Friday, November 7, 2014

WTF Happened? The 2014 Post-Mortem

Washington, DC. Fingers are already being pointed and blame assigned as Democrats attempt to determine exactly why they had their butts handed to them like perfectly broiled filet mignons on 500 degree sizzling plates. What was supposed to be just a bad election night proved to be an embarrassing rout and portends nothing but more obstruction, inevitable caving, endless investigations and possible impeachment for the final two years of President Obama's term. Why did this happen?

1. Messaging. Yes, it's true that the Democrats are god-awful at trumpeting their accomplishments and that the Republicans are wizards at lying through their teeth about those accomplishments. Unemployment is down to 5.8 %, 10 million jobs have been created, the deficit has been cut in half, the stock market is at record levels, more than 10 million Americans have health insurance that never had it before and the cost of medical care has risen at the lowest rate in 50 years. Things are looking better every day, yet more than 70% of the country thinks that nothing has changed and that the Republicans know best how to turn the economy around. Yes, Americans believe that the very people who caused this mess, the party that historically tanks the economy every fucking time they're in charge, will do better than the party that actually fixed it.

So certainly the Democratic message has failed to reach people. Factor in Fox News' 24-7 propaganda machine, as well as right-wing talk radio and a craven mainstream media, and it takes a gargantuan megaphone to counter that endless barrage of lies and misinformation. But it can be done and the message must be very simple, because we obviously live a pathetically stupid country. I suggest that Democrats in the future emulate Tarzan's grade-level of speech. Like this:

"We save economy. You get food. Not die. Republicans try kill you. Take job. We give you job. Give you big medicine. You friend. We help. We friend."

But this isn't why we lost.

2. Cowardice. Yes, watching Democrats distance themselves — no, make that run like scalded cats — from the President and his policies so they could hopefully gain the votes of ignorant fucking rednecks was cringe-inducing. Even worse, it didn't work because you're still dealing with ignorant fucking rednecks. Ever notice that people show up for Obama rallies? Like, in droves? And you punted on that? You're not just a coward, you're a fucking idiot. In a pink tutu.

So next time, remember that only trying to appeal to card-carrying members of the Sons of the Confederacy tends to alienate your base that isn't white, stupid and nearing extinction.

But this isn't why we lost.

3: Republican Dirty Tricks. Sure, the Republicans are lying, cheating, scum-sucking pigs. Everyone knows that. From voter-suppression laws to gerrymandering to patently false TV ads, there is no bottom to their barrel. They have no morals, no empathy, only an eternal, gnawing lust for power. And not for power to actually govern, just power.

But this isn't why we lost.

4. Voter Turnout. Midterm elections have notoriously bad voter turnout. This one was no exception, with two thirds of registered voters deciding they had better things to do than have a say in their own future. Millions of single women decided that the loss of the right to an abortion or even birth control wasn't worth the effort involved in actually voting. Millions of Blacks decided they could live with Jim Crow laws and more Fergusons. Millions of union workers who sat there with their thumbs up their asses decided that being plain old "workers" maybe wasn't so bad after all. Millions of young people who sat on the sidelines figured a drive to the school cafeteria was more hassle than $100,000 in student loan debt. Millions of Latinos who couldn't get motivated said adios to the Dream Act. Millions of gays who couldn't be bothered decided to trust that Republicans really just adore marriage equality. And millions of of people with first-time health coverage just couldn't get up off the couch to cast a ballot to keep it.

One could blame this appalling apathy on the above excuses: bad messaging, cowardly candidates and Republican dirty tricks. Or one could simply blame the hundreds of millions of lazy, stupid Americans, the vast majority of whom are directly benefiting from Democratic policies, who stayed home and let other people, people who want to destroy those policies, decide their future and the future of this nation.

I'll go with that.

©2014 Kona Lowell

You can hear a reading of this blog every Sunday at 9 AM Central at Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio. 

9 comments:

  1. Kona you covered most of the bases with this post mortem .... I can only add One other thing .... The Democratic Party needs to avoid becoming Republicans lite ... We need to stand up for Progressive and Liberal ideas and Highlight clear differences ! Distancing from the Presidents incredible record of accomplishments was just stupid. We need an Elizabeth Warren or a Bernie Sanders to lead the populist charge to win in 2016 !

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    1. Bernie and Warren don't have to run for Prez.. just help to lead the charge in terms of moving the Democrats to a more populist place.

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  2. Thanks Vince! I certainly agree about standing up for liberal ideals, but Warren isn't running and Bernie would be a real long shot. Of course i would vote for them.

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  3. Personally, I am an Attack Democrat. I do lay off sometimes, with respect to those who just can't defend themselves. OK, OK, it doesn't happen often.

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  4. I think I'm going to co-opt Jim's term. I would definitely consider myself and attack democrat who gets more than a little frustrated with all the people who are so convinced that there's nothing they can do, so they just lay down and allow themselves to be screwed over.

    I could not agree more with your assessment of these elections. I've got a good first hand view of what people are thinking and doing - or more importantly NOT doing - in my state and its sickening.

    I spent weeks before the election as an unpaid volunteer pounding the pavement and knocking on doors to try to get people to vote. Since I live in Michigan, there was more than just the normal stuff at stake. We had Levin's old seat in the senate to defend as well as the governorship up for grabs.

    I spent a good deal of the evening before the election trying to convince my cousin that he should actually care who the governor of our state is and that voting in a midterm election WAS NOT a waste of time.

    At least we didn't fail entirely. We've kept Levin's old seat out of Republican hands. But the governor who started a state tax on people's pensions - meaning that all retired people in Michigan have even LESS to get by on - as well as doing immeasurable damage to Michigan schools and pretty much squashing what was left of the access to any kind of mental health help there was in this state was reelected. Why? As far as I can tell, because people either didn't give a shit, honestly believed their vote wouldn't matter, or are so concerned about the fact that gay marriage might be allowed in the state that they'd rather see people die.

    I'm just a little pissed. Really. Only a little. You should hear me when I'm REALLY mad.

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    1. I have no idea what it is going to take to get people to care about their own lives.

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    2. Or realized that helping out their fellow citizens will actually benefit them instead of harming them. *sigh*

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