Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hold the circular firing squad

Okay, a lot of people's hopes got crushed when Georgia voters chose a hater of Planned Parenthood who has presided over voter suppression regulations instead a generic young white Dem yesterday. The result sucks.

But, as I have been writing since the election: just skip the circular firing squad if you possibly can. Given the assistance the GOPers and the Cheato are throwing their opponents day in and day out, we will eventually get it right.

Meanwhile, some smart observers have been thinking hard about the way forward. I recommend pondering these articles:
  • Franklin Foer at the Atlantic:

    To win again, the Democrats don’t need to adopt an alien agenda or back away from policies aimed at racial justice. But their leaders would be well advised to change their rhetorical priorities and more directly address the country’s bastions of gloom. The party has been crushed—not just in the recent presidential election, but in countless down-ballot elections—by its failure to develop a message that can resonate with people beyond the core members of the Obama coalition, and by its unwillingness to blare its hostility to crony capitalism. Polling by the group Priorities USA Action shows that a stunning percentage of the voters who switched their allegiance from Obama to Trump believe that Democratic economic policies favor the rich—42 percent, nearly twice the number who consider that to be true of Trump’s agenda.

    The makings of a Democratic majority are real. Demographic advantages will continue to accrue to the left. The party needs only to add to its coalition on the margins and in the right patches on the map. Doing that does not require the abandonment of any moral principles; persuasion is a different category of political activity from pandering.

  • Matthew Yglesias at Vox:

    ... it should be sobering to Democrats that a CBS News poll released Tuesday morning filled with devastatingly bad approval numbers for the Trump administration found that only 31 percent of voters thought a Democratic takeover of Congress would make their lives better.

    If your opponents are unpopular enough, it’s certainly possible to win elections this way. But especially for the party that has a more difficult time inspiring its supporters to turn out to vote, that’s an ominous sign. Right now on health care and many other issues, Democrats suffer from a cacophony of white papers and a paucity of unity around any kind of vision or story they want to paint of what is wrong with America today and what is the better country they want to build for the future. And until they do, they’re going to struggle to mobilize supporters in the way they need to win tough races.

  • and Ed Kilgore, that wise Georgian:

    Democrats searching for a silver lining in the Georgia race don’t have to look too far. This is the third consecutive special election (the fourth if you count South Carolina) in a historically Republican district where the Democratic percentage of the vote jumped sharply. Democrats will surely retake the House if the swing in their direction is similarly strong in 2018. In retrospect, ironically, tonight’s results may inspire new respect for Hillary Clinton’s performance–when she came within a point of Donald Trump in this district last November—and provide some new data points for doing well in GOP-leaning districts that resemble GA-06 with its highly educated population.

    As a long-time Georgian, I would add that in my experience Georgia Democrats don’t much show up to vote in special elections, or runoffs, much less special election runoffs. That so many did in this election was a minor miracle. ....

So much goes back to giving a broad enough swath of voters something they'll bestir themselves to vote for. It always does.


Brandon said...

Historically the Sixth District was Democrat-led. But Newt Gingrich was the first Republican to represent it. Turning it back to the Democrats would have had much symbolic value. (BTW, Karen Handel is the first woman representative for the district.)

joared said...

I think we should not be too surprised at the outcome, especially considering the part of the country where this election was occurring. I can well imagine residents resented the fact that the losing candidate did not live in their District. Also, the influx of so much money from outside the state would have been resented by locals I expect. I think Dems will have to be careful elsewhere or aggressive actions may backfire.

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