The Democratic Rank-and-File: Still Demobilized and Definitely Not ‘Viral’

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.

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3 Responses to The Democratic Rank-and-File: Still Demobilized and Definitely Not ‘Viral’

  1. david says:

    Little comment needed here. Don’t agree with Welsh’s analysis, because this scenario is based on news depictions from such as Fox, AP, Reuters, Yahoo, CNN, all biased to the right, confirmed by analysis, by comparison with tabloids, by reports of how “journalism” is taught.
    There’s another scenario that could give a rip what the news is or how it is expressed but has a view of reality around it, out the door, and out the window. In media it can be found in the cartoons of Ted Rall and Matt Bors, and sometimes in Doonesbury. It is not found in news stories or headlines.
    Whether the people in the real scenario will vote is the task of Obama team. I think they are onto it, quite competent, more so than the media which is incompetent to cover in depth and duration.
    I consider myself in the rank and file. Timing is important. I think you will see the riposte of the Dems pick up about now. AP and Reuters will catch on only slowly, like cold molasses (for you, scientist, not bad compared to asphalt and glass).
    To pick up your spirits, I would point out that the Dems are not going to lose congress. Or at least the chances are minuscule. That’s my opinion and others’ such as Nate Silver and the guys who study polls.
    [Harry Truman was asked a smartass question by a young man in the audience, it was a question going around and Harry gave a vigorous answer in putting him down. Afterward he had his aides go and collect the young man so he could talk to him. He explained to oral history that it was because he was president, that being rebuked by the president was not the same as other rebukes, and he did not want the young man hurt.
    No matter who the Pres is, he is in this position. It’s the majority position.
    The situation can be expressed rather simply. For the reason that a black man has been elected Pres of the U.S. some people think something is wrong with the country. “Some people” includes Rupert Murdoch and all the old Ronald Reagan admirers such as GWBush and the head of the Texas school board.
    But that group is a minority in the nation as a whole, and demographics makes them more minor.]

  2. BaldApe says:

    It’s hard to say which party will self destruct first. The Dems can’t seem to call the Republicans on their outright lies; they let them fester until they are regarded as true. But the Republicans are kicking out their most successful and solidly conservative members as “too liberal.”

  3. No matter who the pres is he just needs to be a straight guy, but whatever he could get his teeth into to good for me.

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