Nov. 2nd, 2010

flewellyn: (Default)
So, this election's been a mixed bag, but there have been some serious setbacks for progressives, and for the Democratic Party (which I note, right here, are not synonymous). The Democrats held on to many seats, but lost some others that seemed like easy victories. In particular, I'm thinking of longtime Democratic representative Earl Pomeroy, of North Dakota, who has done a great deal of good for the state, losing to a slimy, bullying, lying, dishonorable scumbag named Berg. And, in Kentucky, Rand Paul, libertarian asshat and employer of the head-stomping asshat Tim Profitt, beat Conway in what should have been a slam dunk for the Democrats.

The Democratic Party and the media are no doubt gearing up to assign blame already. The media, predictably, will say that this means America is a conservative nation and blah blah blah, more bullshit that they spout. Well, that'll be a mixed bag, because some (MSNBC and CNN) will try to analyze, while FOX will merely propagandize. The problem is, MSNBC and CNN will promptly pick up FOX's propaganda, being lazy. In the media, at least, Yeats remains right: the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

But the media may say whatever. The real issue I have, and am going to have, is with what the Democratic leadership will say. I know what they will say, because they always do. They will blame their base for not supporting them, castigate progressives for being "purists" and not getting out the vote enough. They will do anything but look at themselves.

This election is YOUR problem, DNC. And it's yours too, President Obama. The problem, as always, is that the Democratic Party does not understand why the Republicans are successful when their party platform is antithetical to the best interests of the general public. The GOP, whatever its faults (and boy, are there lots!), understands rule number one of any party strategy: whatever happens, keep the base happy.

As it happens, the GOP's base is composed of two groups: the plutocrats that fund them, and the reactionary fundamentalists that comprise their electorate. The GOP knows better than to publically stray from the line these two groups want them to follow, although there's plenty of indication that they mostly see the fundies as "useful idiots". Still, they make sure to throw plenty of bones to the fundies, and never publically disagree with them, much less berate them for lack of support. Republicans know that if they want to win, they must must MUST keep the base happy.

Democrats, it seems, don't understand this. The problem seems to be that the Dems believe elections are about finding "swing voters", those mythical undecided people who don't seem to favor one party or one political position over another, but are supposedly crucial to victory. One of the key traits of a "swing voter" is that this person may favor some progressive, liberal positions, but also favor conservative ideas as well.

So, what do the Democratic leadership do, in election after election? Take the party base, which is solidly progressive, for granted, and "tack right" to chase after the swing voters. Where they do this, it consistently fails, for two reasons.

First of all, I have yet to see solid evidence that "swing voters" actually exist. Of course there are people who are liberal on some issues and conservative on others; hell, I'm one of them (although the vast majority of things find me soldily in the "very liberal/progressive" camp). But, people who are genuinely undecided? Come now. In today's polarized electorate, anyone who is undecided is either uninformed, or else not paying attention. Either way, they're not going to vote at all.

Second problem, though, is the big one: the Democrats keep abandoning the base! More than that, they actually harangue the progressive base for not supporting them, even when they try to "govern from the center" and betray the progressives on election promises.

Frankly, sometimes the relationship between the DNC and progressive voter reminds me of an abusive marriage: the party keeps throwing the base under the bus, and then saying "Where you gonna go? You ain't got nobody but me!" Perhaps this needs to change.

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flewellyn

July 2014

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