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the contest could turn ugly, expensive, and politically costly
May 4, 2014 9:18 AM   Subscribe

"The GOP Has Finally Found a Way to Defeat the Tea Party"
Electability was trumping ideological purity—just as the establishment had planned.
posted by davidstandaford (93 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
"It's understandable that Americans are mad at Washington and want great change, but I can tell you that the quickest way to change Washington is to make sure Republicans take control."

Do these people even listen to their own sound bites?
posted by gimonca at 9:27 AM on May 4 [19 favorites]


I just read a few lines into it when I realized they were talking about Tillis.

Now you know why my husband has just about given up messing with local politics.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:49 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, the article is authored by a Mr. "Cross hair" and a Mr. "Elephant".
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 9:50 AM on May 4 [4 favorites]


The one thing I insist on in politics is "Be who you are, and let others know who that is." One reason I am so disgusted with politics in general and right now the Republican party in particular is this.

Be who you are. If voters reject that, that is their right and their duty. But man (or woman ) up and be real.

Otherwise you, sir or madam, are a coward. You, political party of whatever stripe, are CHICKEN. If you don't have the intestinal fortitute to be who you are, you don't have the character it takes to be a leader, and you certainly don't deserve MY vote.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:57 AM on May 4 [19 favorites]


early in its history, my then-gf invited me to a tea party event. i said "sure, if they'll give me the microphone. what are the odds of that?" she thought about it for several seconds and then "i guess that's out. what else do you want to do saturday night?"
posted by bruce at 9:59 AM on May 4 [4 favorites]


Do these people even listen to their own sound bites?

Yes, and they sound great! Mostly because they have no memory of their own actions. Government shut-down? What government shut-down? Again, why the rare news programs like The Daily Show that actually remember the past (and take the time to pull up video clips to remind everyone) are so important.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:59 AM on May 4 [20 favorites]


Oh, one more thing.....I predict Tillis will win the primary and Hagan will win the election.

Between this and Clay Aiken running to unseat Renee Elmers, I better get the popcorn ready. It's gonna be quite a show around here.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:06 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Interesting article. The GOP definitely does seem to be trying to recapture the asylum from the inmates, but not everyone is on board with the program. A good example of this is the situation in Colorado, where failed 2010 Tea Party candidate for Senate Ken Buck either decided to or was coerced into switching races with another GOP candidate named Cory Gardner so that the far-right Buck wouldn't torpedo their chances in the Senate again.

Buck can probably win the deep-red district he's running in now, but now Gardner's having trouble explaining his pro-fetal-personhood record to a statewide audience that isn't interested in having birth control taken away. He still has a better chance than Buck would have, so it was the right tactical move, and Gardner's already trying to walk back his support for fetal personhood, but I see this as a pretty clear sign that there's still a lot of fighting ahead over the direction of the party.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:06 AM on May 4


Isn't Obama to the right of Reagan and Nixon? Maybe even right of Bush I? Doesn't this make the Dems effectively the neo-GOP?

It seems to me that the GOP made themselves extinct by abandoning centrist voters... i.e. most everyone. They left the playing field.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:25 AM on May 4 [11 favorites]


@tonycpsu - I'm a Coloradan politics nerd, and I'd caution against reading too much into the national Tea Party/GOP battle from CO news. CO runs really really libertarian, both left and right. The DEM governor Hickenlooper ran on his record of cutting gov't spending, and the marijuana initiative was supported both by small gov't GOP types and by stay-out-of-my-business liberals.

The GOP primary field was really really weak before Gardner stepped in, and he was pressured by the national party a good bit. I think Gardner's move from House to Senate Race doesn't really reflect much in the GOP/Tea Party battle (because there isn't a lot of distance between the two here), but rather reflects the GOP's refocusing on the Senate from the House.
posted by DGStieber at 10:31 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]


five fresh fish: Isn't Obama to the right of Reagan and Nixon? Maybe even right of Bush I?

No.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:32 AM on May 4 [31 favorites]


Just to elaborate on that... My link only details the case against Nixon, but cases against Reagan and GHWB are similar. Of course you can find specific instances where those Republican presidents passed legislation to the left of what Obama has on a given issue, but in most of those cases, there was either a Democratic majority forcing the Republican President's hand, or there were Republican majorities forcing Obama's hand. People love to think that if a President just shows enough leadership he can bend congress with sheer willpower, but that's not how things work, and in any event, most people making the "more liberal than Obama" arguments tend to forget how conservative those guys actually were.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:41 AM on May 4 [27 favorites]


I dunno, In pulling the national discourse to the Right, the Republicans have left themselves a lot less room to maneuver. They have relied for "social conservative" votes for a long time, but racism and homophobia are not playing as well to the younger demographic, and there is always the threat of the Christian Right lapsing back into the apathy from which the Moral Majority shambled back in the 80s. There a lot of people with poor sense of demographics who approve of a "no compromise" Tea Party stance, but they can't be satisfied forever (or even for a whole political cycle) without the system beginning to break down. I'm not sure the Republicans can control this group while still holding on to their votes.

While I am vaguely heartened by the thought of a Republican party split, I'm not so pleased about the empowering of populist politicians on the Right. We've seen where that leads.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:48 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]


Multiple Supreme Court decisions reinforcing big money's ability to influence elections will let big monied interests regain control of their 'grass roots' movement of useful idiots? Color me shocked.
posted by delfin at 11:12 AM on May 4 [9 favorites]


In pulling the national discourse to the Right, the Republicans have left themselves a lot less room to maneuver.

Except to tack very slightly to the center and blame extremists on "both sides" for being divisive. Throw in a gentle-sounding "moderate" with a folksy accent who begs people to be adults and put America first, and that's probably enough room to privatize Social Security, reduce Medicare to vouchers, and push whatever right-to-work rules they want.

