A middle-aged man dreaming of the day when he can stop begging for scraps and write for a living.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Republicans are back in power. How did we get into this mess?

Here we are in Obama's last leg in office as President of the United States, and he faces hostile majorities in both the House and Senate. The Supreme Court still has more conservatives than liberals on the bench and they're fairly unpredictable in what sweeping new legal precedents they're going to set. How did we get here? Democrats haven't done well in midterms, but they were also the majority for a while. Every party that's in the majority tends to not perform as well during midterms. This was also true of the Republicans: they lost their majorities in both the House and Senate in 2006 and Bush faced a hostile Congress, albeit a Congress who was willing to give him what he asked for. Obama won't receive that much consideration.

How did we get here? It's been suggested that the problem is with liberals, that we don't vote enough. I disagree with this. I think the liberals are the reliable voting bloc for the Democratic Party because we know we really don't have anywhere else to go. If we split away from the Democrats and head for the Greens or Socialists our first-past-the-gate electoral system will punish us for it by allowing Republicans to take the majority. We're awfully gunshy about that after the Bush years. So no, I don't think it's the liberals at fault for the Democrats' poor outcomes in 2010 and 2014. I think it's the moderates who aren't showing up at the polls during midterms. Midterm elections aren't as exciting and they don't get the same media exposure as primary seasons. It's easy to rally behind one charismatic figure or another, not so much to pay attention to "lower" races.

In addition to that I think the Democrat's main problem is that they're not simply courting the middle, they've been courting the right. They're trying to steal from the Republicans' base, which guarantees they'll continue to shift farther and farther to the right. This makes both liberals and moderates frustrated as hell with them. Stop trying to out-Republican the Republicans. Stop pushing the Third Way bullshit that Hillary Clinton is so fond of. You're not going to win elections by allowing Republicans and corporations define where the middle lies, Hillary. You're going to win by listening to the popular support behind Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The Democrats need to come back to the left, not court big money to pursue power for its own sake. Stop repeating the Republicans' mistakes.

How did we get here? Democrats didn't give us reasons to vote for them, reasons that separate them from the Republicans. Instead they've been singing that old song about "anything you can do, I can do better."

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