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The Day After

November 3, 2010

Well, let’s be honest. We were beaten last night.

I’m disappointed in the results, but I’m not surprised by them. We, that is the Democrats and Independents who haven’t forgotten how the country really got into the financial crisis it’s in, didn’t do enough.  We’ve miscalculated the pulse of the country in profound ways. We believed that the country was prepared for far-reaching legislation. It wasn’t. We thought we could continue to spend needed money, and the country would understand why instinctively. They didn’t. We prioritzed Wall Street stimulis and needed health care reform. The country was focused on unemployment, and helping end home foreclosures.

What does that say, it says:

  1. Crafting a marketing message that is simple and strong, explains your accomplishments in REAL PERSONAL ways wins the majority of elections.
  2. Fighting your own party President creates uncertainty in the electorate, and loses you elections. Note Democrats: there are NO BLUE DOGS LEFT.  Half wins don’t make whole accomplishments. Case in point, democrats fought against a public option in the health care debate; they fought against real reform of derivatives; every position that was populist in nature was derided by BLUE DOGS. There no longer exist as a caucus.
  3. Pursuing bi-partisanship by abdicating the fight and advocating anti-populist positions does not work. President Obama’s administration spent the majority of its first year in power in capitulation. Meetings with only Republicans at the White House. Advocating wholly Republican ideas on reform issues. What did it get you – a shrill voice of dissent, a country that polled 38% to 24% against you personally. Net gain zero.
  4. Disengaging from the constituency that brought you to the dance IS A MISTAKE! Young voters did not come out to the polls for this democratic administration. Why? Because they were not given a continuos roll to play, other than get out the vote efforts. There positions on health care – disregarded. There view of the administrations thirst for bi-partisanship – poor. They sat it out this time.

Many more lessons will be learned in the coming months, but certain notions should immediately be disregarded:

Republicans didn’t win because:

  1. The country thinks you have better ideas. They’ve outlined none.
  2. The country hates President Obama. He’s still polling in the 80% range among Democrats, Young Voters, Black and Latinos

They did win because:

  1. They appealed to some of the lowest levels of the human psyche: racism, classism, ignorance and anger.
  2. They played spoiler and the country ignored it.
  3. They cloaked a legislative agenda in shadowed terms  and without specificity.
  4. There message was simple and RELATABLE to the common person.
  5. Democrats led WEAKLY, INDECISIVELY, and QUIETLY.

In my opinion Democrats lost this election more than Republicans won anything.  We are for a political climate that will be decidely hamstrung by the gridlock between houses. We the people have a lot of work to do. We need to be louder, we need to act more interconnectedly, we need to organize all the time. Otherwise we will continue to see the hope of a better future dashed by the calls to the status quo of the past.

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