This is the same group that's been 100% successful at promoting the meme that President Obama is a card-carrying socialist who has completely transformed this nation into his vision of a Marxist utopia; don't think they're not aware of how much room that gives them.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:14 AM on May 4 [16 favorites]


I would jump for joy and sing with glee if the Republicans split.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:14 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


So the new GOP plan is shut up and let the money talk?
posted by srboisvert at 11:14 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


So we end up with three parties, New GOP Democrats, GOP and the wingnuts? Does that mean that I would finally be able to vote Green without fear of throwing my vote away?
posted by double block and bleed at 11:20 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Isn't Obama to the right of Reagan and Nixon? Maybe even right of Bush I?
There certainly are issues in which the gradiants between D and R are pretty granular in difference. Some foreign policy issues, a lot of monetary issues, certainly anything that maintains status quo on power issues. But that is more to do with what anyone making it to The Show will be like then a party dfifference. There are some pretty big differences between D and RR, especially on social issues that it would be foolish to discount. People doing so pretty much gave us GWB, which, frankly, set this country back a hell of a long ways. I personally don't consider GWB neferious or evil, just terribly incompetant.
There is a lot to critize Obama over, but at least a third of that is the reality of the situation. And given the alternatives he is a hell of a lot better then McCain or Romney would have been. I suspect though we'll hear a bunch more of 'oh there is no difference between the two parties' bullshit over the next few years and end up with Jeb as the next fuck-up-in-cheif.
posted by edgeways at 11:21 AM on May 4 [7 favorites]


Edgeways, if you can convince me that anything but money runs this country, I'm all ears.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:37 AM on May 4 [4 favorites]


There are individual Republicans who are unquestionably and undeniably stupid. (I am looking squarely at you, Louie Gohmert, and at the three-foot streamer of drool hanging off your bottom lip.) There are individual districts and, in some cases, states with an aggregate level of stupidity and misinformation capable of electing and reelecting Gohmerts no matter who opposes them. That's not going to change any time soon.

If it seems like I'm picking on Louie Gohmert, I am. He is the poster child for the movement and I rate modern politicians on a Gohmert Scale, where a full 1.0 Gohmert is only reachable by the man himself. Michele Bachmann is among the closest competitors, rating a solid .94 Gohmert on the scale. But I digress.

Tillis is an example of what the GOP wants to do as a practical measure -- retake control of races in areas that are sufficiently purple that a mainstream GOP candidate should win easily, but where a trance-babbling Bircher can lose. It really shouldn't be that difficult to do if their media machines are fed appropriate talking points. There will always be a certain percentage convinced that mainstream Pubbies are communist dupes and socialist traitors, especially since the Internet now allows them to communicate and organize, but in races that matter they will get drowned out most of the time.
posted by delfin at 11:38 AM on May 4 [5 favorites]


Of course money runs the country. To the same extent it runs our lives. People act as if politicians are some weird desperate species, but I contend why we hate them so much is they remind us of ourselves. We, us, you, I have monetized just about everything we can. Education, healthcare, our self worth, it's all down to what we can afford. And that dynamic is true in politics as well. Why do we act surprised when we hear money is the driving force in politics? It's the striving forces everywhere else.

Which does not mean there are not good, kind people. In politics and outside. I actually like both my Senators and my current Rep. And I suspect if I knew GWB outside of politics I might find him an OK fellow to have as a neighbor.

What sucks/is good about our form of government is we end up with people just like us in power. UnforUnfortunatlly that means a lot of different opinions and that makes it very very messy.
posted by edgeways at 11:50 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]


I would jump for joy and sing with glee if the Republicans split.

Meh. Don't think for a minute a split Republican party wouldn't still be a unified party when it comes to thwarting anything put forward by Democrats.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:50 AM on May 4 [7 favorites]


I suspect though we'll hear a bunch more of 'oh there is no difference between the two parties' bullshit over the next few years and end up with Jeb as the next fuck-up-in-cheif.

And who's fault will that be?

When a progressive candidate loses, it's because they alienated centrist voters. When a centrist candidate loses, it's because the progressives stayed home and didn't vote. We just can't win, can we?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:50 AM on May 4 [4 favorites]


Isn't Obama to the right of Reagan and Nixon? Maybe even right of Bush I?

No. While Obama's dw-nominate score marks him as the most conservative modern Democratic president, he's still far, far to the left of any modern Republican president.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:51 AM on May 4 [5 favorites]


Meh. Don't think for a minute a split Republican party wouldn't still be a unified party when it comes to thwarting anything put forward by Democrats.

Which would be irrelevant after the two new parties split the rightwing vote, leaving a House, Senate, and WH majority blue.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:53 AM on May 4


Which would be irrelevant after the two new parties split the rightwing vote, leaving a House, Senate, and WH majority blue.

Except that even if the Republican party splits they'll still be far more united than Democrats currently are. For every Elizabeth Warren currently in the Senate, there's a Mary Landreau ready to put the brakes on whatever might not play well in the red states.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 12:00 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


I think I am not making my point clearly and will bow out.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:04 PM on May 4


five fresh fish: It seems to me that the GOP made themselves extinct by abandoning centrist voters... i.e. most everyone. They left the playing field.

They don't seem to be doing badly for all that. For all their problems they still have control of the House, a majority of state legislatures around the country, and great influence over the Supreme Court. From that position they have done, and continue to do, uncalculable harm. All this treating them like they're on the outs and need to be saved is ridiculous. I'll start my dancing after the 2014 elections, if they lose the House.
posted by JHarris at 12:39 PM on May 4 [6 favorites]


Money doesn't ultimately decide elections yet. Just finished watching the Ann Richards documentary on HBO and it has inspired me to say: Ideas still run this country. People try to drown out the truth, but it will always, ALWAYS, win in the end. Don't give up.

This infighting among the liars who oppose progress is sweet sweet music. Let's take this opportunity to step on the neck of their most unpopular lies: that marijuana is dangerous, that being gay is immoral, that the rich should be coddled with lower taxes. Don't let cynicism or disappointment over mistakes the left has made slow you down. We have to organize and contribute now while they are scrabbling to achive a unified front, put aside our differences, and bury them like a diseased steer in the West Texas desert.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:47 PM on May 4 [9 favorites]


Republicans will face challenges from both the center (Democrats) and from the far right (Tea Party). Republicans in Congress will become loose coalitions between Republicans and Tea Partiers caucusing together, and Republicans will face a dilemma as to whether to work with conservative Dems or with Tea Party screamers to get their ideas passed. There will be competitive districts, some in which one mainstream party or the other will dominate, and some that will be 100% dedicated to batshittery. The whole fight will repeat itself at state and local levels.

Wait, that's what we have NOW. Carry on.
posted by delfin at 12:49 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Isn't Obama to the right of Reagan and Nixon? Maybe even right of Bush I?

No.


I think it's a "yes" if you replace [president] with [administration and politics in (president's) day], which is kind of more meaningful anyway.

I'm not inclined to care whether one guy thought one way while being part of taking the country another way, what matters is which way the country was taken. And in that more meaningful sense, the right wing is now considered "center", likewise the wingnuts are now considered legitimate. (or more accurately, due to there only being two parties in US politics, the GOP continued to be seen as a legitimate alternative even though it had become what in other countries would be an extremist crazy party)
posted by anonymisc at 12:53 PM on May 4 [2 favorites]


anonymisc: I think it's a "yes" if you replace [president] with [administration and politics in (president's) day], which is kind of more meaningful anyway.

