We have all heard the meme: Demographics are shifting and democrats will have the electoral advantage by 2016 and superiority starting in 2020 or so.
Given the GOP ridiculously bad economic record, the Bush’s great recession as well as the GOP’s assault on women’s rights, public education, Medicare, Medicaid, social security, the expanding poverty in southern states, as well as the GOP’s embrace of Big corporations and tax policies that ship blue collar and white collar jobs overseas, the Democrats should be poised to render sounding defeats in 2014 and vanquish the GOP for a generation. Texas and Georgia should be at least purple (not trending red) and the Republican governors in rust belt states Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio should have approval ratings in the teens for crying out loud. Florida and Arizona should be rioting over the repeated votes to “voucherize” Medicare and “block grant” or cut Medicaid and both states should be bluer than Elvis’ suede shoes
Why not? Answer: Because the Democrats have adopted GOP Lite.
We can scream about republican recalcitrance, but when we had power (albeit brief), we spent it developing policies that favored the 1% and submarined any efforts to punish those who robbed the bottom 99% percent of their lifesavings. We created the stimulus which was trickle-down lite. We continued to rescue Wall Street but told Main street that they were a “lagging indicator” and that they were irresponsible for buying the house that they could no longer afford (after the lower classes lost their jobs or had to take pay cuts to keep their jobs). We gave the one percenters Quantitative Easing which buoyed the stock market making the 1% even wealthier while doing nothing for the 99% who are essentially non-stock holders. We are now promoting more “free trade agreements” at a time when many economists and even the lowest information voters think NAFTA was a bad deal (http://www.citizen.org/documents/NAFTA-at-20.pdf). We still think we can woo Wall Street with these plums even though it was Wall Street that financed the Tea Party after Democrats spoke of extremely modest finance reforms in a voice slightly higher than a whisper.
The Democrats have yet to come up with a unifying aggressive economic policy that is cogent and actually makes sense to non-economics and non-pundits or wonks. We need to force Republican So & So to explain why he/she voted for plans to privatize/cut SS, Medicare and Medicaid. We should be running hard hitting ads explaining that if the GOP’s privatization or reform schemes ever take root they could result in as much as $150,000 dollars being taken from our nest eggs in the form of “fees” and cuts. We need to talk about the local bad roads, and bridges and ask why Representative GOP thinks it is acceptable to have Americans driving on shaky bridges and on pot-hole filled roads as well as waiting in dingy airports. Ask them why they want to pass bills that will make college education more expensive.
If we want this demographic shift to become a reality rather than continued wishful thinking, we need to find our populist voices now. You can best believe the GOP and Frank Luntz are focus group testing “faux populism” this very minute. And let’s face it, Democrats relying on being the “lesser of two evils” or the “reasonable party” will not be enough to inspire our base to vote in 2014 and beyond unless every GOP candidate is as vicious and craven as Chris McDaniel.