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AdLib On April - 14 - 2014

voting line

The pundits are already energetically pronouncing the Republicans  the inevitable winners in this November’s election. These assumptions are based on the theory that the Earth doesn’t revolve around the sun and that seasons never change. Projecting what will happen in an election that is seven months away based upon where things stand at this particular moment in time seems to display an intentional tunnelvision. There actually seems to be a degree of delight in these pundits, a preference in such an outcome as they predict an oncoming train wreck of our democracy in which a radical Republican controlled Congress brings complete gridlock and dysfunction under a Democratic President. Perhaps this is because the greater the conflict in our society, the more job security, income and attention they can get.

However, just because pundits are relying on the political environment in the U.S. to remain petrified for seven months, it doesn’t mean that will actually happen. Here are five reasons why the Democrats could win in this year’s elections.

1. NATIONALIZING THE ELECTION

We’ve all heard how the approval ratings of Congress have been at record lows yet people still re-elect their own Congresspeople. To address this disconnect, if Democrats running for Congress nationalize their election, they may be able to overcome this dichotomy. Democrats have already been talking publicly about presenting an election year agenda that includes income equality, raising the minimum wage and protecting voting rights. By offering their voters a more substantial choice on policies, laying out the specific, national agenda they will pursue on real issues that directly affect voters and standing them up side by side with the gridlock that voting for the Republican candidate would cause, they may be able to breakthrough to enough voters who want things to get better for them and the country.

Democrats could additionally point out that Republicans are running on kicking 10 million Americans off of health insurance, returning control of who can or can’t get insured to the insurance corporations, destroying the health care guarantee of Medicare and crippling the safety net for the neediest Americans in order to reduce a deficit most people no longer see as a pressing issue. Nothing could be more detrimental to the GOP than explaining as simply as possible, what would happen if a majority of them were in control of both houses of Congress.

2. THE WORKING POOR GET FED UP

The groundswell of discontent has become obvious, if under-reported by the media. There have been strikes and protests at many fast food restaurants and other minimum wage employers. There has been an increase in those falling below the poverty line while the Republicans have led a charge to slash government support and aid to those suffering in poverty. In fact, Republicans have intensified their campaign to demonize the poor, as a nation would with an enemy with whom they were at war. This de-humanizing of the poor, the naked animosity and spite Republicans aim at them, the way in which they try to frame them as inferior human beings, could intensify in election year rhetoric and legislating and finally cause the simmering frustration of the poor to boil over and spill out in a politically meaningful way.

3. THOSE WHOSE VOTING RIGHTS ARE UNDER ATTACK COULD BECOME MORE MOTIVATED TO VOTE

This phenomenon was witnessed in the 2012 election and could arise in 2014 as well. As hard as Republicans tried to oppress and restrict the votes of minorities and non-Republican voters in red states in 2012, it actually resulted in those same targeted voters becoming more resolved to vote in that election. All of the voter suppression activities of Republicans, clothed in the fraudulent “Voter ID” facade, may actually inspire activists and voters to take whatever steps are needed for their vote against those politicians to be counted. Add to this that the Department of Justice under Eric Holder is very committed to blocking and overturning these voter suppression laws and the successes they have will empower voters that will know full well which politicians have been trying to take of their right to vote away…and thus need to be voted out of office.

4. WOMEN TURN OUT TO DEFEND THEIR DIGNITY AND RIGHTS

The women’s vote went decisively for President Obama in 2012 and since then, we have only seen more unrestrained attacks on the rights and dignity of women from the GOP. Whether declaring that they as white men should have the right to control women’s bodies and health, their opposition to equal pay for women and claiming that supporting pay equality actually demeans women, or the sexist attacks on women candidates and potential women candidates, women may be alienated even more so from voting Republican despite their political affiliation. The turnout by women who are Republican could be reduced and turnout by women who are offended by Republican chauvinism could be energized.

