Home 2014 Races Actually, No Sen. Warner, Voters Sent the Exact Opposite Message…or No Clear...

Actually, No Sen. Warner, Voters Sent the Exact Opposite Message…or No Clear Message at All


According to Sen. Mark Warner, now officially reelected with Ed Gillespie’s concession a few minutes ago, this is the message voters sent a few days ago: “Congress must get to work.” But is that really the case? A few points.

1. There’s really no way to know exactly what “message” voters were sending earlier this week. Exit polls indicated that this electorate was mostly concerned about the economy, but there was no specific course of action recommended. Clearly, voters are upset, anxious, angry, frustrated, etc., but again, no clear signs of where they want to go.

2. To the extent we can glean a “message” from the candidates voters elected on Tuesday, clearly the “message” would be that they want MORE of what the Republican Party has offered the past few years. That would be, in no particular order: shutting down the government, threatening to default on the national debt, refusing to compromise on anything, working 24/7 to make President Obama “fail,” opposing anything proposed by Dems even if they were originally Republican/conservative ideas (e.g., cap and trade, Obamacare – formerly known as “Romneycare” or the 1993/94 “Republican alternative to Hillarycare”), denying science, trying to trash the environment, letting our infrastructure fall apart by not funding it, refusing to invest in America, refusing to compromise on ways to reduce the deficit/debt, imposing “brain-dead” (in Warner’s own words) sequestration on the country, etc.

3. Warner only won this election by 16,000 votes, with historically low turnout of 37% in Virginia. Thus, to the extent “voters” sent a message, it’s by a margin of under 1% of the 37% who showed up to vote. Last I checked, 1% of 37% was 0.37%. And if Ed Gillespie had gotten 16,001 more votes, what would the message from “voters” have been exactly? Totally different, or just 0.37% different, or what? Got me.

4. Of course, this is coming from the same guy who seriously believes that “the middle” is always the right answer. Let’s try this like we’re in math class. The “middle” of 0 and 10 is…yep, 5. the “middle” of 0 and 100 is…yep, 50. The “middle” of 0 and 1,000 is…yep, 500. Are those all the same answers? Obviously, not. Yet, according to Warner, they are all, by definition, the correct answers, because they are the “middle.” And while that might be true mathematically, it’s utterly nonsensical when it comes to society, politics, etc. Thus, if the correct answer used to be an exactly “middle” compromise between Dems at zero and Republicans at 10 (thus, 5 was the correct policy answer), after Republicans lurch to the far right, is 50 or 500 the correct policy answer, by definition? Does any of this make any sense whatsoever, other than being a political shtick Mark Warner has used for years now? If so, I can’t figure it out, any more than Warner could in 2008 when I asked him three times, in different ways, to explain what “radical centrism” was exactly. No answer.

5. The bottom line is that a Congress filled with more people like Joni Ernst, Cory Gardner, Barbara Comstock, and Dave Brat is most certainly NOT more likely to get anything good done for the American people. Now, it IS more likely to get some seriously horrendous s*** done (just look at the winning Republican candidates’ platforms – it’s a nightmare of climate science denial, personhood, tax cuts for the rich, taking healthcare away from people, you name it). Given that, I’d say the best we can hope for is that Congress does NOT get stuff done, other than the basic functions of government, over the next two years. Because if it does, it will only be bad for America, for the middle class, for working people, for the environment, you name it. No thanks.

  • ir003436

    Wasn’t it that guy in Texas who said the only thing in the middle of the road is a yellow line and a dead armadillo??

    So much for the middle.

  • Jim B

    Seems to me a lot of old white folks voted republican because that is what they believe they are and against that black guy in the white house. Also don’t believe they really care if conservative policies fail because they just want to beat democrats. If Warner continues to be republican lite it will be the end of the road. Guess all of us suckers that did vote for Warner ended up being just like the republicans, we voted for the democrat. So what do we democrats do if we get candidates like Warner? Having said all that it still boils down to most likely the worst democrat would still be a better bargain than any of today’s republicans.

  • AnonymousIsAWoman

    I would still vote for Warner in a general election because it’s still a vote for Democratic leadership, as opposed to a Republican leadership that controls the agenda and decides what comes up for a vote.

    Warner will go off and try to make his little unholy deals with Bob Corker — one of the most anti-labor Republicans in the Senate — to end the debt by cutting Social Security benefits for vulnerable seniors. But those deals could have been blocked from coming to a vote if we had a strong, progressive Democratic leadership in the Senate.

    So, that is how I justify my vote  given no other choice in Virginia currently.

    But I expected Mark to get the wrong message and he did. I hope others get it right though.

    I am not by nature an obstructionist. I think it’s reprehensible to implement a strategy to make the president fail in order to get back in power, regardless of which side does it. To make the president fail, you have to make America a failed country.

    That said, I don’t think Democrats should cave in to bad ideas without a strong, spirited fight. It’s one thing to obstruct for obstruction’s sake. It’s another to capitulate to every bad idea the Republicans bring up. The only metric should be whether a particular piece of legislation actually benefits America’s middle class, its working people, its women, students and minorities, and its small businesses. Democrats should vote against legislation that favors large corporations and Wall Street at the expense of ordinary people. They should vote against legislation that weakens the EPA and leads to further environmental degradation, pollution, and climate change. And yes they should vote against Keystone XL.

    In short, Democrats should compromise when they can on legislation that benefits the country. But they should fight against any bill that would harm us and articulate exactly why they are opposing it.

    Compromise for its own sake is as bad as obstruction for its own sake is. We need to take the higher ground and be a principled opposition, but a reasonable one. That is being a real moderate. Not some unthinking slogan about radical centrism.

  • hrprogressive

    Hoping after the poor campaign and these kinds of myopic statements that Warner retires early, or doesn’t seek re-election for 2020.

    We can do better, if this is what he’s going to give us.

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    The election results, albeit from a reduced, older, mostly white electorate, certainly contained some mixed messages. Personhood bills were rejected in referenda in Colorado and North Dakota, hardly bastions of liberalism. A minimum wage increase was voted for in Alaska, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska, all blood-red states. (Democrats failed big time by not supporting in their campaigns an increase in the minimum wage.) Laws were passed to either legalize the sale of marijuana or the reduce the penalties for possession in Oregon, Washington D.C., Maine, New Mexico, California, New Jersey, and Alaska.

    At the same time, voters elected people so conservative that they support the opposite of what the referenda showed. Politics in 2014. Nonsensical.