Sure, but at that point you've change the original statement beyond recognition. The conceit behind these statements is almost universally that the President himself governed in a way that was too conservative, and that if he's only done something differently, there were scores of liberal victories to be had. In reality, Obama's surely left some money on the table in various battles, but has come far closer to the maximum achievable liberal outcome on most of them than would have happened if you'd swapped in any of the GOP presidents that have been mentioned, even if you make some allowance for the fact that society's changed since they governed. (Do you really think Bush, Nixon, or Reagan wouldn't be raiding CA marijuana dispensaries and using drones in Afghanistan?)
posted by tonycpsu at 1:11 PM on May 4 [11 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: " Between this and Clay Aiken running to unseat Renee Elmers, I better get the popcorn ready. It's gonna be quite a show around here."

Wait, what?
*googles*
... okay.
posted by zarq at 1:14 PM on May 4 [2 favorites]


> This is the same group that's been 100% successful at promoting the meme that President Obama is a card-carrying socialist who has completely transformed this nation into his vision of a Marxist utopia...

To be 100% successful, they'd have to convince 100% of people that this is the case. To be mostly successful, they'd have to convince most people. Just a particularly gullable subset of their base? Not very impressive.

I'm getting really sick of this kind of rhetoric. Do you really think everybody in the US except your little in-group of five or six friends believes this kind of crap?

Also: where's my utopia?
posted by nangar at 1:15 PM on May 4 [3 favorites]


nangar: "This is the same group that's been 100% successful at promoting the meme that President Obama is a card-carrying socialist who has completely transformed this nation into his vision of a Marxist utopia...

To be 100% successful, they'd have to convince 100% of people that this is the case.
"

No, 100% success in this case means winning elections, which they can easily do with a minority when they use their racist voter ID laws to block or nullify the votes of undesirable voters.
posted by double block and bleed at 1:49 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


To be 100% successful, they'd have to convince 100% of people that this is the case. To be mostly successful, they'd have to convince most people. Just a particularly gullable subset of their base? Not very impressive.

I never said they had convinced everyone. I said they had been successful at promoting the meme. Every time the media deems it necessary to balance their coverage of the President by giving airtime to the Tea Party's irrational, misinformed rants about the President, that's a success.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 1:51 PM on May 4 [4 favorites]


Edgeways, if you can convince me that anything but money runs this country, I'm all ears.

I don't think anyone can say whether money runs the country until we get an election where all of those eligible to vote actually DO, rather than having some being blocked by stupid voter I'd laws anspd some throwing up their hands and saying "fuck this" and not even bothering to vote because "money runs it all anyway so my vote doesn't matter" or whatever.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:25 PM on May 4 [3 favorites]


Except that even if the Republican party splits they'll still be far more united than Democrats currently are. For every Elizabeth Warren currently in the Senate, there's a Mary Landreau ready to put the brakes on whatever might not play well in the red states.

You're misunderstanding the concept of splitting the vote. A ballot with a single Democratic candidate and two candidates splitting what used to be the united Republican votes is, outside of certain really, really red strongholds, a ballot that's electing a Democrat. Watch how much the major parties hate even irrelevant third parties- having a major party melt down into two warring parties that don't vote for each other would be the end of that major's party's agenda having representation in Washington until the situation resolves itself.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:32 PM on May 4 [3 favorites]


I never said they had convinced everyone. I said they had been successful at promoting the meme. Every time the media deems it necessary to balance their coverage of the President by giving airtime to the Tea Party's irrational, misinformed rants about the President, that's a success.

This, in spades.

Fifty years ago, the John Birchers had a newsletter and some pamphlets and a Republican establishment somewhat embarrassed to be compared to them. Thirty years ago, the Birchers' votes were courted (along with the fundies, the Grandsons of the Confederacy, the wealthy bastards, the corporate raiders, the polluters, the predatory investors, the warhawks and the Right-Thinking White People Ready To Turn The Clock Back To 1950 When Undesirables Knew Their Place), and that rickety coalition proceeded to demolish the American budget, tax code, worldwide respect, regulations and airwaves... but most of the hard wack-a-doos were kept on a leash. Reagan didn't get 49 states by giving the Birchers everything they wanted; he kept that carrot at the end of the stick and kept most of them out of his Cabinet.

Now? The dingbat train has its own engineers. The Internet helps them coordinate and communicate like never before. The multimedia engine the right has spent 50 years building (the radio - TV - newspaper - Internet echo chamber) now makes room for Bircher views and treats them with unwarranted respect. The Sarah Palin Experience opened the door for all sorts of bizarre candidates -- many of which who've won their primaries, some their elections, and that's not even taking the their successes at state and local levels into consideration. Not too long ago, the dingbats managed to turn the American economy's faith and credit into a bargaining chip, battling Republican leadership in an effort to intentionally drag the nation into default and overturn a health insurance program. The result of that - a Tea Party 'defeat' - was to lower the year's budget to a level BELOW what Paul Ryan had set as a goal.

Ideas and goals that would've been laughed out of the room decades ago are now pursued, discussed and treated seriously. That's a success. And they're not done.
posted by delfin at 2:41 PM on May 4 [28 favorites]


I think paradoxically, the recent Supreme Court lifting the limits on campaign donations to candidates is probably going to help the GOP marginalized the tea party, because it'll weaken the tea party pacs and strengthen establishment candidates.
posted by empath at 3:27 PM on May 4 [2 favorites]


What sucks/is good about our form of government is we end up with people just like us in power.

Except for that one important way that they're not like me, and less and less like me with every passing year?

Sure, everybody cares about money, everybody worries about money, money drives everything. But that doesn't mean the rich man who worries about money and the poor man who worries about money are the same.
posted by mstokes650 at 3:37 PM on May 4 [7 favorites]


five fresh fish: Isn't Obama to the right of Reagan and Nixon? Maybe even right of Bush I?

No.


That's a terrific little piece you link to, tonycpsu. Like you, I'm constantly driven to distraction by this bizarre notion that just because such-and-such a piece of legislation got passed and signed into law under a given President or because another piece failed to get enacted under another that we can ascribe these wins and losses directly to the desires of the individual President. It's particularly depressing on the Left because it plays strongly into the dynamic which keeps sapping the power of progressive politics in the States: the left's failure to turn out to vote in midterm elections. It's an endlessly repeated cycle: the left gets itself all hyped up about a Presidential candidate, votes that candidate into office, gets ridiculously over-excited about what might actually be possible to achieve in the "first 100 days" (or whatever), bails on their candidate in the midterms and then declares that the ensuing and inevitable failure of the President to pursue their agenda somehow proves their lack of true liberal commitment.

