The ability of human beings to rationalize everything in a way to make someone else at fault is nothing short of remarkable. Probably the best examples I have ever seen of this phenomenon has come after the 2000, 2004, 2010 and 2014 elections, as so many “progressives” scramble to find some sort of excuse for these debacles that doesn’t involve them. We lost because the Eeyores of the progressive “movement” (which has, ironically been stalled for a generation) were out in full force.
Consider this, folks. Republicans and their right-wing base have an unspoken agreement. Those people will literally vote for anyone listed as a Republican on the ballot. And they do this, despite the fact that they very rarely get anything they want. To them, the prospect of stopping “the liberals” from ruining America is so great that they show up and vote in every single election. Check out Republican turnout in elections. It is literally impossible for a Republicans to get a majority if they don’t get at least 80% of the Republican vote. Impossible. Most of the time, Republican candidates get somewhere around 90% of the Republican vote. Even though they are a significant minority among the electorate, when 90% of any group shows up to vote, they build themselves an advantage.
The advantage they build is anything but insurmountable. They make up 24% of the electorate, which means 90% of Republicans constitutes approximately 22% of registered voters. What that means is, if we could get overall turnout above 50% for every election, Republicans would have a hard time winning anything. That would actually do two things. It would keep sane Democrats in charge, and it would force the GOP to reconstitute, which means many of the conservative Democrats progressives claim to hate so much would move back to their natural home in the GOP. High turnout is the reason why, from the 1932 election through the 1978 election, Democrats dominated elections and ran the government. Democrats usually had a supermajority, and Republicans had a fairly substantial liberal contingent, including a large number of African-Americans.
Now, you know why the number one strategy for Republicans is to drive down turnout. Think about it; why do you think they don’t talk about issues, and they don’t sell themselves at all. When turnout in presidential years was around 60% and midterm turnout was around 50%, Republicans had little chance of getting a majority. Hell; even now, there is no possibility of them getting more than 55-56 in the Senate and perhaps 250 in the House. The demographics of the country have changed, and it doesnt favor the GOP. If we’re willing to wait another 20 years, there is a possibility that things will get so bad for the GOP that even 90% turnout won’t be enough. Of course, we can’t wait another 20 years, and there is a strong possibility that other demographic groups could take over the party and replace much of that 90%. I doubt if they could get worse than they are, but then, when Gingrich was having his “revolution,” we didn’t think they could top that craziness, either, but here we are.
Republicans win because they’re able to discourage people from voting. They do that by being negative. Most voters want to vote FOR something. Clinton won because he held up that “Health Securrity” card and gave people hope that their health insurance nightmare would be over. Obama expanded on that idea, and ran on hope, won in a walk and brought a whole lot of Democrats with him. No one wins through negativity, and yet, there are times when it seems to be all we have.
I understand the negative feelings now. Tuesday was a tough day, to be sure. Feel negative, if you want; I understand. But there was a lot of negativity before the election, and once again, we lost, almost as badly as we did in 2010. And why not? When we found out a lot of people didn’t realize there was an election, many progressives laughed at them and called them stupid, instead of educating and informing them and gettng them to the polls. Here are some other negative memes popular this election:
- “Turnout is always lower in midterms, because people don’t think they’re important.” – What better way to drive down turnout than to just give up and accept the status quo? We’re PROGRESSIVES, for chrissakes! We’re not supposed to accept the status quo; we’re supposed to change things. How the hell are we supposed to change anything if we lose every other election? There is only one extra race in a presidential year. Every midterm replaces all 435 Representatives in the House and one-third of the Senate; same as in presidential years. Yes, some dropoff in turnout should be expected. But when we were winning, the dropoff was from about 60% to about 50%. Now, it’s from 55-58% to 37%. Midterms are not less important, and the fact that people think they are is because we suck at getting the message out. In part, it’s because our Eeyore faction, which is pretty loud, is too busy being negative to bother even honing a coherent message. Think about what liberals supposedly stand for these days. Now, why do we not hear any of that during election season?
