What did we learn from this debacle?
Democrats should have run on their principles, not away from them. Because they allowed the President to be demonized and denounced by Republican con men and women, and because they did not stand up for him and did not run on the accomplishments of the last 6 years --some accomplishments that were made despite Republican obstructionism -- many people had no reason to vote for them and probably did not even show up at the polls on Election Day.
We apparently lost this election because many Democrat office-holders refused to face a multi-faceted reality. We can’t win with a passive strategy. We can’t win just talking about progressive issues, values and policies. We can’t even win with a good ground game! We need to recognize first and foremost that the Republicans have bested us in using language and symbols to utterly devastate our candidates. And who answered back? No one because everyone was hiding from the same reality. All the gimmicks, organizations, data gathering and data entry, plus good old fashioned GOTV, did not work because Republicans have stolen the ground out from under us, and tilted the playing field. Some call it a game. Not Republicans: they know it’s a WAR. And since Democrats are not war-prone, we have a very hard time dealing with that reality (and in fact have failed to deal with it). Here are some of the reactions I found, none of which speak on their own to the multi-faceted reality:
--as to Oil interests: approved Keystone pipeline being instituted and against more study with a decision 30 days after report issued; currently trying to get something passed in the Senate so she can use it in her run-off.
--wanted to see expansion of eavesdropping by CIA, etc.
--on 2007 CIR, voted with Republicans to defeat cloture on debate and thus wreaked chances of passing bill with special worker visas
--voted against authorization of withdrawal from Iraq
--voted for military tribunals to try terrorists and for enhanced interrogation techniques, such as ‘water-boarding’
8) Some, like Robert Reich and Senator Elizabeth Warren, declare that we must stick with certain “popular” or “populist” issues and push them constantly. Reich says we need “an agenda for shared prosperity’ including a raising of the minimum wage, investment in education and infrastructure; lift the cap on income subject to Social Security payroll taxes, resurrect Glass-Steagall and limit the size of banks, make it easier for low-wage workers to unionize, raise taxes on corporations with high ratios of CEO pay to average worker pay, and much more.” Senator Warren speaks along the same lines, but also emphasizes the need to control Wall Street and CEOs.
DigitalJournal talks about a new New Deal being needed, both in terms of saving the middle class and in order to win elections around a unified core of values. The U.S. economy is out of the recession, but many voters do not feel that way. “Yes, the message is still as pertinent as in 1992: “It's the economy, stupid.” Voters are annoyed with the White House because the economy still sucks. And, while many pundits are blaming Democrats' mid-term woes on refusing to tack to the political right and become more conservative, I agree with those who say that the Dems are suffering for failing to stick to the socioeconomic left.”
1. a bill a week for the first 10 weeks. Start with obvious measures with significant Democratic support, like the Keystone XL pipeline
2. fast-track trade negotiation authority that Harry Reid killed and that Obama, like all presidents, wants. Republicans should propose and pass it, thereby giving Obama a victory and demonstrating both bipartisanship and magnanimity (as well as economic good sense).
3. a simple, targeted bill to repatriate the $2 trillion of assets being held by U.S. corporations overseas, a bill to authorize and expedite the export of liquid natural gas and crude oil (the latter banned by an obsolete 1975 law) and a strong border security bill.
4. symbolic abolition of Obamacare that Obama will immediately veto is less important than multiple rapid fire measures to kill it with a thousand cuts. Repeal of the medical device tax. Repeal of the individual mandate. Repeal of the employer mandate. Repeal of the coverage mandate thereby reinstating Obama's broken promise that "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it." And repeal the federal bailout for insurers on the Obamacare exchanges
5. sweeping reform of the tax system, both corporate and individual, abolishing loopholes and lowering rates, like the historic Reagan-O'Neill 1986 reform or Obama's own abandoned Simpson-Bowles commission. And go large: Invite the other side into immediate negotiations with the aim of producing a tax bill by spring
His final message to the GOP consists of a caution: “an Executive order on immigration would be naked impeachment bait. Don't take it. Use the power of the purse to defund it. Pledge immediate repeal if Republicans take the White House in 2017. Denounce it as both unconstitutional and bad policy. But don't let it overwhelm and overtake the GOP agenda. That's exactly what Obama wants. It is his only way to regain the initiative.”
10) Finally, we may have lost this election so badly because there was too little attention paid to the major problem of voter suppression and vote stealing. According to Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman on smirkingchimp.com, “since the Bush-Cheney-Rove theft of the 2000 election in Florida, the right of millions of American citizens to vote and have that vote counted has been under constant assault.” The authors point to the GOP-led purge that has denied the vote to students, the elderly, those living in poverty and to citizens of color. “Our voting system, to put it mildly, is bought and rigged, further feeding the deadening sense of public futility and frustration.” One example they cite, unknown to many, is that Republican Secretaries of State in 28 states use a ‘cross-check’ method that allowed them to eliminate several million registered potential Democrat voters “Deliberate (and often illegal) disinformation campaigns, destruction of voter registration forms, outright voter intimidation, and other suppression techniques” (such as manipulation of un-trackable electronic voting machines) are all examples of an electoral system that is rigged to favor those elected overwhelmingly on Nov. 4th, 2014. It’s by design, not accident, that the voter turnout in America is ranked 120th in the world! In this election, barely 1/3rd of those eligible actually voted.