If the Left had turned out to vote in 2010, we'd have serious climate change legislation by now (the Democratic House had already passed a significant Cap and Trade bill after 2008, but the lack of 60 votes in the Senate killed it); we'd also have some serious gun control laws, there'd be fewer compromises in the ACA; there'd be a far stronger legislative and regulatory response to the Great Recession etc. etc. etc. When it comes to legislation, what matters is the votes in Congress. The President can apply a certain amount of pressure to particular agenda items and has the power of the veto, but s/he can't conjure an entire legislative agenda out of thin air.

It always amazes me that people who appear to care so deeply about political outcomes can't be bothered to pay even cursory attention to how those outcomes actually eventuate.
posted by yoink at 4:55 PM on May 4 [47 favorites]


yoink, you could not be more right.
posted by sfts2 at 5:40 PM on May 4


It always amazes me that people who appear to care so deeply about political outcomes can't be bothered to pay even cursory attention to how those outcomes actually eventuate.

Personally, I don't think there's any excuse for not voting, but then again, I also don't think "vote for us or the other party will really screw you over" is the most motivating of campaign slogans. If people aren't turning out at midterms to vote, maybe they aren't entirely to blame. Maybe Democrats need to give them some reason to turn out.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:02 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


If they don't, the wrong lizard might get in.
posted by delfin at 6:12 PM on May 4 [4 favorites]


but then again, I also don't think "vote for us or the other party will really screw you over"

But that's not, at all, the point I was making. "Vote for enough of us in sufficient numbers and you'll get a lot of the things you claim you really want--fail to vote for us and there really isn't anything we can do about it, no matter how passionately we care about those issues and regardless of the personal beliefs and wishes of the President" would be closer to the point.
posted by yoink at 6:25 PM on May 4 [2 favorites]


If the Left had turned out to vote in 2010, we'd have serious climate change legislation by now (the Democratic House had already passed a significant Cap and Trade bill after 2008, but the lack of 60 votes in the Senate killed it); we'd also have some serious gun control laws, there'd be fewer compromises in the ACA; there'd be a far stronger legislative and regulatory response to the Great Recession etc. etc. etc. When it comes to legislation, what matters is the votes in Congress. The President can apply a certain amount of pressure to particular agenda items and has the power of the veto, but s/he can't conjure an entire legislative agenda out of thin air.

2010 was lost because the country hated Obamacare, not because of the hippies. Things would have been better if all the super mega awesome bills they totally wanted to pass were actually...you know...passed when they had the brief supermajority instead of a bill everyone hated.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:31 PM on May 4 [2 favorites]


Man I really wish we could kill the "left = hippies" meme.

I don't even know what you would count as a hippy any more. Woodstock was 45 years ago, people.
posted by empath at 6:36 PM on May 4 [9 favorites]




Things would have been better if all the super mega awesome bills they totally wanted to pass were actually...you know...passed when they had the brief supermajority instead of a bill everyone hated.

Speaking of memes that need to die, this notion that the Democrats had some kind of rock solid supermajority that somehow they just forgot to activate or which was too lazy to get around to passing all the bills they should have passed or what have you. The US Congress does not, in either the House or the Senate, does not have the kind of party discipline of the Westminster parliamentary system. The Democrats in the Senate simply never had 60 votes for, for example, passing Cap and Trade (a bill which was, in fact, passed by the large Democratic majority in the House). The failure of that bill in the Senate was not because they were just too lazy to get around to passing it or because Obama failed to "grit his teeth" and "strongarm senators the way LBJ would have done" and all those other tedious cliches. It failed in the Senate because too many of the Democratic Senators in red states worried that voting for the bill would leave them too exposed to attacks from the right. And they were probably right about that. (There's also the fact that the minority in the senate have considerable procedural power to simply gum up the workings of the Senate, so there's only so many bills that can be moved through Congress if one party is determined to prevent any and all action whatsoever).

I have no idea why you talk about "hippies"--but if you're talking about "voters who would endorse a progressive agenda" you're just wrong. If all those voters had actually come out and voted in the 2010 election there would have been a massive increase in Democratic representation in the Senate. That would have meant progressive legislation could get passed A) without the support of "Blue Dog" Democrats and B) that "Blue Dog" Democrats would have had their fears of attacks from the right considerably reduced.

And yeah, Obamacare was unpopular. And it was unpopular on the Left largely because, once again, the Left shared a bizarre collective delusion that somehow the Democrats in Congress just "gave up" on universal single-payer healthcare which they could easily have had if Obama had just "gritted his teeth" and "twisted some arms like LBJ would have done." Again, the failure to simply understand--heck, the failure to pay the slightest attention to--the real and actual constraints within which the political process works, made a whole lot of voters fail A) to recognize what a vast and dramatic step forward Obamacare is over the situation that preceded it and B) choose to make their desired political objectives far less likely to eventuate by opting not to vote because they were in a snit about a "failure" which was entirely imaginary.
posted by yoink at 7:54 PM on May 4 [19 favorites]


The establishment R's really just need to pull Fox News into line.

And it looks like I'll be getting Ken Buck as a representative. Ugh.
posted by underflow at 8:04 PM on May 4


If the Left had turned out to vote in 2010, we'd have serious climate change legislation by now (the Democratic House had already passed a significant Cap and Trade bill after 2008, but the lack of 60 votes in the Senate killed it); we'd also have some serious gun control laws, there'd be fewer compromises in the ACA; there'd be a far stronger legislative and regulatory response to the Great Recession etc. etc. etc. When it comes to legislation, what matters is the votes in Congress.

A thousand times this. The majority of midterm votes in 2010 were Republican. The resulting Congress reflects this. If the Left will not vote its representatives into Congress, the blame cannot be put at Obama's feet.
posted by dave99 at 3:17 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]


Speaking of memes that need to die, this notion that the Democrats had some kind of rock solid supermajority that somehow they just forgot to activate or which was too lazy to get around to passing all the bills they should have passed or what have you.

They had the biggest majority they can reasonably expect to have any time soon even if the hippies increase their turnout by a realistic number. So you can pretty much forget all your magic ponies for everyone bills if a supermajority is not enough seats to blame anyone but the hippies. The Democrats will be lucky to even hold the Senate, much less have a supermajority for a long time.

