And demoralized too. Ian Welsh:
…for most of a year, everyone’s energy was completely sucked into the never-ending health care debate, and many progressives regarded how it ended up as a demoralizing defeat, a defeat made worse by the fact that it was a betrayal from what many thought was “our own side”.
There’s a massive trust issue. Many readers have a hard time believing in candidates any more, especially after the way so many “progressive heroes” have repeatedly caved in the last year.
Betrayal has consequences. New candidates may not have betrayed anyone, but the people whose footsteps they’re following in did.
I am unsure how to fix this. It seems virtually no one in DC on the Progressive side can be trusted to stand up to heavy pressure (or perhaps to mean what they say, not sure which it was). Don’t know why, but it is the case….
Some folks are trying to fix this by saying “look at all the good things Obama and this Congress have done” or “really, the Health Care bill is still better than nothing”, but the hard core progressives, who are a significant chunk the people who give, who volunteer and who are willing to be massively enthusiastic, well, they aren’t buying it. They were promised better on any number of issues (bank reform, healthcare, gay rights, abortion, etc…) and having been repeatedly betrayed (as they see it, and I agree) they find it hard to care.
So, honestly, if people want the progressive money and enthusiasm machine revved back up, I suggest they find a way to get some high profile wins, or they go down really visibly swinging on some issue in a way that doesn’t look like Kabuki.
A while ago, I described how the demobilizing the rank and file would hurt the viral marketing of the Democratic Party:
…a dispirited rank-and-file member might vote for you, but do little else. They won’t argue on your behalf when talking with friends and neighbors. Hell, they might even join in with a new line of attack–think of it as a ‘bipartisan consensus’ that Candidate X is an asshole. Likewise, they won’t encourage others to support–both by voting and donating–to friends and neighbors. The ‘buzz’ will be quite muted, or even, overall, negative, particularly if the opposition smells blood.
In a district that usually has overwhelming blowouts, this won’t matter. Even if people are upset with Pelosi or Durbin, for example, these Democrats aren’t going to lose their seats. Sure, the results might be closer than they thought they would be, but they’re not getting booted out of office. It’s the Democrats who win by small margins, in districts that typically don’t strongly trend Democratic who will be in trouble: at the margins, everything matters.
I still can’t comprehend why the Conservadems–who are usually the most vulnerable–would, in off year elections, piss off the rank and file.
Dumber than a sack of hammers.