5. THE REPUBLICAN PANDERING TO THEIR EXTREMIST BASE TURNS OFF MOST OTHER VOTERS

As this election year progresses and the Republicans seek to energize their base, they will need to ramp up the use of hateful, prejudiced and offensive statements to connect with the mindsets of the base they are pandering to. This means that such popular sentiments as, “Screw the Poor!”, “Screw the Minorities!” and “Screw the Women!” will have to be repeatedly expressed in one form or another. Many are rightly concerned about the money that the Koch Brothers and others in the Republican Billionaire/Millionaire Haters Club will pour into this year’s election and how that could influence voters. What occurred in 2012 though were results that undercut the assumed effectiveness of spending hundreds of millions on a product people didn’t want. On the other hand, if that money is spent on commercials that eventually offend voters and turn them off of that candidate, it could be a sword that cuts backwards instead. The more voters are aware of the hatreds, greed and heartlessness of a candidate, the less likely they could be to vote for him or her. As noted above, the primary campaign issue for Republicans is to kill Obamacare but that means robbing 10 million and counting Americans of health care they currently have and allowing insurance companies once again to refuse insurance to anyone with pre-existing conditions. Is that really a winning argument at face value (with the charged “Obamacare” label stripped off?). And what about those 10 milliion Americans, might they be more motivated to vote in an election that could have real consequences to them personally, if they could lose their health insurance (which they may never have been able to have before) due to the results of an election, might they not be more motivated to show up on election day and try to protect themselves and their families? What kind of an impact could those 10 million voters have in elections?

There are no sure things in politics…even if pundits would like the public to believe they have some special insight into the future. What has been proven is that pundits are more frequently wrong than they are accurate and never pay a price for proclaiming as probable things that turn out to be incorrect.

Just last November, pundits were saying that Obamacare’s troubled rollout had doomed it to failure and Chris Christie was so nationally popular, he was the odds on favorite to win the GOP Presidential primary and perhaps the White House. And that was just five months ago, yet the landscape has changed dramatically from then…and they turned out to be dead wrong once again.

Sorry pundits, the hands of clocks keep turning, new events keep occurring each week that can change the direction in which politics and society are leaning.

To put it simply and classically, there are more things in heaven and earth, pundits, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. And Democrats holding onto The Senate and making a good showing in The House might just be two of those things.

 

 

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

21 Responses so far.

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  1. Aquarius 1027 says:

    Great article, AdLib! -- All valuable points toward gaining Democratic wins. The approval ratings of the governors are useful indicators of potential voting trends as well. For almost four years, a significant number of citizens have been forced to endure living directly under extremist and GOP agendas that have been enacted into actual laws.

    With 29 GOP governors and 27 GOP controlled state legislatures, there have been far too many GOP abuses in state legislation AGAINST: workers and women, the poor, the elderly, LGBT, the middle class, the ACA, education and voting rights.

    Here in PA, Governor Corbett has a current approval rating of 23%. He will not be returning for a second term. Other examples include Rick Scott(FL) 34%, Bobby Jindal(LA) 35%, Pat McCrory(NC) 36% and Sam Brownback(KS) 33%.

    One can certainly hope that these numbers will translate into votes against GOP Congressional candidates as well in the November elections. No matter what the party affiliation, the restrictive GOP state legislative actions and social injustices affect all voters.

    • AdLib says:

      Thanks Aquarius 1027, nice to see you (I read your comment to me on Nirek’s post as well!).

      Really appreciate your points about all the Repub Governors who are in trouble. Kasich in OH has a scandal that can hurt his re-election and Rick Snyder is vulnerable in MI.

      In the near term, I do hope that the anti-Repub Governor shift helps Dems Senate and House chances this year and heading into 2016. In the longer term, I hope Dems are firmly in control of the majority of states after 2020 when the next census and redistricting happens so we can (hopefully for good) take apart the gerrymandering Repubs have used to grab far more power than they should have.

      • Aquarius 1027 says:

        Hi, AdLib -- Completely agreed about the gerrymandering as well. There is much to rectify from the damages inflicted by the GOP legislators!

  2. funksands says:

    Ad, this is a perfect time to post this.

    The Republicans could very well have control of both chambers come January 2015, but their position is a weak one at best.

