A member of Team Blue, and still in the dumps and frustrated over the smack down election results of a few weeks ago? I get it: we blew it, beyond belief.
A giddy member of Team Red, ecstatic over the election results? I get it, congratulations; but read on, my Republican friends.
In 2008, I heard Barack Obama in person for the first time, in Austin, Texas, during the primaries. He and Hilary had debated the night before, on February 21st, and I thought he was long gone. But when we got out of the taxi in the middle of the city after having dinner a ways out, we could hear a voice from a loudspeaker bouncing off the buildings. "I think that’s Barack Obama" I exclaimed, walking toward the sound. Our gait quickened, and before we knew it, we were on the outer rim of a crowd of 15,000 people at rapt attention listening to a guy who was, well let’s face it, full of hope and change.
The next day I decided to return from self-exile and become very emotionally invested in the outcomes of political elections. Since then, 90% of my financial support and involvement has been about protecting the Ultimate Firewall, and keeping the presidency of the United States in the blue column. That part at least has been quite a rewarding ride, as it’s turned out.
As far as the elections downstream – in statehouses, the U.S. House and Senate – are concerned ? Well, from a Dem’s perspective, it’s been pretty much of a disaster. Why that’s been such a debacle is the subject of a different blog post to be written later, and involves a historical review of my observations over the past six years, some quite close up I might add, that confirmed that key advisors Jim Messina, the David’s Plouffe, Axelrod and Simas, and Valerie Jarrett just didn’t give a hoot about anything really other than maintaining a laser beam focus on getting their guy elected, and then re-elected. We’ve paid a dear price down ticket because of that myopic strategy, juxtaposed to how really smart the Red Team played the game. Again, more on that some other time.
But for this post, the objective is to provide some encouragement to my fellow Dems that things will be just fine in 2016 with regards to keeping the Ultimate Firewall in good hands (you know, with a President that embraces science, and doesn’t get caught up in batshit crazy conspiracy theories, and doesn’t threaten to pick up his marbles and shut down the government every time he or she doesn’t get his way).
Keep these eight things top of mind these next couple of years and you’ll sleep a whole lot better (or worse, depending):
1. The Blue Wall are the states that no Republican Presidential candidate has a chance of winning. All that hand-wringing in October 2012 about Pennsylvania or Wisconsin going Red was a complete cluster by the likes of Scott Rasmussen and Dick Morris and the echo chamber at Fox News. It won’t happen, for the reasons listed below. Here’s the map. The Blue Wall is at 257 out of the 270 to win. Virginia, with 13 electoral votes, is heading in such a blue direction these past two presidential elections that I should almost make it part of the Blue Wall, but I won’t. When the Dems win Virginia, it’s all over. Even without Virginia, if Dems win just ONE of the following states - Ohio, Florida or North Carolina - it’s all game, set, match:
And even beyond those scenarios, there are other combinations that get to 270: any two of these three states: Colorado, Iowa and Missouri. The possibilities are not endless, but many.
2. Voter turnout was incredibly low this past mid-term election. Just awful. It is an apples to oranges comparison to compare a mid-term election with Presidential election years. Don’t make it out to be bigger than it is.
3. This past election, Republican Senate candidates lost in EVERY SINGLE RACE IN THE BLUE WALL.
4. Social issues favoring the Democratic platform did very well in ballot initiatives. The country is moving ever so slightly left in almost all parts of the country other than the former Confederacy. Look at gay marriage. Look at the legalization of pot. Look at immigration. Changing demographics are accelerating this shift. Make no question - Red states have gotten MUCH MORE RED. By the way, I put West Virginia in this group. And those on the far right are so hysterical, so paranoid, so shrill, and have such a strong magnifying force called FoxNews, that they appear to be bigger than they are.
Remember, Republicans wins for the most part are in a declining electoral base of aging, white and rural voters. This is sort of their last hurrah. They are not going down without a fight. They are cranky as hell. And they did a great job this past mid-term scaring the shit out of their base.
But Purple states are getting more Blue, with the possible exceptions of Iowa and North Carolina. And Blue states are getting darker Blue.
5. The Blue Wall, as a whole, is where most of the smart people live, where the best colleges are, where the healthiest people live, where the best healthcare is, where most of the startups and ‘unicorns’ reside, where the overwhelming amount of the country’s wealth is generated outside of the energy industry. It’s a very powerful force in a Presidential election year.
6. With the Republicans continuing to tilt right, their focus will be on, as GOP strategist Chris Ladd outlines, “climate denial, theocracy, thinly veiled racism, paranoia and Benghazi hearings.” Add impeachment talk and government shutdowns to the hysteria. Ronald Reagan must be turning in his grave.
Make no mistake: Moderate Republican governing could be winning the day. Conservative fiscal management, emphasis on personal responsibility, middle-of-the-road positions on social issues - this appeals BIG TIME to the 10% of the voters who are 'undecided’ Independents and who often decide an election in a Purple state.
But as long as FoxNews is around, that’s just not going to happen. If I’ve learned one thing over the past six years, it’s that BSC (bat shit crazy) begets more BSC. Scaring the shit out of people and whipping up 'hate’ and animosity and the 'us vs. them’ dynamic works, and FoxNews is not about to give up that winning formula.
If I was a moderate Republican, I’d be going nuts heading into 2016. A shift in tack would make a HUGE difference, but there is nothing that is going to stop the BSC Movement; it’s unstoppable. They can’t help themselves.
7. While there is some legitimate concern about how President Obama’s executive order on immigration will play out, remember it will play out GREAT in purple states in 2016, many that have a disproportionate number of immigrants. With so many BSC new Senators and Congressman taking the oath of office next January, there is no way Republicans can make this a winning issue for them. It’s just not going to happen.
8. The severity of the smack down this last election cycle is actually a good thing for 2016 Blue GOTV. Team Blue is pissed; there is a lot of hand-wringing going on in a lot of Democratic circles wondering WTF. They’ll be fired up next election cycle.