get rid of Mark Udall (which succeeded) as well as the ability to label GMO foods (downed by a 68% 'No' vote). In the last case, opponents - mainly the pawns of multinationals like Monsanto- deluged the state with negative ads and spend nearly $12 m to the 1/2 m of pro-labelers.

The only good news? Hickenlooper held on as Colorado governor by 48.3 percent to 47.1 percent for Bob Beauprez.

4) Democratic candidates need to embrace their leader not run from him.

This was evident throughout as Dem Senate and other candidates shamefully ran from Obama and his accomplishments rather than embracing them, touting them. This was especially critical in states like Colorado where health exchanges were set up under the Affordable Care Act and have proven a boon to many. But Udall didn't say a word about the Act, or its benefits - focusing mainly on how women will suffer by losing contraceptives if Cory Gardener is elected.

News for you, Sen. Udall: Colorado women care about more dimensions of their health care than just contraception and you ought to have made that message clearer!

5) The Democrats need Think Tanks to Craft Their Narratives.

I have said this many times before but will repeat it again: the Dems are lousy at formulating convincing narratives which are as good as the Republicans. Classic case? The Reeps call removing the Bush tax cuts a "tax hike". The Dem response? To sit on their thumbs and sing 'la-la-la'. They have no convincing response. The Reepos say that estate taxes are "death taxes" - again no response. The Dems simply appear dumbstruck at how the  other side has seized the language and used it to create multiple mind fucks.  Can they create a mind fuck of their own? NO they can't.

This is why they need real Dem dedicated think tanks to think up narratives for them, analogous to the American Enterprise Institute on the Right, as well as American Heritage Foundation.

Maybe, just maybe, these takeaways will be acted upon next time around. But I remain a skeptic.

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