    1. Nationalize the election -- 100% spot on. There are SO many ideas that the Dems could be forcefully running on to drive excitement and therefore turnout for the midterms, but let me ask you; have they done it? Maybe I’m just too busy lately to notice, but it doesn’t seem like a cohesive message has been trotted out for candidates to use.

    That said, I think the GOP’s biggest weakness is here. There isn’t the same level of rage that there was in 2010 or 2012. Obamacare’s seeming functionality takes away one of their biggest foils. Already the GOP is pivoting to the message that the Dems are raiding Medicare to pay for a working program.

    There simply isn’t enough fire beneath F&F, Benghazi, and the IRS to stimulate turn-out. There may be a bit of dip on their end as well.

    2. I hope so, but so far I just don’t see it. People that make under 30K a year simply don’t vote. If they haven’t been fed-up by now, when will that happen? Having the Dems pound away at that national message might get them more excited to turn out, but seemingly being fed up has simply led to dropping out of the political process altogether.

    3. Good point and I think the dark horse in the midterms. How motivated will people be to stand in line for 2 hours for a mid-term election? We’ll see, but it certainly could surprise a lot of representatives that thought their seat was safe.

    4. Women completely swung the recent Virginia elections. If they hadn’t abandoned the GOP in such numbers, the GOP would still control all levels of the statehouse.

    5. I’m not sure this is going to be an issue. As I mentioned above, I think the GOP is deliberately pivoting away from the most extreme of their “messages”. But the downside to this is that their base is less excited and slightly less likely to show up.

    I wrote a while back that Organizing for America (the leftover pieces of Obama’s reelection machine re-made) was a wild card in all of this. I really like a lot of the things they are doing, but it doesn’t seem that that machinery is really coordinating with the Democratic party very well. I could be wrong, but this seems like a wasted opportunity.

    The mid-term malaise still seems to have a grip on the Democratic party. They seem a bit tired, a bit gun-shy, already thinking about the huge push in 2016 when the GOP has to defend a ton of Senate seats and run against the likely Hillary nomination. Ultimately I think that the Senate will stay in Democratic hands by one seat, and they’ll likely pick up a couple of more House seats, but Congress will stay utterly paralyzed for another two years.

    But it could be a lot better.

    • confuseddemocrat says:

      I agree with Funks on point number two. The working poor tend to be less motivated to vote when times are tough.

      In fact, this is part of the GOP strategy. They know that cutting unemployment and social safety nets makes the working poor become even more demoralized and even more alienated from the political process. In short as life gets harder, the working poor give up on the political process. The GOP knows this.

      Indeed, I heard a report about how stagnation on immigration reform has made it harder for grass root organizations to register Latino voters. The reason often given by Latinos is that voting doesn’t matter because it doesn’t bring about changes.

      Democrats for all our claims of supporting the little guy, do not seem to understand him. That is why the I am so frustrated with the activities/ strategies of the national democrats.

    • AdLib says:

      Funk, good point on the level of anger on the right (and even in the middle) not being anywhere near the intensity of 2010 so not having as broad an effect on GOTV for Repubs. Like you, I haven’t sen the Dems, especially the DNC, roll out a nationalizing of the campaign but it is still early and I have heard the rumblings of that.

      True, the poor usually don’t vote in high numbers but there is a growing anger out there among the poor, protests by low wage workers have been on the rise and the squeeze on them is getting worse. I don’t know if it will bubble over this year but it is building. And as Repubs campaign to slash programs for the poor and those in red states see those in blue states getting Medicaid insurance they can’t, it could grow even quicker. I do think that the oppression of the poor is a ticking time bomb, if it is not addressed it will eventually become so intense that it explodes in one way or another, politically or otherwise. No knowing when that will be though.