This 2010 meme is pretty much like the "Nader voters caused Bush!" meme. To the degree it's true, it's ignoring the major causes like campaign incompetence and enthusiasm for the opponent that are the true stories of the election.
Independent voters, white working-class voters, seniors, and men broke heavily against the Democrats due to the economy. Turnout levels were also unusually low among young and minority voters and unusually high among seniors, whites, and conservatives, thus contributing to a massively skewed midterm electorate. The Democrats therefore faced a predictable, and arguably unavoidable, convergence of forces. Incumbent Democrats suffered a genuine backlash of voter discontent due to a weak economy with considerable concerns about job creation, deep skepticism among independents, poor turnout among key base groups, and strong enthusiasm among energized conservatives.
The country didn't trust Obama to fix the economy. Instead of figuring out new and creative ways to blame the left voters, maybe you could spend your time considering ways you could have persuaded independent voters that you were making serious progress on the economy in 2010? You could ask yourself why the Democratic campaigns utterly failed in that messaging as the election approached.

Turnout levels were very high among conservatives because the tea party messaging was brilliant and persuasive and the messaging in favor of things like Obamacare was weak and confused. It was a dark mirror of the 2008 Obama campaign to my eyes. There was little anyone could have done about that, but people in leadership should have taken it more seriously as a threat in the early weeks when most on the left saw them more as targets for mockery. Teabaggers, etc.

The turnout for young people, generally a Democratic group, dropped from 13% in 2006 to 11% in 2010. This was a shift, but is the major shift that we should define this election by or...
The most significant shift against the Democrats occurred among the white working class. Congressional Democrats lost this group by 10 points in both 2006 and 2008. Yet this deficit ballooned to 29 points in 2010--a deficit even larger than Democrats experienced in 1994 (22 points). That created an awfully big hole for Democrats to crawl out of, especially given relatively depressed turnout among Democratic-leaning constituencies.

There was unavoidable, genuine backlash at work. Could more hippies have shown up? Sure. But even for the "Serious" type who has an excuse or explanation for every thing the President hasn't done, you can't absolve the leaders of the responsibility to lead. Conservative voters showed up in 2010 because they were led there. The left was led nowhere by nobody. There is some weird sense I get that there is an expectation people on the left always have to be perfectly informed totally rational strategic voters all on their own. It's nonsense, they have to be treated like any other group. When they don't show up to the polls, it's time to examine the strategy you employed to turn them out. Not to blame them.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:00 AM on May 5 [4 favorites]


yoink, your argument is rather self-defeating. Either your position is perfectly rational, but your intended audience is too "collectively deluded" to accept it; or your argument is wrong, in which case your intended audience should not agree with it in the first place.

For the sake of argument, let's say the Left is hopelessly irrational and persistently makes unreasonable demands of Democratic candidates. Do you feel that, say, the Tea Party or the hardcore Christian Right are making rational demands of their favored politicians? Or is the Republican party simply better -- yes, better -- at finding ways to translate intransigent and irrational political blocs into sufficient local and state-level support to maintain control of both state governments and the House?

Put another way, in the absence of a rational Left, are you arguing that a rational Right has emerged? And if not, what accounts for the state-level electoral success (outside of Presidential contests) of the GOP as opposed to the DNC? (Gerrymandering is not the final answer, of course, since successful gerrymandering relies on power accrued via prior electoral success.) If we assume that both parties rely on irrational blocs as part of their voter bases, in what ways are the Republicans cannier at mobilizing their irrational base voters than Democrats? Why should the Democratic party be let off the hook for failing to adopt similarly effective strategies? Because the idea that an irrational voter block can be argued back into rationality by a party it already doesn't vote for seems rather quixotic, and that's granting nearly all of your assumptions.

Of course, my own position is simply that you are wrong and your assumptions are wrong. The thinking on the Left does not match the reductive characterization you offer, and has much more fundamental and systemic objections to both the actions of the Obama administration and to the contemporary state of the electoral process. The Left is not opting out to punish Democrats into submission so much as it is simply opting out; there's been a substantial loss of faith in the process cross the political spectrum, and that speaks of rather more fundamental problems than can be solved by a party supermajority or even by an effort to yank some imagined -- and probably now long-gone -- base back to supporting "the electable center" and "the plausible compromises."

(On a side note, the ACA is a pretty poor standard to bear if you're trying to attract *anyone's* support. It's been plagued by a poor rollout, by a political design that made it incredibly easy for intransigent states to utterly sabotage the process, and ultimately by its failure to address the basic problem, which is less restrictions on insurance than the unavoidable negative effects on a healthcare market that occur when for-profit insurance is the primary payment mechanism.)
posted by kewb at 4:29 AM on May 5 [3 favorites]


(On a side note, the ACA is a pretty poor standard to bear if you're trying to attract *anyone's* support. It's been plagued by a poor rollout,

I want you to think about how well a single player plan would have been rolled out considering what a clusterfuck a single website was.
posted by empath at 6:36 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]


You're right that the Obama administration's inability to get the ACA site working suggests that they would have screwed up a single-payer rollout as well. This is also, of course, an argument against voting for them, since they apparently can't effectively deliver either what you want or what comes out of the compromising process.
posted by kewb at 6:46 AM on May 5 [2 favorites]


I'll start my dancing after the 2014 elections, if they lose the House.

Republicans have never been seriously threatened with losing the House in 2014. Despite a small handful of actual, at-risk seats, their majority is pretty secure. Conversely, the Democrats stand a very real chance of losing the Senate in 2014. You can pretty safely put away the dancing shoes for now.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:58 AM on May 5 [2 favorites]


I want you to think about how well a single player plan would have been rolled out considering what a clusterfuck a single website was.

Honestly, I think a nationwide single-payer plan would have been a lot easier to roll-out. The ACA and its attendant website is an incredibly complex mess of different insurers in different states and multiple price levels based on different income calculations, with some states accepting the Medicaid expansion, and other states rejecting it, etc. etc. A single-payer model would have swept a lot of that complexity away, starting with not having to tie-in to multiple insurance companies back-ends.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:02 AM on May 5 [6 favorites]


You're right that the Obama administration's inability to get the ACA site working

The ACA site works. Millions of people now have health insurance because of it.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:25 AM on May 5 [3 favorites]


You're right that the Obama administration's inability to get the ACA site working suggests that they would have screwed up a single-payer rollout as well. This is also, of course, an argument against voting for them, since they apparently can't effectively deliver either what you want or what comes out of the compromising process.

I don't think the problems with the ACA site were due to faults of the Obama administration as much as they were due to faults of the government contracting process.
posted by empath at 7:28 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]


The ACA site works.

To clarify, I mean their inability to get it working at the time of the rollout. On launch, and for quite a while afterwards, it certainly didn't work. Even the administration admits as much.

