November 05, 2014

#Election2014 postmortem — Dems wrestle with 'Bill Clinton problem'

Wake up Dems and meet Congressional newcomer Mia Love,
the first black woman GOP Member of Congress.
I may get in more detail about why Democrats lost the U.S. Senate, lost a couple of tight governorships, and in general kind of imploded last night, in a long post I'm already working for tomorrow on a Texas, Wendy Davis and Battleground Texas postmortem, but, I'm going to dive briefly into the big picture now.

No, Bill Clinton wasn't on the ballot, and of course, neither was Barack Obama. But, in a sense, he was.

As Gary Younge notes at The Guardian, Obama's ineffectiveness (actual as well as seeming) was what was on the ballot, as much as anything he actually stood for.

And per that, on to the header.

Democratic senatorial and gubernatorial candidates seemed to wrestle with how to address him the same way that Al Gore did with Bill Clinton in 2000, and hence my header. This time, it was complicated by some states doing the Medicaid opt-in part of Obamacare and others not, but those statewide race candidates, in several swing states, seemed to struggle with just how much to try to distance themselves from Dear Leader but yet, especially in states with large black votes, still get his help, like Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist and North Carolina Senator Kay Hagen both launching election day pitches from Obama on radio stations with largely black demographics.

Note that I said "black" and not "minority," especially not "Hispanic."

That's point the second.

I don't know what the final national numbers will tell, but I'll venture it's a significant dropoff in Latino voting for Democrats. The failure of the Dream Act, the failure of Obama to take immigration-related executive actions in the past few months, will likely "tell." That said, I don't expect this year's elections to show a big pickup in GOP Hispanic votes, just a big dropoff in Democratic ones. And, at least one House and one Senate Democrat have been publicly critical of Obama for not using executive orders.

Per Howard Dean, a lot of Hispanics probably did feel Obama was taking them for granted.


Per Alison Lundergan (say it three times fast for the pun) Grimes, as poster child No. 1, Dems had crappy candidates running crappy campaigns. Wendy Davis for governor here in Texas. Arguably, Mark Udall in Colorado. (A fetal personhood bill lost there by a fair margin, so maybe he should have gone after Cory Gardiner on other issues.)

That said, per friend Perry, in some cases, perhaps some neolibs caught cleaned out of Democratic positions and hopefully more heads will roll in the future.


Refuting "narratives" about women who vote GOP voting against themselves, and blacks who vote GOP voting against themselves, I present the first black woman Member of Congress, from Utah of all places. And, she took Utah's one Democratic seat, replacing the retiring Jim Matheson. Yes, she's an "outlier," and for that reason, got a lot of national GOP money. Still, it's a wake-up call. (Love, per the link, challenged Matheson two years ago, too.)

Just as racism and sexism are problems in corners and pockets — but not all — of the Republican Party, condescension is a problem in corners and pockets of the Democratic Party. See my Dean and Obama note above.


This is a second-term (for a president) midterm election. Remember 2006? That's why I expected some of this, though I thought (and more, hoped) the Senate would be a 50-50 tie.


Democrats who now talk about how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have to "govern" or "compromise" or whatever?

Wake the hell up, and what planet are you on?

Like Speaker John Boehner, he'll first have to wrestle with keeping his fire-eaters in line and halfway placated.  Think Rand Paul wants to "compromise," let alone Ted Cruz


Hillary Clinton seemed to have no better coattails when stumping for candidates than did Obama. Part of that relates to Point Five, but it may just give the likes of former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer more encouragement to run. And, even with his own flaws, in my eyes, he would definitely enliven the race.


As I'll cover in more depth in my Texas roundup tomorrow, this election SHOULD disabuse Democrats that they have a baked-in demographic edge, if not today, then tomorrow. Whether it WILL do that is another question entirely.

And, locally, the minority turnout in midterm elections issues? Anecdotally reinforced for me firsthand. The most minority-heavy county commissioner precinct, with probably half of the county's total minority population if not more, had a turnout of only about 60 percent that of the other three precincts.

Flip side?

Democrats DID have good candidates running good campaigns — and winning in red states.

Charles Pelkey got elected to the Wyoming state House supporting reproductive choice and marriage equality.

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