      This is a base turnout election so as the campaigns kick into high gear, I think we’ll see more extremism being broadcast by Repubs. We’ve already seen quite a bit of it so far even though the Repub Elite have been trying to tamp it down. The attacks on women and pay equality are extremist, plenty of gay bashing and race baiting (under the guise of “the poor”) going on too (remember all the hatred at CPAC?). In order to win this year, the Repubs know they need their base to turn out and the only way to do that is to pander to their hate and fear of those who aren’t white Christian male gun nuts with a fear of science, a penchant for conspiracy theories and blinded by religion. You can’t motivate the Repub core voters without tagging at least some of those extremist bases.

      Defeatism is a constant Democratic issue. Dems should be aggressive right now, knowing they have a fight on their hands but determined to win that fight with brains and brawn. Instead, it’s always a battle between those Dems who are like that (“Winners”) and Dems who are quick to throw in the towel when the odds don’t favor them or it looks like an uphill battle (“Losers”).

      Can you imagine if the Dems were a sports team and every time they played against a team that was favored over them, they just gave up and forfeited? A winning team recognizes and accepts challenges and does their best to rise to the occasion. Sometimes your team can surprise you and perform far better than expected and sometimes the other team can stumble and make mistakes.

      Dems should be strategic and determined, we can indeed win in 2014 as long as we play like we want to win.

  3. James Michael Brodie says:

    Yes, and we need to treat this election as if it was a presidential election. Make it a mandate on Obama, the man who has won twice. He has national support, and even if the GOP manages to hang on to gerrymandered districts, the size of a popular Democratic vote could be a gamechanger.

    Bottom line: We all need to vote as though our lives depend on it.

    • Hey Jim. The quality of our lives surely depend on the dem’s success. It’s those independent’s that I worry about.

    • AdLib says:

      James, agreed, this election should be positioned as a vote for Obama’s last term…since it really is. If Dems prevail and keep the Senate, Obama will be able to accomplish a lot more in his last 2 years. If not, it will be nothing but 2 years of obstruction, hatred and little accomplished.

      We do need the nation to recognize just how destructive a Republican takeover of Congress would be for our country and our future.

  4. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    1. NATIONALIZING THE ELECTION
    2. THE WORKING POOR GET FED UP
    3. THOSE WHOSE VOTING RIGHTS ARE UNDER ATTACK COULD BECOME MORE MOTIVATED TO VOTE
    4. WOMEN TURN OUT TO DEFEND THEIR DIGNITY AND RIGHTS
    5. THE REPUBLICAN PANDERING TO THEIR EXTREMIST BASE TURNS OFF MOST OTHER VOTERS

    I agree that these are hubs of hope for the fall.

    I see signs that each of these initiatives is starting to bud, but will they flower?

    The ground in which they must be planted have four qualities: awareness of what is at stake here, alarm in reaction to that awareness, heavy investment in local organization and a much deeper understanding of basic current events and how the political process works.

    I wonder what our chances are of finding such ground or, failing that, assembling it (much as I prepare a new garden for first planting).

    I also propose another list. This one for the Democrats as a political tribe:

    1) The Democratic Party must stop pulling its punches; being polite and embracing the fake glory of bipartisan action. It must aggressively challenge everything.

    2) The Democratic Party must develop the same kind of messaging and messaging discipline as the GOP has. Pointed, sharp, accusatory, demanding.

    3)The Democratic Party must refute every lie: loudly and clearly and repetitively.

    4) The Democratic Party must make it painfully clear why Democrats and those who value the middle and lower classes must vote Democratic in the largest numbers possible.

    5) The Democratic Party must make one to one, door to door, phone to phone contact the cornerstone of its efforts bringing out the base and then adding every occasional Democratic voter to it while developing independent voters creating networks of voters unaffected by Big Money and able to take on new laws and regulations meant to keep them from voting.

    6) The Democratic Party must check and double check all of its registrations and get everyone the proper ID while educating its voters as to the real law and how to challenge fraudulent efforts to keep them from voting.

    7) The Democratic Party must tap into the resources of every wealthy person who leans Democratic to get them to take on the GOP Big Money crowd in key states to buy the necessary time on TV and radio, in print and to mount far ranging internet efforts.

    8) The Democratic Party must make the most of a national organizing project, spearheaded by Bill Clinton, to educate voters, demand reforms, and push back against restrictive laws.