- “Democrats are just as “corporatist” as Republicans.” – First of all, this isn’t even close to true. Most Democratic money comes from individuals, unions, educators and trial lawyers, not “Wall Street,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. But imagine you’re a voter who thinks Republicans are douchebags, and you happen upon several stories on your newsfeed, coming from liberal sources, telling you Democrats are also douchebags. Why would you show up and vote? And please don’t give me that “no one reads progressive media” crap. Progressive media are very good at dispensing their “news” far and wide, and a lot of people read it, even if they don’t realize where it came from. Also, other progressives read it and pass it on to swing voters, as well. I don’t know where progressives get the idea that we all speak in a bubble, and no one hears us. They do. And we’re blowing it.
- “Democrats are dissing the President and running away from the Democratic record.” – Not only is this one untrue in most cases, it’s actually quite funny. It’s funny because most of the people saying it have spent the last four years ragging on the President and running away from the Democratic record. Hell; I was just watching Matt Damon on TV, days before an election, telling someone at “Democracy Now” that he and Obama have “broken up” because of drones and the phony NSA “revelations” proferred by the con men Snowden and Greenwald. Really? THIS is how progressives act? We scream at Grimes for selling out Obama, while we praise an actor for seling out the poor, the elderly and others because of some “high minded” tripe about privacy and security? When PUBs and professional lefties stop calling Obama a “disappointment” and stop referring to Democrats as “spineless,” or “wimps” or other such adjectives, I might listen to them. But until then, no thanks. MOST Democratic candidates (there were over 1,000) ran ON the Democratic record. The only exceptions were a few candidates who were running in red states, where Democrats have to walk a tightrope that Nik Wallenda would find daunting to win. Allison Grimes could NOT “take on”: the coal industry in Kentucky and win election. On the other hand, if she had won, and was part of a Democratic majority, she could have proposed replacing some Kentucky coal facilities with wind turbine or solar panel manufacturing plants. See how this works? It doesn’t matter what she SAYS during the campaign. What matters is what a Democratic majority can do together. Without a Democratic majority, Democrats have nothing to say about anything. If some Democratic candidates have to wink and nod and say something you don’t like in order to win, then so be it. And even if you don’t like what Allison Grimes did, for example, just criticize HER, and not the entire Party. “The Democrats” didn’t do that, a few candidates did. When you don’t make that distinction, you make voters think the entire party is like that, and that makes a lot of them stay home. And they did. Again.
- “Gerrymandering makes it impossible for Democrats to win until 2022.” – This, along with the constant talk about “voter suppression” are more damaging than you know. There is little that convinces a potential Democratic voter to stay home better than the idea that they’ll wait in line on a cold day and their vote won’t count. In second place is the notion that they’ll be stuck with the douchebaggy GOP for at least another eight years. and there is no hope for change. Besides, the gerrymandering “problem” is just a lie. Congress flipped BEFORE the 2010 census, so you have to explain that. And while gerrymandering is more prevalent in red states, it’s also done in blue states. The net gain for Republicans cannot be more than 10 seats. Not good, but not enough to give them a permanent majority. It’s not possible for a party that repesents about 24% of the population to gerrymander a majority. Also, 21 states don’t even allow party registration, so in those states, the gerrymander would be based on past election results. Win more elections, and you can make GOP gerrymandering ineffective.
I have had it with the Eeyores, and you should, too. We’re PROGRESSIVE, dammit! We’re supposed to be the ones with hop for the future. We’re supposed to be the ones who have the answers, but the Eyyores – mainly the PUBs and professional left, make us sound like the world is about to end. It’s not. The democracy is as healthy as it ever was; if there’s a problem, it’s with those folks who are expecting a magical transformation into a utopia, and who seem unwilling to even consider using the electoral process to change things.
Stop the bitching, and start playing politics the way it’s supposed to be played. We have TWO viable parties, and there will never be more than that, because of basic math. Democrats are our only hope. Stop acting like they’re poison.