And even now, there are still problems with coverage gaps in rural areas, absurdly high deductibles for low-end plans, and the various non-Medicare-expansion states where the lowest-end plans are more expensive than the penalty.

I don't think the problems with the ACA site were due to faults of the Obama administration as much as they were due to faults of the government contracting process.

In that case, Thorzdad is right, since single-payer could be implemented by expanding existing infrastructure rather than by using the contracting process to try and build a whole new one.

In any case, the OP isn't really about the ACA or refighting the arguments around it. We seem to have gotten here because the ACA was yoink's example of a policy irrationally opposed by "the Left," and that stemmed from a larger question about how Democrats relate to the Left as compared to how Republicans relate to the Right.

Moving back in that direction, I will reiterate that I think it's a mistake for centrists and proceduralists to dismiss the Left as insane or intransigent, partly because these are spurious dismissals and partly because, even from a centrist or liberal proceduralist perspective, scolding a chunk of your own base without the money or the votes to support you in its absence seems like tactical suicide.
posted by kewb at 7:41 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]


I want you to think about how well a single player plan would have been rolled out considering what a clusterfuck a single website was.

Medicare works pretty well, IIRC...
posted by mikelieman at 8:24 AM on May 5 [2 favorites]


Moving back in that direction, I will reiterate that I think it's a mistake for centrists and proceduralists to dismiss the Left as insane or intransigent, partly because these are spurious dismissals and partly because, even from a centrist or liberal proceduralist perspective, scolding a chunk of your own base without the money or the votes to support you in its absence seems like tactical suicide.

There's an old Jewish story of a schnorrer who asks Baron Rothschild for money for needed expenses, then runs off and spends it all on lox. The Baron finds out and scolds the man for spending it frivolously, and the schnorrer replies "Look at it this way, Baron. When I don't have money, I can't have lox. When I do have money, I can't have lox. Tell me, when can I have lox?"

The American left has watched the Democrats have the Presidency for four of the last six electoral cycles. Congress has flopped back and forth over that time; sometimes split between the two parties, sometimes one party in control of the whole works. Are there areas in which things have improved? Yes. Are there a lot of areas in which, from a leftist's perspective, things have not improved and have in fact gotten significantly worse over that period? Absolutely.

They look at the Tea Partiers and see batshit conservatives who are getting results -- forcing their demands to be heard in Congress (if not always acted upon), forcing the Republicans to the right through primaries and theatrics, forcing the mainstream right to acknowledge them. They wonder what they have to do to get that kind of influence over the Democrats. They tire of New Democrat types hissing "NADER!" at them when they register their dismay. They imagine an America in which they feel truly represented by their representatives.

When do they get some lox?
posted by delfin at 8:30 AM on May 5 [10 favorites]


When do they get some lox?

When they become the actual base of the Democratic Party.
posted by spaltavian at 8:34 AM on May 5


I would suggest that due to the makeup of the "Democratic Party" there is no single group with enough members to be considered the 'base'. It seems that while the Republicans have a clearly defined target and fight against Democrats. Democrats pretty much fight against each other...

And I think the way the ACA ended up is a good example. While the Democrats figured out what they could accept, the Usual Suspects had their legislative goals enacted and what we got was pretty much mild changes to the status quo.
posted by mikelieman at 8:39 AM on May 5


Well, that's the thing, isn't it? It cuts both ways. The Democrats want leftist support; the leftists want Democrats with leftist principles. If neither side is willing to budge, neither side gets what they want.

Which is another way of saying that if the left ISN'T part of the Democratic base, maybe the Dems should court them a wee little bit now and then. Not all of the people who can be convinced to come out and vote are right-wing 'centrists.'
posted by delfin at 8:43 AM on May 5 [3 favorites]


Which is another way of saying that if the left ISN'T part of the Democratic base, maybe the Dems should court them a wee little bit now and then.

They do, during campaigns. You can quite fairly consider this to being lied to or duped, but it's hard to see how much of what the Left wants can be put into practice in the current political envrionment. I see Obama doing some things that the Left should be jumping for joy over, (like directing prosecuters not to mention the amount of drugs to prevent tiggering mandatory minimums), but it's met either with "that's not enough" (because it wasn't a law passed through the Republican house) or, more likely, "drones".

Which again, is fine, people care about what they care about. But the Obama coalition was mostly minorites voting bread and butter issues. That "activist" segment of mostly middle to upper-class people, who are much whiter than the rest of his colalition, seems to think of themselves as the base, rather the actual base that is typically 90% of African Americans. (This isn't to say there aren't African Americans in the "left", just that more of their votes are coming from the classic Democratic civil-rights coalition. It will be interesting to see how much this changes over the next few decades.) The Democrats might be more diffuse, but there is absolutely a base, and they generally drones are not factoring in the discussion for them.

The long and short of it is that the Democrats already have a winning coalition, so when you ask "why aren't they courting me?" it's because they don't need you nearly as much as they need to make sure less advantaged minorities can actually make it to the polls.
posted by spaltavian at 8:55 AM on May 5 [3 favorites]


The Democrats' "winning coalition" works just well enough for Presidential campaigning, marginally well (and less and less well over time) for Senate races, and absolutely horribly in state and Congressional elections. And as it turns out, having only the Presidency and small majority in the Senate is a limited victory indeed.

You mention the things Obama has achieved, but it's worth noting that Democrats generally can't run on them. Even the next Democratic Presidential candidate is unlikely to trumpet, say, rolling back harsh sentencing for drug offenders in a campaign.
posted by kewb at 9:11 AM on May 5


Ideologically, conservatives actually have more to fight with amongst themselves. It doesn't really matter who you point to as the Democratic base, because mostly the left wants the same things achieved. Is labor the base? Yes. Are minority voters the base? Sure. Liberals? Yes. Etc. Democrats don't fight amongst themselves because they don't agree on policy, they fight about tactics. A more electable, wise, competent, and effective leader is better than one further to the left. There is an argument, that is too hypothetical for me to really take sides on, that Hillary might have been more effective if elected in 2008. No way I would have voted for her back then because of her Iraq vote but it's not impossible that argument was correct. The better campaign won.

It wasn't pragmatic tactical voting that got liberals out in 2008, it was ambition for true hope and change. That message was blunted by 2010 with no replacement in sight. Democrats were running hard away from Obamacare in 2010. So how were the voters even supposed to KNOW they should have been pragmatically loving it, the candidates wouldn't even tell them they should.

Conservatives have less ideological unity, but they have an easier time of things because they are united on what they don't want and it can be easier to block things than to pass them. And when they do block things or win elections for some reason a certain group of people think the real reason is the hippies didn't clap hard enough for Tinkerbell.

