I’ve already done a longer blog about this on my own website here. But I thought it might be useful to put up some bullet points I had here (assuming anyone’s speaking to me).
Long story short–I did poll work this election, which meant I was separated from all media for about 17 hours in a row (no wifi service in the polling place, and cells were verboten). But I knew things were going to go badly in NY. I am no spring chicken, and the vast majority of voters were older than me (we’re trending into the 60-90 year old range). There were people in their 30’s after 6 PM, but not many. And there was a lot of motivation about local races, meaning that many of the voters were there to vote Red.
That said, it would’ve been hard to think of good reasons to motivate Millennials or even Gen x’ers to think the election mattered. The two-party system is hopelessly shattered in most states–one party or the other dominates local politics and puts up back-benchers who are clueless. But that is a microcosm of my own focus.
Here’s the thing–on a National level, the Dems tried to sell the many accomplishments of Obama. And to be fair (considering the opposition), he’s got some accomplishments to brag about. But you can only make that case politically if you think the status quo is working. Clearly it isn’t for the many people who still don’t have fulltime jobs after the 2008 meltdown. Meanwhile, the GOP actually talks about what they want to do (rescind gay marriage, stop illegal immigration, dump Obamacare, cut the budget, etc). Voting for the Dems for Congress or the Senate in 2014 means voting for a holding action. You don’t get people off the couch to vote for a holding action, especially if the status quo isn’t working.
The other problem that the Dems have is the R (racism) word–check out the link I have for the ‘Tom Bradley Effect‘. Many white voters are reluctant to admit that they have problems with voting for candidates of color, and Democrat and Obama are permanently linked regardless of who’s on the local ballot. It’s not clear that the strategy of avoiding mention of Obama helped down-ticket Democrats (Clay Aiken isn’t going to Congress), but Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu‘s honesty on the issue probably drove many voters to embraces the GOP. She now faces a well-nigh unwinnable run off.
The only possible good news is that if Harry Reid was paying attention the last six years, he discovered that nothing can move through the Senate without 61 votes thanks to the ‘cloture’ hammer. Most insane Tea Party proposals won’t get anywhere. The bad news is that (come 2015) the Senate has a veto-proof 61 definite votes for the Keystone XL pipeline. The Koch brothers won that cherished prize.
Pretty bad Tuesday, all in all.