    9) The Democrats in Congress must push, and push hard, for the reinstatement of a meaningful Voting Rights Act knowing they will not get it but also knowing that demanding it forces the GOP to say “NO.”

    10) The Democrats must challenge in court every state legislature that passes legislation they believe to be Unconstitutional and advertise their action in defense of the little guy.

    • funksands says:

      Murph, I love your list. What machinery is in place currently to do some of things you mentioned in the back part of your post? Does it even exist? Or does it need to be created? If so, I’m not optimistic.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I have been told that the Dems are going to fully nationalize the Obama machine voter tracking mechanisms. Hell, if the Dems in Ga could do this, surely the rest of us can?

        Thanks for the kudo.

    • AdLib says:

      Murph, that is a very effective and comprehensive list, really like it.

      It just bewilders me how adverse Democrats typically are to being aggressive. Why is that? I agree with all you say about how they need to take on the Repubs loudly and aggressively and promote their messages full throatedly.

      The one thing I’m not sure about is spending so much energy on refuting Repub lies. My concern is that it amplifies the lies and constantly keeps Dems on the defensive. Dems need to go on the offensive and really deliver some gut punches to the GOP, making them have to go on the defensive and amplifying the Dem messaging.

      GOTV couldn’t be more critical. I do think there are millions of Americans who are primed to be energized to get out and vote. The 10 million and growing who have Republicans trying to take away their ACA healthcare, minorities who have Republicans trying to take away their voting rights, women who have Republicans trying to take away their control over their own bodies and the poor and unemployed who have Republicans trying to take away their means of survival.

      Dems should be focused like a laser on energizing these people who represent a strong majority of voters and can be among the most motivated voters.

      And there should indeed be an aggressive campaign by Dems on a set of specific populist issues, voting rights protection, minimum wage increase, protecting women’s rights and pay equity and standing up to the Republican class war on the poor.

      Dems need to get voters thinking about the big picture of what voting for their rep means, voting for two years of government destruction and inaction on their and the nation’s problems or voting for government to work and make things better.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Thanks.

        Refuting the lies. Why?
        a) The Dems need their own talking points.
        b) The Dems need to know that their pundits are as willing to stand up for party principles as the other side.
        c) When the GOPropaganda is not refuted they claim that this is because the Dems can’t do it.

        The Message: Voting for the GOP is voting for two years of government destruction and inaction on their and the nation’s problems while voting for government to work and make things better will require Democrats everywhere. YES!

        BUT, as part of this message we need to ratchet up voter awareness of how the system works and why. Basic civics plus current events.

        • AdLib says:

          Murph, I would invoke that old quote, “Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.” The Dems could spend the entire election cycle defending themselves from Repub lies. Instead, I think they should go on the attack against Repubs and force them to spend their time defending themselves.

          I do think that the biggest lies should be confronted but I’d propose marrying defenses with a strong offensive swing at Repubs.

          When you’re on defense, all you can do is try to prevent the other team from scoring. You need to be on offense to score and win.

          Yes, educating the public is very important and we have enough good minds in the Dem Party who could figure out simple and effective memes for the entire party to promote.

    • Nirek says:

      Murph, you hit the nail squarely on the head with ” The Democratic Party must refute every lie: loudly and clearly and repetitively.”! Allowing lies to be spread without being disputed vehemently is the only reason Dems could lose except ambivalence. So we need to get people fired up to vote and call the GOP on every lie!

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I agree- defense for me means saying what IS and not saying what is not true in what they are saying. SO…speak about ACA effectiveness and don’t take apart their claims to the contrary. So, in this I agree with Ad Lib….we need to take on the game and not just react to it.

        Of course I live in one states where the lies are the absolute truth in the minds of so many so either I roll over or I stand tall Guess which one I choose.

  5. Nirek says:

    Ad, good points, all.
    I think we need to energize the poor and the working poor. We already have many if not all the middle class with brains. We should have all women, men who care about women (their wives,mothers, daughters, aunts and so on). So lets get the poor folks to get out and vote!


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