So I was going to start this blog with a suicide joke, but then, those never go well, now do they?
But let’s suffice it to say, our country punched itself in the nuts yesterday. We put Mitch McConnell (who violated election laws in just the last week, by the way), the most crass, craven, corrupt politician EVER in charge of the U.S. Senate. Not good. Moreover, we told conservative billionaires like the Koch brothers that they can buy elections if they’re willing to spend enough money—thanks John Robert and the Supremes: way to legalize bribery and corruption. Oh, and think this election was bad? Wait ‘til the next one when the Presidential Candidates spend $2 billion or more apiece.
Seriously, I don’t know what people who voted for Republicans this election were thinking. Congressional approval is at like 13%, and when asked why, most Americans say that it’s because “nothing gets done in Washington.” But then we turn around and elect Republicans, a party that just last year shut down the government. And oh, by the way, lots of things would’ve gotten done if Republicans hadn’t blocked them, like a raise in the minimum wage, lower interest rates on student loans, immigration reform, universal background checks on guns, and taking away tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas. A majority of Americans (like 65+%) are for those things, but then last night, a majority of Americans voted for Republicans, who blocked them.
It defies logic, but Fox News, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and all the other carnival barkers have created a magical world completely absolved from reality that, unfortunately, too many Americans inhabit. It’s a place where Ronald Reagan is God, Ayn Rand is queen, and fossil fuels are used exclusively to produce electricity; a place where you can hunt and fish right next to a open-pit mine and it’s just as a neat as if you were in an old growth forest; a place where cutting taxes for billionaires is just the thing to do, even if that means your state’s children go to school in tin sheds, make cheap Gucci wallets to pay for their principal’s salary, and eat a thin, mealy gruel for lunch; a place where it’s OK to say that blacks are lazy and immigrants are “dumbing down” the country (thanks NPR), but it doesn’t mean your racist; a place where fantastically, you can still believe in things that have been proven demonstrably untrue, like President Obama’s a secret Muslim, taxes are as high as they’ve ever been, or that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the liberal media…
I could go on—it’s an incredibly complex fantasy conservatives have constructed for themselves—but I think we’re all well aware of their delusions. Anyway, the last point is one of the main takeaways from this election…
THE MEDIA IS MOST CERTAINLY NOT LIBERAL.
That is the biggest joke in the world; what an absolute laugh! Look, NPR’s political coverage, with it’s Colorado tour, might’ve well won that election for Gardner. They were vindicating votes for the GOP on the basis of racism and had Mara Liasson on-air saying Gardner was pro-woman and had basically the “same stance as Planned Parenthood” on women’s issues, which is a blatant lie.
Indeed, the media has failed on a massive scale—you never hear why stuff doesn’t get done in Washington (because Republicans are blocking and filibustering), only that it doesn’t, with some vague reference to partisanship or the classic line: “both parties are at fault.”
WRONG. Democrats have proposed a ton of very good legislation that would have helped millions of Americans, but no one knows it, because the media omits the fact that Republicans are actively preventing it from happening.
Basically, the Republican Party has become so extreme and awful in what it actually does, that if the press reports on it, it will look like they’re being biased, so rather than doing their job and telling the truth, the media tucks their tail between their legs and covers up the GOP’s heinous acts to appear objective.
Which leads me to takeaway number two…
DEMOCRATS HAVE TO STOP DUCKING, HEDGING, AND COWERING IN ORDER TO WIN ELECTIONS.
Because frankly, when they do, they lose. It’s classic prevent defense, which as everyone knows, prevents you from winning.
You know what would have been a really easy message to put out in a 30 second ad spot?
“Democrats voted to raise the minimum wage—X% of Americans agree; Democrats voted to end tax breaks for corporations that send jobs overseas—X% of Americans agree; Democrats voted to lower interest rates on student loans—X% of Americans agree… (cue evil sounding music showing a picture of Mitch McConnell’s face) BUT REPUBLICANS BLOCKED THOSE MEASURES… EVERY ONE. In fact, Republicans have filibustered X many bills and executive nominations, preventing government from working, and just last year, Republicans shut down the government. Vote to end obstruction in Washington. Vote Democrat.”
Why were these types of ads not run? Why can’t the Democratic Party figure out that to win elections, you have to be FOR something, and that they ought to run strong candidates that are willing to stand up for progressive values, because those values are popular.
I’m sorry, we’re not going to win the guy the says he’s in “the middle” but opposes background checks on guns or doesn’t want to raise the minimum wage or thinks Obamacare is bad; we lost that guy a long time ago—he gone.
So instead, Democrats, focus on putting out a positive agenda that will help ordinary people, and then turn them out. As someone said on MSNBC last night, you have to “turn people on before you can turn them out.” And yet, in the past two midterms, we’ve run away from our President and we’ve run away from our values. Not exactly inspiring. Which brings me to takeaway number three…
WORK WITH REPUBLICANS. GET STUFF DONE. BUT DON’T COMPROMISE PROGRESSIVE VALUES OR FORGET ABOUT ORDINARY AMERICANS.
During the past six years, the Republican Party has done everything possible to obstruct government, and because a lot of Americans are idiots or racists, it worked. However, Democrats (I’m talking to you Harry Reid) shouldn’t do that for a couple reasons:
1) It makes people cynical about government, which isn’t good, especially for Democrats, who believe that government is necessary and has an important role in improving our society.
2) The purpose of governing isn’t to win elections—it’s to govern. So govern. If Dem’s can horse trade with Republicans to address income and wealth inequality, to address our broken immigration system, to address the burden of student loans, etc., then DO IT.
But one warning: while you’re compromising and hashing things out, don’t forget about ordinary Americans. Don’t forget the people that rely on Social Security to survive, or that have access to health care now because of the Affordable Care Act, or that work 40 hours a week but still rely on government programs like Food Stamps to survive.
Because Republicans don’t give a damn about those people. So while Republicans are championing the interests of the rich, the connected, and their stupid rabble of a base, make damn sure Democrats, that you’re a champion for the poor and the middle class.
And next election: DON’T FORGET TO TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT!!!
Sucks getting punched in the nuts.