I’ve got too much going on to revisit all of the saved articles I had planned to share and comment on. I think it’s safe to say, at this point, that there are three main theories as to why the Democrats got “shellacked”:
1. The economy / 9.5% unemployment (what Obama and good Democratic Party soldiers like Nancy Pelosi say)
2. Obama and the Democrats were too liberal, “carved out” too large a role for government
3. Obama and the Democrats didn’t fight for liberal/progressive policies; they compromised too often
As should be obvious by now, I fall into the camp that subscribes to the last reason. Surely, #1 played some role, whether you subscribe to #2 or #3. I will not completely dismiss #2. It is true that had Obama sat back and done literally NOTHING over the past two years, Democrats might have lost fewer elections. However, overall, doing SOME stimulus was better for the nation than doing nothing, as was doing SOME healthcare reform as opposed to none, although both of these were bad politically from both right and the left.
Anyway, I’m motivated to make a brief post now because I just had an interesting conversation with a local Democratic party worker (staffer or volunteer, I’m not sure). He had come to buy my old coffee table, and he had worked hard on canvassing locally and statewide on behalf of Democratic candidates. In particular, he worked hard on the GOTV effort for David Price, who hung on to beat the Republican challenger B.J. Lawson, who has now lost to Price in two consecutive elections. However, whereas Price won by 26 points in 2008, Lawson lost by a margin of just 14 points, or 37,000 votes.
My coffee-table-buyer stressed that, had there not had been a massive GOTV effort, Price could have easily been a victim of the Republican wave, since Lawson’s campaign had a huge financial and messaging advantage. Moreover, while it seemed like the Democratic Party just rolled over in the 2010 elections, there was a great deal of work that went into getting core voters to get out and vote, and that work made the difference between the Democratics losing 60 or so seats and potentially losing 90-100 seats.
The Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives now has a higher concentration of progressives than it did before, since conservative Blue Dogs lost at a much higher rate than did progressives. I think this the case because a lot of progressive party die-hards fought on despite the national mood. So, I am grateful to them, and this makes me feel a little bit better about the election results.
2010 was not a repudiation of liberalism.
By the way, did you that Zach Galifianakis’s uncle Nick represented N.C.’s 4th district between 1967 and 1973?