Midterms




Adam Bink at OpenLeft thinks Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic is out of line. I’m split between the two of them.

Marc:

The new Democratic platform does little to recognize this demographic. The party is getting annihilated among whites, even in states like California. Declaring that the Democrats are the party of accomplishments is one thing, but it really does not matter to swing voters in all those House seats straddling the Appalachian Trial, the industrial Midwest and the Rocky Mountain region that the U.S. is once again beloved in the world, that Obama is a man of science, or that he appointed a Latina to the Supreme Court.

Adam:

Shorter Ambinder: Lots of midterm voters think you suck and no message will dissuade them of that. And this is new how, exactly? No “message” in the world will reach some of these voters.

I, for one, am willing to see if the strategy Tim Kaine outlined as the DNC effort- reach the 15 million voters who registered and turned out for the first time in 2008- works. I think that’s a much better idea than trying to find a “message” that will reach voters who are unlikely to support you, or governing from the start to try and make sure they support you.

The other thing I would say is that what all the how-to-win-the-midterms hullabaloo misses is this: to some extent, what happens in the midterms is out of everyone’s control. Villagers use the public simply being in, as Mike Lux puts it, a foul mood about the economy, and the strong likelihood that Democrats will lose seats, to point to Obama and say “aha! Proof that the Obama style of governance, with its mommy-states and ethics reform and Latina justices isn’t working!” I think that’s reaching for a message just a bit too far.

Yes, by tradition we should lose seats this fall. And yes, people are ticked about the economy. But what they’re ticked about in particular are GOP talking points that the Democratic, including the White House, never adequately responded to.

1. The stimulus was a waste of money we can’t afford during a crisis.
2. The health care bill was a socialist take over of our medical system that won’t help people like me.

Then we have the ancillary lies:
1. Obama has filled his cabinet his Maoists.
2. Obama is a socialist.
3. Obama is the most liberal president ever.
4. Obama is trying to do too much.

There are more lies, but those are the biggest that I can think of, and they’re the ones that seem to most be ticking people off. And the top two, especially – stimulus and health care – exist because the Democrats refused to defend themselves forcefully enough.

Yes, people are ticked about the economy, but the economy would be doing better had we passed the stimulus that numerous economists said we needed, not the much smaller one the President pushed from the beginning. I know it upsets the White House to hear this, but it’s true. And now the jobs recovery is flat, and people are tickled. So political moves absolutely have an influence on the public mood.

And finally, as for DNC chair Tim Kaine’s strategy of going after newly register 2008 voters for the midterms, I’m not entirely sure that’s the wisest strategy. I can’t think of anyone more dispirited than people who voted for the first time, and who voted for fundamental change. They didn’t get it. And they know it. That’s a large part of the reason people are ticked.


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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