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Posted on Nov 5, 2014 in Congress, Elections-U.S., Obamacare, President Obama, Public Opinion Polls | 1 comment

Election results-preliminary thoughts on the huge Republican victory.

It was a shellacking, no two ways about it. The Republican gains in both houses of Congress weren’t even as dominant as their gains in the Chief Executive positions across most of the country. It was so bad that even such a Democratic stronghold as Massachusetts elected a Republican Governor.

Sure, off-year elections are usually dominated by local issues. But this time the Republican made every race a referendum on President Obama. Exit polls showed low approval ratings on Obama, and of those who gave him low marks, the vast majority voted Republican. Naturally those who identified themselves as Republicans voted more Republican than those who identified themselves as Democrats. But, a sizable number of Democrats who gave President Obama low marks deserted the party’s top-of-the-ticket candidates, and many independents who did broke overwhelmingly for the Republicans.

These results shouldn’t be surprising to liberals. The Democratic Party had no consistent message, and there was a good message to be given: our economy is the strongest in the world, the dollar is very strong, the stock market is at an all-time high and getting better, even in the face of a European recession, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created, and unemployment, though still to high, has been on a steady decline. And it would have been better save for obstructionism by the Republicans in Congress. And yes, Obamacare, even though in its early stages of implementation, has benefited millions of Americans already by not allowing their insurance policies to be canceled because of a prior medical condition and already thirty million, formerly uncovered Americans now have health insurance. And it a time of epidemics such as Ebola, this is essential for every American’s health.

Democrats failed in their chance to improve the poll numbers for both Obama and Obamacare, and this left the field wide open to Republican attack, undefended, and with the catastrophic results we saw from yesterday’s election. Some races were so close that this almost certainly could have made the difference for Democrats. It is axiomatic in politics that if you don’t use the power you have, you will lose it. President Obama, himself, failed to use the President’s abundant powers too often. In his first term, Obama had a Democratic majority in Congress and the power that goes with a large Presidential victory and yet he deferred setting the agenda to Congress. So it is not enough to blame the Republicans obstructionism for all of the gridlock.

The Democrats still had a lot of accomplishments in a most difficult time, but they failed to come up with a unified message, so important in these days of mass media.  From my perspective, most Democratic candidates for high office played not to lose rather than play to win.

1 Comment

  1. I agree with a lot of what you say. From the time Obama was first elected in 2004 I have been frustrated by how quick liberals and Democrats have been to criticize and undermine him. Progressives do not do a good job of pulling together. I wish we could learn that carping at Obama leads to power being handed over to leaders we like much less than Obama. We need to learn how to support our progressive leaders and not judge them because they do not match our ideals in every single way. Obama has done a great job in many ways in my opinion and I am surprised how much people who share my progressive politics criticize him. Lea D.

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