I’ve had so many things on my mind relating to cluster known as the 2010 midterms, but today two independent things, small and insignificant, really brought home to me what happened to the Democrats this year.
First off, coming home from work I had an envelope in the mail addressed to me. It lists “President Barack Obama” and “Democratic Headquarters” as the sender and has in big letters, “Deadline: October 29” Note, today is November 3, the day after the election.
Naturally it’s asking me for money to help with the final days of the election.
“A day late and a dollar short” goes a long way toward how the Obama administration has governed, and particularly in how it is managing its relations with the base.
Next anecdote, I was sitting in the jacuzzi at the gym after working out this evening and there were several elderly gentlemen speaking about yesterday’s election and a couple of them were just droolingly upset about Obamacare, knowing their pensions and health care are being taken away from them, etc. I tried to engage them for a few minutes, but it really was futile. They have been fed a lot of nonsense by opportunists trying to scare them and sell them stuff. It didn’t matter what the facts were, they were scared and livid and by damn, they voted.
It’s easy to talk about how the Democrats have squandered Howard Dean’s work with the Fifty State Strategy. It’s easy to talk about how independent thinkers and donors and doers have been discouraged in an attempt to centralize and micromanage. It’s easy to talk about how the White House strategy is too timid, too aloof, and too willing to compromise. It’s been done before, and how it’s not speculation, we know the result.
A day late, a millions of dollars short, and the agenda up for grabs for the next two years. Why were the Republicans allowed to control terms of debate? A dispirited base has consequences, letting the teabaggers lie through their teeth and outright make things up without challenge has consequences.
- The 2008 electorate was 74% white, plus 13% black and 9% Latino. The 2010 numbers were 78, 10 and 8. So it was a considerably whiter electorate.
- In 2008, 18-to-29-year-olds made up 18% and those 65-plus made up 16%. Young people actually outvoted old people. This year, the young cohort was down to 11%, and the seniors were up to a whopping 23% of the electorate. That’s a 24-point flip.
- The liberal-moderate-conservative numbers in 2008 were 22%, 44% and 34%. Those numbers for yesterday were 20%, 39% and 41%. A big conservative jump, but in all likelihood because liberals didn’t vote in big numbers.
The fall of in young and minority voters can’t be understated. Yes, Sharon Angle is a moron, but Harry Reid will remain a US Senator because he got 90% of the Latino vote. Nearly comparable numbers have been reported in California and Colorado which were also relative bright spots for Democrats.
Polls showed before and after the vote that people like Republicans less than Democrats. They voted for them anyway. The election was the Democrats’ to lose, and lose they did.
But there are some bright spots. Yes we had help from the Tea Party, but the Senate held. Many of the worst of the worst Tea Party candidates lost. Sarah Palin’s endorsements turned out to be less than golden.
Better still, the remaining House Democrats are, in fact, better Democrats overall. And Senate Democrats, being farther from the “magical” sixty, are less dependent on individual senators to allow things to get done, perhaps making it more difficult for individual troublemakers to hold legislation hostage. Time will tell, but there is cause to be cautiously optimistic for the next couple years.
Of course, there’s the down side….election 2012 is now underway.