Thursday, November 6, 2014

No good news in politics

The Republicans took over the Senate far more easily than polls suggested they would. I do blame the Democrats for running away from the record and from the President, and I blame the President, for being too cool and distant.

The idea that this was a wave of some sort is clearly not true;  this was a typical realignment of the Congress in a mid-term election.  It is also clearly not true that the Republicans have repudiated the tea-partiers and put the adults back in charge;  as Charles Pierce writes,
Let us dispense with some conventional wisdom before it petrifies. First of all, the president's basic unpopularity was unquestionably a factor, but not anywhere near as much of a factor as was the reluctance of the Democratic party -- from the president on down -- to embrace the actual successes that the administration has achieved. The economy is, in fact, improving. It is the responsibility of the president and his party that we have the paradoxical polling that indicates that the elements of the Affordable Care Act are popular, while "Obamacare" is not.....The senatorial candidates who lost were senators who ran away from the administration.... 
Second, it was a great night for voter-suppression, which has been central to the Republican response to the fact that the president has been elected twice....It's going to take days to sort out the overall effect of these laws on the general electorate, even if anyone cares to do so, which I've come to doubt, because the Supreme Court created a new normal when John Roberts gutted the Voting Rights Act and declared the day of jubilee, and the people in the country who are not those inconvenienced by these laws, and who are not those against whose franchise these laws were directly aimed, seem perfectly content with this situation. 
Last, and I hate to break this to Tom Brokaw, and to Kasie Hunt, who talked about how the Republicans know they have to "govern," but this election couldn't have been less of a repudiation of the Tea Party. As the cable shows signed off last night, it was dawning even on the most conventional pundits that the Republicans had not elected an escadrille of Republican archangels to descend upon Capitol Hill. It was more like a murder of angry crows. .....Several of these people -- most notably, Sasse and Ernst -- won Republican primaries specifically as Tea Partiers, defeating establishment candidates. The Republicans did not defeat the Tea Party. The Tea Party's ideas animated what happened on Tuesday night. What the Republicans managed to do was to teach the Tea Party to wear shoes, mind its language, and use the proper knife while amputating the social safety net. They did nothing except send the Tea Party to finishing school.
The really depressing thing is that it's not clear how any of this will change in 2016.  And it is also clear that the Dems seem out of ideas, unable to compelling speak a compelling vision.  And Hilary sure as heck doesn't have one--because a vision requires a debate and discussion, not a coronation of someone representing the Corporate Wing of the Democratic party.

It's going to be a long few years.


JCF said...

it was a great night for voter-suppression, which has been central to the Republican response to the fact that the president has been elected twice....It's going to take days to sort out the overall effect of these laws on the general electorate

That's what I want to know. But I know midterm elections have large drop-offs, anyway. We have GOT to find out why. How can we make voting EASIER?

Kevin K said...

This certainly struck me as a wave. Republicans appear to have won every close senate seat except New Hampshire and possibly Louisiana. Virginia, which appeared to be a lock for Democrats was incredibly close. The pick up in Congress was extremely high as both parties have gerrymandered seats to be as safe as possible for incumbents of their own party. In addition Republicans overwhelmingly won governors races in Mass., Illinois and Maryland.

These results can't be attributed to gerrymandering or voter suppression.

JCF said...

Ignorance (inc racism) for the rest, Kevin? (thought not)

Seriously, the extent to which Democrats lost due to "Obama Derangement Syndrome" can't be understated. President Obama is LOATHED far out of proportion to anything that can rationally be linked to *policy differences* [See, for example, the passage of Minimum Wage Increases in Red States! Who supported that? Not the Red State Governors and Congresspersons they were (re)electing!]

I keep waiting for white Republicans (I repeat myself) to ACKNOWLEDGE their racism [as opposed to just papering over it w/ a token black Senator (SC) here, or black Congresswoman there (UT)].

But now I guess I just have to outlive them: "I am not a racist/{bone-in-nose} OBAMA IS A DIKTATOR!!11!1!" 'tude isn't going to be given up...

JCF said...

OK, the above ^ may have come across as just a *bit* ranty. FWIW, it wasn't directed personally at you, KevinK.

However, there's this: (a phenomenon which I know reflects what happend in 2012 nationally, re the House of Representatives: more votes were cast overall for Dem candidates, but the GOP maintained a large majority---a majority which, of course, has only gotten larger in '14).

Having lived for 10+ years in Michigan (1999-2010), it especially cheeses me off there. As w/ their abolishing local control in (predominantly black!) cities, the Michigan GOP is Out.Of.Control., and they're operating as a One-Party-State such they may NEVER be held accountable. Whoops, getting ranty again...

Kevin K said...

No offense taken. It is a very odd election in certain ways. A good day for Republicans generally but some very libertarian results in some states on issues like marijuana.

I lived in South Dakota for a couple of years which was one-party R. I moved to Chicago which was one-party D.

IT said...

The states that were up this year in the Senate trended R, and given that every president's party loses in the 6th year, it's not a mandate nor a wave.

The states up next time trend D, and things may be reversed.

Republicans have more robust control of states than Dems, and thus redistricting. Which is why in so many states, despite a majority of votes actually being cast for Dems, the Repubs still go to Washington.

Kevin K said...

I don't think its a mandate but it does appear to be a wave. In politics waves tend to wash both ways so I wouldn't be surprised if the Ds do well in 2016. However, with the Rs likely picking up Alaska and Louisiana this is a plus nine election. That seems pretty impressive.

Republicans have done much better in state elections. This allows them to control redistricting every ten years which reaps enormous political benefits in terms of congressional races.

Obviously, this does not apply to senate or governors. Of course the two Republican senators from Iowa have the same number of votes as the two senators from New York.