NASHVILLE, TN – The votes are still being counted in Alaska and although Biden won the White House, the Democrats are making excuses and blaming each other for their poor showing in other 2020 races up and down the line.
The polls were wrong. Again. There was no blue wave. There wasn’t even a higher blue tide. There will be no democratic supermajority in Congress and that will make governing very difficult.
The Democrats were lucky to hold onto the House and the final make up of the Senate will not be decided until January 5, 2021 by a special election in Georgia.
What happened depends on whom you talk to. Establishment Democrats like Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), blame the Squad and other progressive candidates for being too far left and losing to more attractive Republicans.
Although that theory is promoted by mainstream media outlets and moderate Republicans like former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who claimed the far left almost cost Biden the election, that’s not why Democrats didn’t do better.
“Simply put, the Green New Deal is not a political loser,” wrote Journalist Brian Kahn in Earther recently.
Kahn identified four House co-sponsors of the Green New Deal in districts “slightly Democratic to moderately Republican”, according to the Cook Political Report. They all won reelection easily. In fact, the reelection rate for representatives who co-sponsored the Green New Deal resolution was nearly 100%, with 92 out of those 93 congressional members retaining their seat. Biden didn’t endorse the Green New Deal.
“Representatives who have sponsored and voted for progressive policies were not punished by voters,” Kahn said.
Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) pointed out that every single congressional member who ran for reelection this year as a supporter of Medicare for All won their race. Biden didn’t support Medicare For All.
A more grounded view that explains why the Democrats did poorly despite historic voter turnout is that the party didn’t endorse policies most voters want and didn’t have nearly as good a ground game as the Republicans.
Biden did not do very well with Latino voters in the Rio Grande Valley, for example, who went heavily for Trump. As we reported if you want Latino votes, you have to go get them. (see https://tntribune.com/minority-voters-took-trump-down/)
Mike Siegal, a progressive congressional candidate in Houston, Texas, did go out to get them. He didn’t lose because of his progressive message or because he didn’t raise enough money, but because the Democratic primary field was crowded and his district is gerrymandered to favor Republicans. The Republicans simply got more people out to vote.
“We got the win number for the highest turnout model. And we still lost by over 20,000 votes. It’s like all the Republicans came out. They really — they wanted to protect their guy,” Siegel said.
“The Trumpsters showed their ferocious energy for wannabe, ego-obsessed, dictatorial Donald with more rallies, signs, and door-to-door contacts. The Democrats misread the faulty polls again thinking that the projected huge turnouts were primarily their voters and not also the Trump voters who turned out in greater numbers as well,” said Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader.
Biden got the most votes for President in U.S. history. But Donald Trump got 70 million votes and holds the runner-up spot.
Nader noted that the Democrats did not flip a single Republican state legislature “leaving the GOP to again gerrymander Congressional and state legislative districts for the next decade,” he wrote.
Nader blamed Senator Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the party’s bad showing.
“Loaded with nearly twice as much money as the Republican Party, the Democratic Party showed that weak candidates with no robust agendas for people where they live, work, and raise their families, is a losing formula. And lose they did against the worst, cruelest, ignorant, lawbreaking, reality-denying GOP in its 166-year history,” Nader said.
Why didn’t the Democrats put the COVID-19 stimulus and relief bill “out front and center”? Why didn’t they campaign for Medicare for All when 70% of Americans want it? Why didn’t they talk about the upgrading of schools, clinics, roads, mass transit systems, waterworks with good paying jobs that would be paid for by repealing Trump’s corporate tax cuts?
All good questions that beg a disturbing answer: the base of the Democratic Party is way ahead of its leaders and the DNC better do a brutal post mortem of their own missteps and stop sabotaging party progressives or they will lose the next election because the Trumpsters aren’t going anywhere.