Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Why Did the Democrats Lose So Many Races to the Republicans?

Mr. Anonymous blames people like me!
In 2006 we Democrats began to reverse a trend of losing which was caused by arm-chair QB rants like yours. You would not see the GOP constantly critique their leaders over things that they did because they thought they had to.
I guess I wholly disagree with Mr. A. I don't think the Democrats lost those elections because they often disagreed with each other. I think they lost because they were consistently unwilling to stand up for the Democratic Party's traditional constituencies and principals. As a result, they looked weak, indecisive, insincere, and untrustworthy. By failing to consistently stick up for their principals, the Dems alienated liberals and lost the trust of moderates. After all, "if even the Dems wouldn't stand up for Democratic policies, those policies couldn't be any good" thought too many middle of the road Americans.

Note the recent national success of a new breed of tell it like it is Democrats, like Tester and Webb.

As for A's second point, take a close look at just where the Republicans' refusal to consider dissenting view points has taken both them and our country! Note that in the great conflicts of the 20th Century, the freer more open societies generally triumphed over closed, repressive regimes. There's a lesson in there for you A.

And finally, I find the idea that failing to vote for the tax cut would have lost any of our local elections to be pretty misguided. For example, there was simply no way on earth Calvin Ball was going to lose to a candidate who was so inept that she forgot to put her name in her newspaper ad. Especially in the blue wave of 2006. I do realize, that the vote came at a difficult time. After working so hard for so long and carrying the hopes of so many other people, one doesn't want to see that all go down the drain at the last minute. However, today is a new day, if our elected officials won't do the right thing now, then when?

Please also note: so far, I have not criticized anyone personally as A suggests, I just complained about the policy. But on the other hand, what am I supposed to do, give elected officials a free pass when and if they do wrong, just because they are Democrats? Thats not the way the Democratic Party works, its the way the Republican Party acts.


Byron said...

I think you have some good points, Steve. What is so important for Democratic candidates and elected officials is that they actually stand for something and are consistent. Non-Party-line Democrats, Independents, and even some Republicans will vote for Democrats if they believe they are honest and trustworthy. Look at Paul Wellstone. He was significantly more liberal than his state, but he was elected, and then re-elected because people felt that despite that they didn't agree with him on everything, he was looking out for them and stood for something. When voters have a legitimate Republican and a Democrat pretending to be a Republican to choose from, they'll take the real deal.

At the same time, I think it is crucial that we accept non-liberal Dems in the party. In Howard County, we have to accept that Steve DeBoy and Jimmy Malone and even Ed Kasemeyer, are not party-line kinds of Democrats. We have to avoid vilifying people like that and instead understand that they have to represent their constituencies appropriately and support them just as steadfastly as a Liz Bobo or a Guy Guzzone.

In '08 at the federal level, and in 2010 here at the state and local level, I think Democrats will hold their ground and maybe even make some gains. In Howard? I predict knocking off at least one Republican incumbent, if not more. We just have to show voters that Democrats actually represent what the public wants and that Republican legislators base their votes on two things: (1) whatever the Republican Party leadership dictates and (2) what corporate lobbyists tell them they should do.

Anonymous said...

Well said Byron.Have you read "Standing Alone" by James M Burns. If so I wonder what your thoughts were concerning his book.

Steve Fine said...

I agree Byron.

Byron said...

I haven't read that particular piece by JMB, but I have read some of his other work. I'll certainly check it out!

Anonymous said...

The GOP did not lose because of strategy. They lost because they are wrong on so many issues.

If the dems stay on the best side of most of the issues and exercise some party discipline, we would win almost every race. We lack discipline and do not back our party’s plays in public.

The reason we can cite Wellstone is becuase he is not the norm. Most people in that situation lose and are never able to affect change for the better.