In no particular order:
- While I wanted a decisive win election night, the only unpredicted Republican pickup is NE-02 (
I thinkDemocrats won the electoral college vote, but failed to pick up the House seat), which would be nice to have, isn’t essential. At the presidential level, things are still in good shape–Fulton County, GA hasn’t counted absentee ballots yet, so even that’s in play (and I don’t think we’ll win GA, but still hoping we do).
- The Senate is looking harder, and that’s disappointing. $84 million was spent on Amy McGrath, and most left-ish types–correctly–thought she had no chance to win. She was crushed. Imagine if a few of those millions had found their way to other candidates. We need to stop nominating people who have lost elections, and start nominating winners. If Democrats don’t win back the Senate, nothing will happen.
- Florida is disturbing, but not because I thought we could have won it (I didn’t think that). Biden was outperformed by a $15/hour minimum wage bill. What’s especially galling about that is that Biden’s most progressive economic position is arguably his support of a $15/hour minimum wage (and it includes no tipped minimum wage). I think he needed to discuss this more, or at least, fucking mention it.
- In some senses not much has changed. Democrats are still a coalition of college-educated people and existentially threatened non-college educated people. It will probably be enough to win the presidency, but it’s not really working down ballot in a lot of places, given the realities of who is allowed to vote in the U.S.
- What we’re seeing is the effect of purging, a soft purge, but a purge nonetheless, of what used to be called liberal Democrats from the party, especially among the younger Boomer and GenX cohorts. Because of that, Democrats still are unable to win back ‘New Deal’ Democrats. The Democratic Party leadership doesn’t have an instinctive feel for this.
Related to this, I don’t think Sanders would be doing any better, but someone with Sanders’ policy positions who also is considered to be a Democrat ‘in good standing’ would be (full disclosure: I voted for Sanders in both primaries). The problem is that there isn’t anyone like that under 65 who can win a primary due to the soft purge.
- It’s also clear that too many Democrats still haven’t learned an important lesson about 2016: there are (or could be anyway) a large number of anti-Black bigots who still vote Democratic in spite of and in opposition to their bigotry, and they are an important part of the Democratic coalition (and always have been). Figure out how to win more of these voters without being bigoted, because we’re already able to do this.
- Related to the above, professional Democrats need to be drawn and quartered. They need to focus less on turning campaigns into morality contests, and instead focus on what the candidates will do to make people’s lives better. The upper-middle/gentry class myopia makes it hard for Democrats to win. Yes, getting upper middle class people matters, but we also need working class voters to show up and vote (and note I didn’t say white working class).
- To follow on a bit more, the Democratic Party is a very weak institution; it is poorly led and has serious structural problems. This has led Democrats in a hole they dug themselves long before 2016 (and 2020), and it’s going to take a long time to get back out. One way to do this is to diversify the party because that is a ‘backdoor’ for getting candidates who can embrace some New Deal Democratic themes.
- The failure to go after Trump’s–and the Republican Party’s–corruption in a coherent manner was debilitating (Rep. Richard Neal is garbage).
- It’s not something I’ve written about recently, but Democrats have to figure out how to communicate to purplish regions. Fox and Sinclair News can’t be a filter through which Democrats are viewed for significant swathes of the country.
- On a more minor note, I think voting should go to 11pm, and vote counting shouldn’t start until the next day. It would be far more sane that way.
Right now, I’m really worried about the Senate.
Settle in for a long slog.
A year or two ago I saw Biden on TV giving an impassioned speech about the issues confronting workers, workers who would have been middle class a few decades ago. I didn’t think that he would be the Democratic candidate for president, but I thought he should be out stumping. He was the only Democratic candidate I had heard in a long time who was passionate about working people. Trump is a faux populist, and Republican politicians give lip service to workers, and Democratic politicians do, too. They nearly all care more about their donors than about ordinary people.
Early this morning I heard some pundit say that the Democrats need to work on their “messaging”. It seems to me they need to work more on their doing.
Democrats keep blowing all their good will with the lower classes by talking about reparations for slavery and prioritizing trans women over regular women, instead of hammering on healthcare and personal dignity and rights for sick and disabled Americans.
When it comes to turning out voters; affordable insulin, good. People with testicles on the girls’ track team, bad.
Giving out money to descendants of slaves (and slaveholders) from 150 years ago is not something that’s going to play well with the proletariat. These things should be obvious to anyone who’s ever like, spoken to an adult from the lower or lower middle classes, but apparently isn’t.
Making stuff like this into platform planks is a really bad idea if you want to win elections.
Biden was outperformed by a $15/hour minimum wage bill.
I think he needed to discuss this more, or at least, fucking mention it.
hahahahahaha, i love being a floridian!
on a more serious note, i can NOT tell you how many conversations i have had with local and state democratic party operative over how much the local bigoted, gun-crazy, religious zealots in my part of this paradise abso-fucking-lutely love new-deal-type policies (and they do, i’m not being sarcastic on that point). the sticking point is that while they would like to have the benefits of liberal policies (mostly only for themselves and not for black, brown, female, or gay people), liberals have cooties and cooties are contagious and you will burn in hell for eternity if you catch liberal cooties.
on an even more serious note, as rabidly as i have been following national politics over the past decade or so, i did not know that biden actually supported a $15 minimum wage until i read it here just now.
as for the anti-black bigots who are part of the democratic coalition, you are absolutely correct, but i don’t think you (or any of the northern-liberal-type democrats, not just you particularly) understand just how many of the economic populists you need to team up with are really and truly die-hard right-wing haters on all the other issues. y’all (northern-type democrats) really are only a small portion of the electorate, and the population.
i don’t ever agree with ian welsh 100% on anything, but i have always found this to be a useful framework and starting point – https://www.ianwelsh.net/ideologies-have-overlap/