Pacific Standard: According to their research, some people genuinely know what it means to be a conservative in the current political debate and indeed express matching preferences across all issues. But these “constrained conservatives” (as Ellis and Stimson call them) account for only 26 percent of all self-identified conservatives.

More common are the “moral conservatives” (34 percent), who think of themselves as conservative in terms of their own personal values, be they social or religious. And they are indeed right-leaning on social, cultural and religious issues. But they also like government spending on a variety of programs and generally approve of government interventions in the marketplace, hardly making them true conservatives.

And still others, “conflicted conservatives” (30 percent), are not conservative at all on the issues. But they like identifying themselves as conservatives. To them, it somehow sounds better. “They like the word,” explained Ellis. Or at least, they like it better then their other choices in the traditional self-identification questionnaire: moderate and liberal.

Finally, a smaller group of self-identified “conservatives” (10 percent) could be classified as libertarian — conservative on economic issues, liberal on social issues.

Self-identified liberals, on the other hand, are consistently liberal on all the issues, according to Ellis and Stimson. Two-thirds of liberals fit into the category of “constrained liberals,” who pick the label because it actually describes their worldview.


On preview, kewb is right about state and local races and young people/liberals. The issues that get them out are of a wider national scope because they don't realize how much is at stake on the more local level. If you don't own a home or have a family and the economy could send you somewhere else at any time it's hard to see what exactly you are voting for. Also, you might just be stuck in a deep red district.

The big things that have gotten young people/liberals hyped up at the state/local level recently are events like the Wendy Davis filibuster or the 2011 Wisconsin protests. Those were easy to get everyone behind because, just like with the Republicans, saying "NO!" is not as challenging as saying "Yes."

There needs to be more state and local attempts, SERIOUS attempts, at passing a liberal agenda. Gay marriage has been a huge one there, but that fight isn't going to last forever, especially if the Supreme Court continues to act on it. Give me some more damn legal pot, transgender rights, state minimum wage increases, serious prison reform, infrastructure projects, whatever. The state budget issues make a lot of action super hard, but sometimes it feels like nobody is even trying. Give the people more hope and change, and make a serious effort to deliver. It's not a guarantee of electoral security, but it's what Democrats want.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:27 AM on May 5 [3 favorites]


They wonder what they have to do to get that kind of influence over the Democrats.

Step zero is the one they'll never meet -- have enough people. For any reasonable definition of "leftist," there aren't enough in the US to matter. Certainly few enough that doing anything to actively court "leftists" is virtually certain to be a losing proposition electorally.

But if you want to extend the idea of "leftist" until it encompasses enough people to really sit up and take notice of -- and by now we're talking about squishy liberals and such, not real leftists -- then the answers aren't rocket science.

(1) Show up to elections. All the elections. Even the boring ones like school board elections. Even the primaries. Keep voting for Democratic candidates even when your preferred candidate lost in the primary.

(2) Develop and run candidates. Voting in school board and county commission and similar races is important because to a nontrivial degree that's where (effective) state legislators come from, which leads to MCs.

(3) Volunteer and donate. To the point that the idea of running a campaign without your support is unthinkable.

(4) Repeat for 20-30 years.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:45 AM on May 5 [2 favorites]


kewb The Democrats' "winning coalition" works just well enough for Presidential campaigning, marginally well (and less and less well over time) for Senate races, and absolutely horribly in state and Congressional elections.

But it only doesn't work because of turnout. So if you're a Democratic operative, what do you do? Spend money to convince mercurial Lefties to vote for you, or spend money to get people who will absolutely vote for you to the polls?

If the Democrats want to stop get clobbered in mid-terms, they need to get minorities and unmarried women to vote in off year elections. Note that doesn't include anything about winning an argument on the merits. Even if they were a large slice of the pie, the net-roots/Left are already engaged and high-information, which generally means they're going to do whatever they're going to do.

You mention the things Obama has achieved, but it's worth noting that Democrats generally can't run on them

But only because they're aren't enough lefties. If there were, they would run on it. Since their base votes bread and butter, you're going to hear Democrats talk about economics almost non-stop for the forseeable future. Democrats only step out of that box when Republicans do something so stupidly catastrophic- Iraq - that a new issue is created that appeals to the Left and the base. That's why almost any pluse followed by a "D" had better than even odds to win 2008, and why Obama got the nomination over Hillary Clinton. If 2008 had been a "regular" year, Clinton is the nomniee and probably wins the general in a squeaker.
posted by spaltavian at 10:08 AM on May 5


Spend money to convince mercurial Lefties to vote for you, or spend money to get people who will absolutely vote for you to the polls?

You kind of have that a little backwards. Liberals vote for Democrats when you get them to turn out. The Democrats most likely to vote for another party are those closer to the center who may vote Republican, if you want to call a group mercurial. The reason you don't spend money for liberals isn't because they won't reliably vote for you, but because you will scare away the people who are persuadable by the other side. In recent politics, this would be your working class whites who went Republican in a landslide in 2010. Unfortunately, a major thing that scared them away was almost certainly related to Obama's race and backing down from electing minorities is certainly not something that should be on the table.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:23 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]


five fresh fish: It seems to me that the GOP made themselves extinct by abandoning centrist voters... i.e. most everyone. They left the playing field.

This is a comforting, but self-deceiving, myth we're telling ourselves. If there were a grain of truth in it, GOP candidates would be losing by large margins in traditionally GOP-held races. They are not.

The US conservative movement has shifted far to the right, along with many of the GOP candidates. That is why the 2016 POTUS election will end with a marginal difference of less than 10% between the two parties, same as usual. The last POTUS to have more than 10% margin against his opponent was Eisenhower.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:24 AM on May 5


mikelieman: I want you to think about how well a single player plan would have been rolled out considering what a clusterfuck a single website was.

Medicare works pretty well, IIRC...


Medicare is over 50 years old. Comparing that system with the ACA is like saying your grandpa can play piano, so why can't this stupid baby?
posted by IAmBroom at 10:40 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]


Drinky Die: You kind of have that a little backwards. Liberals vote for Democrats when you get them to turn out.

You're suggesting that where you are on the left-right spectrum is tied to how reliable a voter for the party you are, and that's not strictly the case. The most reliable Democratic voters are African-Americans, and as a group they are not the most liberal in the coalition. (Again, it's always sloppy to generalize this much. Obviously there are very liberal black people and very conservatives ones too.)

