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2016 Postmortem

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(24,321 posts)
Thu Jan 19, 2017, 08:26 AM Jan 2017

Maybe she's just not into you (very long and kind of stats heavy) [View all]

The line from many a romance movie delivered by the best friend of some nice guy who is in love with some woman who really doesn't dig him -- "You're a nice guy, but..."
Welcome to the Democratic Party, the boyfriend of the girl (the electorate)
The Democrats were certain all their charm, all their charm and brilliance would be good enough to carry the day in November. But, like the guy in the movie, they were left jilted.
Many console themselves with the line, "But she won by 3 million votes." It's a nice line, but it ignores several key problems, the first and foremost being, except for Illinois, New Hampshire and Nevada, their dreams of love from Wisconsin, North Carolina and Florida not only betrayed the Presidential candidate, but also left their 3 senate candidates with little-to-show against a trio of weakened and unloved Senators in their home state.

This has been a bleed for over two decades now.
Many Democrats like to point to 1988 as one of their worst years, the year Dukakis got destroyed in a fairly feeble campaign against George Bush I. But, as badly as they did at the presidential level, they still scored a plus 1 in governor's seats going from 27 to 28. In the House, the Democrats won two more seats to build their total House seats to 260.
And while the Democrats lost 3 Senate seats to the Republicans (Florida, Montana and Mississippi), they offset those loses by taking four Republican seats (Nebraska, Connecticut, Nevada and Virginia) to a +1 in the Senate as well.

In 1989 the Democrats picked up New Jersey and held Virginia. In 1990, both the Democrats and Republicans lost one governor's seat. A lot of governor's changed parties that year: Arizona, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts and Vermont went red and Texas, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas and Florida went blue.
In 1990, the Democrats picked up 7 more House seats to go to 257 and in the Senate the Democrats flexed in with one more new seat at 56

1992, was where it all seemed to begin to slip. Democrats remember it as the year Bill Clinton won and the Party did so very well. But, the numbers don't bare that out; they gained nothing in the senate and lost 9 seats in the House. The party did win the Presidency and notched another +2 in the number of governors by taking 3 state houses and losing only one (Missouri, NOrth Carolina and Delaware vs North Dakota.

The rest I think we're pretty aware of, 94 was a disaster (-54 in House, -9 senate and -10 governors).
And since then, the Democrats have not been able to string together successive victories in state or federal elections. They reclaimed the House briefly in 2006 and 2008, only to lose it again in 2010 and never come close to getting it back. They lost the Senate in 2014 and are on track to be sidelined to 2020 (or beyond)

And as for governors and state level in general... quick quiz, give the number of states where the Democrats hold both the Governor's mansion and both houses of the legislature. If you guessed six, according to Ballotpedia you would be correct.
Bonus, can you name the six?
Answer Hawaii, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Oregon and California

What about Republicans? 25.
On this list include New Hampshire, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Kentucky.

Also to chew on;
If you had been born in Massachusetts in 1991, you would have had a Democratic Governor for a scant 8 years, while rest would have been Republican governors (Weld, Cellucci, Swift, Romney and Baker).
Massachusetts, the state many refer to as the blue state.

Lots of ideas are out there, unfortunately most of them involve blaming HRC, Sen Sanders or someone as if this whole monstrosity is the fault of one single individual or event.
If you follow the elections from 88 (and I chose that date because it was the most recent Democratic drubbing in Presidential elections) and continue moving toward today, it has been a systematic loss at almost every level of the majority of states.

It seems this fixation with having the president be a Democrat has been more important than anything else. The Republicans have successfully painted the Democrats at inept at governing when that is not true; as Der Speigel wrote 3 years ago, the best governor in America was Governor Jerry Brown of California who proved the state could be effectively and competently run, while the worst governor was/is Gov Brownback of Kansas.
I don't really ever see the party holding Brown up as an example of how successful Democratic policies are. Dayton in Minnesota has also been successful, but he's seldom talked about.
Maybe that's part of our problem too, it's messaging. We spent 8 years focusing on President Obama and not enough on what Democrats were doing out there in the states and cities.

Some derisively scoff at the old machine politics which were corrupt. But, part of what the machines did was get every corner of the city involved in politics. There were ward leaders and their assistants and people responsible for getting out the vote and holding rallies and so on.
I just wonder if we wouldn't benefit from using some of the money we use at the national level and spending it locally. Challenge harder, especially in marginal and near marginal districts.

Another idea comes from LBJ and a United Commercial from the 70's (odd mix I know). The United commercial begins with the CEO of a company handing out airline tickets to his senior management staff because they had lost a client they had for twenty years. He was dropping them because he felt they were unresponsive to his company. So, they were going to gout and meet their clients again and listen to what they have to say. One of the more iconic photos/videos of LBJ was when he went to Inez in the Appalachia in Kentucky and sat on the front porch of Tom Fletcher to make vivid his war on poverty.
Telling people, as was suggested by some idiot at Reason magazine and sort of parroted here, that 'Free trade has been a good thing and brought many jobs and great wealth and we should be happy' to a family that in 1993, lived a modest, but solid middle class lifestyle and is now below the poverty line, is just plain dumb.
You don't need to pander to them, like the annoying fascist orange does. But, we do need to come up with some plan to help them, their children and their communities. Germany, for the most part, did embrace the new economy because they trained people for the changes. While we just threw people to the wolves and expected the helpful shoe fairies and road building fairies to provide them with skills for the new economy.
You know... because... freedom and independence
BTW: I blame the Republicans for no job retraining. Can't have government helping people unless they're brazzilionaires. I mean... freedom doncha know.

Making an effort to connect with people is something we don't seem to do as well. Like it or not, being able to connect with people, to sit and talk with them and listen is important.
Unfortunately, "Fuck them!" or "They should have done..." doesn't tend to get the people you told to fuck off to vote for you.
It's unfortunate that so many people find it a badge of honor that they have cut-off any contact with people who don't agree with them politically. Listening to what others have to say and them listening to us is important.
You can't ever convince everyone and some people it's not woth the struggle. But, for most people, just being listened to without judging does go a long way.

Last thing (see 1988 Convention when then Gov Clinton announced he was wrapping up and the audience cheered because it was so long), we need to stop chasing everything that Il Douche says and letting that become national conversation. The House has successfully passed some very disturbing and dangerous bills over the past two weeks with scant attention paid because of attention paid to Meryl Streep's Golden Globes comments.
I really don't give a you-know-what about Meryl Streep and her opinion of Trumpolini or an actor or actress who likes or doesn't like him, when the House is passing bills to kill the ACA and allow them to keep their papers hidden from investigations, among others

Like trying to get somewhere, maybe we need to decide where we want to get, provide real concrete solutions, recognize that not everyone sees things how we see it

My opinion, my thoughts. Long winded I know.

Maybe she just isn't into you, maybe she is.

If you read it to the end, thank you.

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