Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Nonsensical Election of 2014

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Many people in the U.S. and around the world are still struggling to understand why a Midterm Election in which only 36% of voters bothered to show up at the polls is being taken as a "Mandate" by the nutty Republicans. If this is just a typical midterm election, then why does it feel as if we've really gone down the rabbit hole this time?

Maybe it's the obvious gloating of the Tea Partiers, who should realize how marginalized they are according to every demographic number, but who thought President Obama should just surrender and impeach himself the day after the election. I guess the fact that Cuckoo-For-Cocoa-Puffs candidates will soon pour into both houses of Congress is giving them the "audacity of hope" that their draconian views are the norm. Why shouldn't they gloat? They turned out the vote, and the Democrats failed miserably.

Maybe we are just outnumbered by the stupids in this country, and we need to accept that.

While cool heads are saying this election was a quirk of red-state geography, gerrymandering, and local elections that pushed hot-button issues, that's no solace to those who voted Blue in a Red State. For instance, in Tennessee it is a fact that a new constitutional amendment to make abortions harder to get failed in the four major cities, thanks to Blue voters. However, it was passed almost as a landslide statewide as if those cities and their Democratic voters didn't even exist. And therein lies a sad truth about why turn-out is so low among Dems in red states - our votes get canceled out, and that leads to voter malaise and low turnout.

We also suffered in Tennessee from a wealthy scandal-proof fence-rider of a Republican governor whose only Democratic opposition was some unknown doofus named, I kid you not, "Charlie Brown." Behold, our state Democratic Party in action. Red state Dems are like orphans in the wilderness these days, and we are outnumbered by crazies.

Same thing in Texas where candidates like Wendy Davis and Letitia Van de Putte couldn't overcome the basic sexism of aging white ranchers, oil men, and the loony misogynist Christians who turned out to vote. What's more astonishing is that women turned out to vote against women candidates too. Another mystery of this election. Where were the "majority" of Dem and Independent women, and why didn't they care?

And then there was Kansas, allegedly a state where the Tea Party had turned their economy upside down, so they were ready to clean house starting with Governor Sam Brownback. Also, Independent Greg Orman was supposed to handily beat the incumbent Senator Pat Roberts, then caucus with the Dems. Except that none of that happened. The polls were all wrong. The people voted for Brownback as if everything was just okey dokey with them. And their absentee Senator, who doesn't even live in Kansas anymore, was re-elected in a landslide. Go figure.

My husband said no one should be suprised that a red state stayed red, but what was all that reporting about? How could everyone be so wrong this time?

Maybe it was delusional on the Dems' part to think states like Georgia or Kentucky - or Texas, a longshot - could be blue in this election, that they would elect a Michelle Nunn or an Alison Lundergan Grimes. But it's just as mysterious that Kentucky re-elected an unpopular guy like Mitch McConnell, while keeping their blue Governor and State Legislature. The popularity of Governors like John Kasich in Ohio, Rick Scott in Florida, and Scott Walker in Wisconsin is a conundrum that cannot be explained easily. Those states had huge "get out the vote" movements, and actually have real Democratic Parties, unlike in Tennessee. Yet it all seemed to make no difference in the end, and I'm sure their Dem voters feel just as puzzled as ever.

Many say that Democratic candidates failed because they "ran away from the President" and from the victory that is Obamacare. But to those of us in Red States who understand swing voters, it seemed logical that the candidates wouldn't want to draw too much attention to Obama or to the unpopular idea of ACA. I think it was a lose-lose situation - damned if they did, damned if they didn't.

Maybe history will explain this election, if we live long enough. Or we can just blame the black President like most of the media. If it really is that simple, and that racist, I just don't want to know.

Maybe we Dems just had too much hope, and got ahead of ourselves, and now we are turning on ourselves and playing the blame game. The fall-out in the Democratic party is already happening. There are calls to throw out Harry Reid as Senate Minority Leader, and toss Debbie Wasserman-Schultz as head of the Democratic Party. The head of the DCCC, Steve Israel, resigned a few days after the election.

All this blaming and firing won't really help us understand the Midterm from Hell, but I guess it will seem like progress. Meanwhile, most Dems are taking time off from the internet, watching Netflix, listening to soothing music and wishing this was all a bad dream.

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