The reason you don't spend money for liberals isn't because they won't reliably vote for you,

I wasn't saying the Left would vote for Republicans. It's mostly that highly-engaged voters tend to do whatever they are going to do and it's not efficient to engage them ideologically (and usually, not convince them) when you can focus on turnout with people who already agree with pretty much everything you can do.

In recent politics, this would be your working class whites who went Republican in a landslide in 2010.

Here's the thing, Obama lost them in a landslide in 2008 and 2012 as well.

Obama won 43% of whites in 2008 and only 39% of whites in 2012. In 2010, Democrats won 37% of whites.

So why did Obama win by a healthy 3 points, and get a over all majority in 2012 if he only did a little better than his party with whites in 2010?* Because of turn out. Democrats still overwhelmingly won minorities in 2010. There were just a lot less minority voters to win.

The key to Democratic victory is not in winning over centrist whites who might vote GOP. They just have to hold the line there. And it's certainly not about winning over a small number of Lefties who really have no where else to go. It's about getting the most reliable voting bloc in the history of American politics to actually show up.

*Gerrymandering didn't help.
posted by spaltavian at 11:11 AM on May 5 [2 favorites]


The last POTUS to have more than 10% margin against his opponent was Eisenhower

...except for Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:18 AM on May 5 [3 favorites]


Step zero is the one they'll never meet -- have enough people. For any reasonable definition of "leftist," there aren't enough in the US to matter. Certainly few enough that doing anything to actively court "leftists" is virtually certain to be a losing proposition electorally.

This is important, and often not factored in when these arguments recur. I'm pretty far-left, and there's a number of things I would want from a government to truly represent me, but there is not enough people who believe what I do to actually get politicians who hold all my views into power.

Sure, nearly all my friends agree with me. In fact, many thousands upon thousands of people do. But there just isn't enough people compared to the millions of people who, without even being Tea Party types, still don't actually agree with my positions on any number of issues.

Which is where the other frequently dismissed factor comes in, which is that in America there is really only two parties. Nearly always, voting is not going to be something where I fully support a candidate, but I get to try and choose the lesser of two evils. A lot of the time when I see complaining about not having a candidate to truly believe in, it's from people who just can't seem to understand that because of the American system, not voting for the lesser of two evils helps the greater of two evils get into power.

Ideological purity would be lovely. But while I get busy insisting on it, the people who I don't agree with on anything are voted in, and even the few things I might agree with the Democrat candidate on go by the wayside. It sucks, but it's how things currently stand. And changing it is the work of decades, not half a presidential term.
posted by gadge emeritus at 11:28 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]




Democrats won in 2006 because of the war. There wasn't a winning strategy they employed then that if they only employed now they would win.
posted by spaltavian at 11:55 AM on May 5


The last POTUS to have more than 10% margin against his opponent was Eisenhower

This was already debunked, but thought it worth highlighting, in 1972 Nixon won reelection by a 23 point margin.

23 points, that seems unimaginable in modern context, even the dubbing Regan won by in '84 where he carried every single state (except MN Hurah!!) was "only" an 18 point spread.

Also another good indication of the idiocy inherent in popular voting.
posted by edgeways at 12:28 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


They wonder what they have to do to get that kind of influence over the Democrats.

Win elections. Get involved in primaries, and actually turn out numbers.
posted by empath at 12:30 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


ROU_Xenophobe: The last POTUS to have more than 10% margin against his opponent was Eisenhower

...except for Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan.


Damn you and your facts, ROU!
posted by IAmBroom at 12:51 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


In recent politics, this would be your working class whites who went Republican in a landslide in 2010.

Here's the thing, Obama lost them in a landslide in 2008 and 2012 as well.


As I pointed out above:

The most significant shift against the Democrats occurred among the white working class. Congressional Democrats lost this group by 10 points in both 2006 and 2008. Yet this deficit ballooned to 29 points in 2010--a deficit even larger than Democrats experienced in 1994 (22 points). That created an awfully big hole for Democrats to crawl out of, especially given relatively depressed turnout among Democratic-leaning constituencies.


I guess I should have said, went Republican in a MEGAlandslide. This was not holding the line.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:14 PM on May 5




Most of the complexity in the ACA site involves integration with insurance exchanges and carriers. That is absurdly complex to pull off vs. Building your own single system that you control.
posted by aydeejones at 2:00 PM on May 6


Omnivore: Right wing tribalists
posted by homunculus at 2:45 PM on May 6


Charles Pierce at Esquire points out the bit missing from the National Journal piece: just because Tillis is "the establishment" doesn't mean he's not a right-wing radical.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:04 AM on May 7


House Democrats Won Majority of 2012 Popular Vote, for what it's worth.

Yet it's worth noting that Neil Silver thinks the Senate has a roughly 50/50 chance of going red this year, maybe even a slight advantage for the Republicans. I've got no idea how people can claim the Republicans are out. It seems like wishful thinking to me.
posted by JHarris at 12:28 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


In the short term, the GOP is definitely not out. 50/50 odds on the Senate isn't out of the question.

It's an unusual Senate year. There are really seven seats "in play", all of which involve seats currently held by Democrats in states that are considered to be swing-ish or Republican.

Of those seven, three appear that they are essentially being conceded by the Democrats: South Dakota, Montana and West Virginia. Four are being defended: Arkansas, Louisiana, Alaska and North Carolina.

The difference between those groups appears to be that the four states being defended have incumbents, while two of the three that are not (SD and WV) are open seats, and Montana has a short-term appointed incumbent who isn't a strong candidate.

In effect, the Republicans need to win three of those four seats being defended to take the Senate. (This is also assuming that the Republicans don't lose Kentucky, and that they don't have Tea Party surprises that lose them the election in Kansas, Mississippi, Georgia or elsewhere. Probably safe assumptions, but you never know.)

If you think there will be a Republican 'wave', all those seats might fall to the Republicans. If you think they will all be close, it's more a case of the Republicans having to win three coin flips in a row. The only safe prediction I'd be willing to make: it's too early to tell.

And if you want a worst-case scenario: imagine if the situation is undecided on election night in November, and the election comes down to one final decision: the outcome of a special election under Louisiana's weird process in December, where the future of the nation is riding on whether Mary Landrieu can hold out while the attention and efforts and money and busloads of protesters and news media and what have you of the entire rest of the country are focused on that one race. In Louisiana, possibly the last place in the U.S. where you'd want this to happen. If that comes about...it will be both entertaining and strangely horrifying.
posted by gimonca at 2:51 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


Clay Aiken's Democratic opponent just died. Looks like Clay gets the nomination.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:57 PM on May 12


Oh, that's sad. :(
posted by zarq at 2:59 PM on May 12


Poor guy fell and hit his head. Awful.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:27 PM on May 12


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