The Dust Has Settled On Tuesday’s Elections
Having posted about how I don’t pay too much attention to primary results as they relate to the general election and “national trends”. But I still read the stuff and ponder it, so I found this from Al Giordano who is becoming one of my favorite reads. From The Field…(emphasis mine)
Most of the races on the ballot yesterday were primaries and in that context political outsiders out-organized the insiders within both major parties. The only contest to test whether climate change has come to the Democrat-vs.-Republican rivalry happened in Pennsylvania’s Congressional District number 12, in a special election to replace the late US Rep. Jack Murtha, a conservative Democrat. How great was the supposed “anti-establishment” tide that the media has been crowing about? The winner was Murtha’s longtime Congressional aide named Mark Critz...
…And yesterday the Democrat got 53 percent of the vote, a comfortable margin of victory, in this supposedly “anti-incumbent” year even though Critz was the closest thing to an incumbent in the contest. His victory underscores that when it comes to US House elections – fantasies of the activists of left and right aside – “the issues” and ideology are secondary criteria for most voters. Most Americans look at their representative in Congress and think “what can he do for me?” They want to know that their US Rep. can “deliver for the locals.” Critz was accurately seen as the one who could pull the strings for the district precisely because he had Congressional staff experience. The “anti-incumbent” revolution predicted from all quarters did not materialize in Western Pennsylvania. The proper reading of yesterday’s result in fact brings the opposite conclusion: Incumbents who do the grunt work of constituent services will mostly survive in November.
People vote for candidates not for some media created narrative as if they are mindless drones. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there are many mindless drones out there but I also believe that the way to win elections is to run good candidates who are in tune with their local population. If either candidate is perceived as out of touch with the local folks, it lowers their chance of pulling off a win. More from Al…
Tuesday’s results screw with the narratives imposed by many players on the political stage, and not just Gingrich’s. White, college educated, progressive activists have invested heavily in a harmonious argument with that of the tea partiers of the right. The portrait they paint is that President Obama isn’t satisfying “the base” enough, not being “progressive” enough, and that therefore ideological voters on the left will stay home and Republicans will conquer the upcoming midterm elections. It is often said as a threat: Do what I say or you will lose because “we” will sit on our hands. It’s tiresome not merely because it is boorish and an act of aspiring bullydom, but also because those who shout it don’t really have enough of a “we” behind them to make good on those threats, and most of that “we” doesn’t knock on doors or volunteer on phone banks or organize communities. They are aspiring generals with blogosphere accounts, but without armies.
Rather, the tea-baggers and fire-baggers alike are merely trying to get out in front of a normal trend in midterm elections: the party in the White House usually loses an average of twenty seats in the House and three in the Senate. They simply want to set up the bowling pins to be able to crow credit if and when the ball knocks some of them down. For careful watchers of US politics, their gambit is superficial and transparent, one aimed only at the most gullible among us.
See now Al is a man after my heart, referring to the fire-baggers. :) His point about progressives threatening to stay home, I have to wonder exactly how many democrats are so pouty and would really go against their own best interests by helping Republicans get elected. Do the “fire-baggers” really think that democrats want to elect a right-wing nutball who will ruin our country some more, start some more unnecessary wars, give tax cuts to their rich buddies, gut regulations that end up causing disasters, torture people, spy on their own citizens and drive the country into a ditch again. I don’t think so, Homey don’t play that. Some more Al Giordano…
Many still don’t grasp that in 2008, everything changed in US politics, which is increasingly fought on the ground with the methods of community organizing. That’s what explains the high Democratic turnout yesterday and the bellwether district in Pennsylvania remaining blue. And that – and not ideological tantrums on the Internets – will write the history of November 2010. Seems like the grownups are still at the driver’s wheel and, once again, the Chicken Littles were wrong. And that is of course, old news and history repeating itself again. How many times have I written this story? How many more will I have to pen? Oh well, at least we get to use images of that cute little feathered guy again.
“Ideological tantrums”, love it. Go look at the cute little feathered guy at Al’s blog, The Field.