Nate Silver: In 2010 campaigns, ‘Republicans and Democrats avoided the issue of gay rights’

Nate Silver, from his new perch over at the NY Times, examined what issues are driving the campaigns of congressional candidates this year. Gay rights was pretty far down on the list. Nate seems to think that touting support for ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell could help, given its strong suppport. But, that’s not happening:

And both Republicans and Democrats avoided the issue of gay rights, where public opinion is shifting. Even if gay marriage were too controversial to be a part of the Democratic agenda in most swing districts, the Democrats might theoretically gain ground by highlighting their support for allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military, where large majorities of the public back their position. But perhaps hamstrung by Mr. Obama, who has taken a series of half-steps on the issue, few of these Democrats have chosen to.

In other ways, indeed, Democratic candidates are handicapped by an ambiguous set of policy priorities advanced by their leadership.

DADT repeal shouldn’t be ambiguous. I mean, “only” 75% percent of the American people support repeal of DADT, including Dick and Liz Cheney. As Dan Savage said, “if this fruit were hanging any lower, it would be a f-ing potato.” But, for some reason, the President has been told that it’s not “good politics.” It’s maddening. And, even the compromise DADT language hasn’t been signed into law yet. The Senate should be acting on the Defense Authorization bill, which includes that language, this month.

I get that the election is about the economy. But, it seems like every day we get more evidence that the Democratic base isn’t motivated. “Half-steps” don’t equal the change we were promised.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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