Home 2014 Races For any Democrat delusional enough to think Tuesday wasn’t a disaster

For any Democrat delusional enough to think Tuesday wasn’t a disaster


I’ve actually seen a couple high-ranking Virginia Democrats argue that Tuesday wasn’t so bad, that to say it was a disaster is an overreaction or whatever. For instance, DPVA Chair Dwight Jones sent out a Panglossian email which actually asserted, with no apparent irony or self awareness, “Today is a good day for Virginia Democrats” (in what conceivable universe, parallel or otherwise, would that be the case?!?), that we had “so many great races and Democrats made the party proud, regardless of the outcome” (uhhh…examples of “great races” please?) and that “as we saw in our races, when the party is able to effectively communicate with its base, Democrats win” (actually, what we saw was the opposite – when Democrats disrespect/ignore the base, run away from/fail to tout their own accomplishments, adopt Republican framing, offer no comprehensive econoimc vision for the future, play the false equivalency/”both sides” game, etc., etc, they get their butts kicked). To this utterly delusional “thinking,” I present this article.

A couple choice quotes:

*”The more serious problem for Democrats is the drubbing they’ve taken in the states, the breeding ground for future national talent and for policy experimentation. Republicans have unified control – the governorship and the legislature – in 23 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Democrats control just seven. Democrats hold 18 governorships, but only a handful are in the most populous states.”

*”Without prominent statewide elected leaders, Democrats are in danger of seeing their state party structures atrophy. This has happened in Texas over the past two decades, ever since Republicans seized control of the politics of the state.”

Think about it, both nationally and right here in Virginia. For instance, in 2009 and 2011, Virginia Democrats were wiped out in the House of Delegates, dropping from 44 to 32 seats, and losing a bunch of really good people (e.g., Margie Vanderhye lost to…yep, Barbara Comstock; Chuck Caputo lost to Jim LeMunyon; Joe Bouchard lost to Chris Stolle). Today, we remain basically decimated in the House of Delegates, while Republicans like Barbara Comstock are on their way to Congress. ugh. In 2010, we lost rising star Tom Perriello. In 2013, we managed to pick up a net of ZERO House of Delegates seats, again leaving us decimated in that chamber. So much for our “farm team.” Same thing nationally, sad to say. So how was this past Tuesday anything but an unmitigated disaster? Got me.

  • on Tuesday. They’d better figure this out and fix it.

  • DCCyclone

    …for us in Virginia, the election calendar that usually hurts us by segregating state and local races from federal, in this instance helped us.

    Can you imagine if Gov, LG, and AG were up this past Tuesday?  Obenshain would’ve romped, Cuccinelli would’ve won, and even Jackson had a real shot to knock off Northam.  And we would’ve actually lost seats in the House of Delegates instead of a net gain of one.

    We usually lament having those state races segregated because we suffer a disproportionate turnout drop compared to the Republicans.

    But this time, the turnout drop for once came in the federal year…and yet the gerrymandering and Mark Warner’s big lead as a starting point combined to save us!  We had no net losses here at all……in not many states can Democrats say that.

    So there’s your silver lining.

    For the country as a whole, we still have the Presidency, and the consequences of this bad election are less lasting than you think.  The swing voters who really decide elections give a 2-year rental, nothing more.  And state parties recover even without holding the executive or a Senate seat if the voters are sufficiently closely divided.  That’s all it really takes, just an electorate that can be won, and you get a Senator or a Governor to serve as the titular state party head soon enough.

    I’m 46 and have lived through so many elections as an active Democrat, and have seen so many bad elections like this.  And yet we always recover, usually quickly, because candidates and campaigns and state parties are subordinate in importance to voters simply wanting an alternative to the Republicans and knowing and respecting from their own long observation what Democrats can accomplish at our best.

    Buck up, shake it off.

  • hrprogressive

    Is as awful a day for “Virginia Democrats” as any other.

    Do you know how many prominent ones I could name, right now?

    McAullife, Northam, Herring, Warner, Kaine, Bobby Scott, Creigh Deeds, Scott Surovell, Dick Saslaw (gag), Gerry Connolly, Jim Moran, and…..?

    Three of those men hold statewide elected office, two are US Senator, three are US Congressmen, and then the remaining three are decently known Democratic politicians in the state, right now.

    It would probably not take me very long to rattle off a list of prominent Republicans, either currently in office or recently out of office, for this state.

    Now, I’ll admit, I am not as “Plugged In” to Virginia politics as some of the citizens of this blog…I follow national politics a lot more closely, with the exceptions of my very own local races and obviously Governor/LT/AG races.

    That’s pretty sad, isn’t it? Really pretty sad.

  • pvogel

    But        the    darkest  part of the day is just before the  dawn.

  • Quizzical

    It seems like it was more like a failure of campaigning/marketing rather than the voters choosing a Republican policy agenda over a Democratic one.

    I wonder about the degree to which current events swayed the mid-term elections, such as Ebola, Isil, children being sent across the border, Uraine, etc.  It doesn’t seem like such events should have been that important, since such events are outside of the control of the politicians being elected; but I can’t help wondering about how things might have been different if Duncan hadn’t traveled to Dallas while infected with Ebola.

    And now after the election, the pendulum of current event is swinging the other way, e.g., Ebola no longer in the news as much, ISIL’s leader critically injured in an airstrike, the stock market at an all time high, Loretta Lynch being named as Eric Holder’s successor, job numbers up again, and I am thinking, tell me again what’s wrong with President Obama?

    I am also wondering to what degree the new media was manipulated in the approach to the election, or whether the Republicans were simply better or more unscrupulous at taking advantage of the opportunities that chance current events threw their way. When the Democrats wanted to “localize” the mid-terms, what was it that allowed the Republicans to so easily turn them into a “referendum on Obama”, and why did we lose that referendum.  And the answer doesn’t seem to be anything done in local elections or even statewide campaigning, but in the management of national ad campaigns and national public and press relations


  • Seriously?!?

    “When you start governing, there is a tendency sometimes, for me, to start thinking, ‘As long as I get the policy right, then that’s what should matter,'” Obama said, according to a transcript.

    Except for one thing: time and again (the latest, disastrous example being immigration), the Obama administration has been FAR more concerned about POLITICS than about getting the policy right. It’s not just the Obama team either, it’s many other “villagers” who think this way. Let me sum it up for them: It. Doesn’t. Work.

  • Quizzical

    I became curious what happened to Tom Perriello.  Turns out he is working on a commission at the Department of State.  http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/b

    After losing re-election to Congress, he was President of the Center for American Progress. I have no idea what his future plans are, of course, but it appears that he has not lost interest in public policy or public service.  So while he lost reelection to Congress, I’m hopeful that we have not lost Tom Perriello.