The airwaves are thick with analysis of the story written by Rove, that other Karl, and his band of electoral wizards. Here are a few immediate observations.
1. The vote reflects a resounding thumping of the existing Democratic Party, its approach to governing and its ability to communicate the value of its leadership. The wins eked out do not disprove this fact, they only accentuate it by showing that it was possible to win, if the party leadership had been more effective.
2. From President Obama to Harry Reid, from Nancy Pelosi to Tim Kaine, from the Democratic Governors Association to the DSCC, Democrats lost because they are seen as out of touch with people’s real concerns, they have been terrible communicators and pretty weak organizers. Where they won, the local candidate mounted a tough fight with a local organization — the party leadership had little to offer.
3. It is moronic to commit to bipartisanship as a strategy (as Harry Reid did today). They have learned nothing in defeat much less in victory. Power will not be yielded by those who won on November 2nd. They will wield it viciously to undo as much of what happened in the last two years as possible, and to reward their corporate paycheck issuers.
4. National Exit Poll Data (available at CNN.com) shows some interesting trends about GLB voters and voters by income,race, gender and age.
a. Among these is the fact that a significant number of GLB people do not vote their own interests. In this election, significant GLB support went to the more anti-LGBT party, and to worse candidates. For example, Log Cabin Republicans endorsed the opponent of Patrick Murphy (Congressman from PA who lost). Murphy was one of the strongest supporters of repealing DADT in Congress.
- 3% of the 17,504 people polled in the CNN poll self-identified as GLB — a number consistent with self-reporting in prior elections, but lower than some (like the nearly 4% who self-identified as GLB in the 1992 election and even more in 1998).
- Of these, 30% voted Republican, while 68% voted Democrat.
b. When asked if Same-Sex marriage should be legalized, 40% of ALL National Exit Poll participants responded Yes, while 54% said No.
- Of those supporting same-sex marriage, 67% voted Democrat and 31% voted Republican.
- Of those opposing same-sex marriage, 28% voted Democrat and 69% Republican.
- The same question was also asked in the state of Iowa Exit Poll (2431 respondents). 38% said Yes to marriage equality while 56% said No.li>
c. GLB people are not the only ones voting against their self-interest. White men and women are the other category of voters who resoundingly supported the party that cares for them least. It would be wise for progressives to analyze why white working and middle class voters are so alienated from the Democratic party. Is it President Obama’s race? Is it the elitist image of the Democratic Party? Is it the Right’s skillful deployment of guns, gays, choice, taxes and other hot button issues – while the Democratic party simply wrings its hands and equivocates about many of these? The gross numbers do not allow for detailed analysis but I am sure it will come out in the days ahead.
- Overall, out of a sample that was 78% white, 60% of white voters supported Republican candidates
- Whites with incomes under $50,000 (26% of those polled), voted Republican at a rate of 54%. By comparison, 82% of people of color voters earning under $50,000 (11% of those polled) voted Democrat.
4. Progressive people funded the democratic party heavily (ACT Blue was a huge donor), and progressive voters did their part, but progressives need a new political party. Enough is enough. We are being dragged farther and farther to the Right as a nation and it will not end until the dictatorial forces on the Right achieve the social control that they seek.
5. We need a new political party, that stands for the Good Life for ALL, that is pro-environment, pro-working people, pro-LGBT, pro-racial justice, pro-feminist, and not apologetic about it. We need a political party organized by strategic thinkers who believe we can win by fiercely communicating and not compromising on the values and policies that we believe will make this world a better and more equitable place.
6. We need more progressive voices out there in the next two years and that means we need to expand progressive media outlets and invest in new voices of all kinds. Progressive need to learn how to speak in accessible ways, in hard-hitting ways, in ways that reach ordinary working people, of all races and backgrounds.
Now is not the time to retreat. It is instead the time to create a ten year strategy to create an American future that is true to the progressive values that inspire many people — liberty, equality, creativity, respect for all, and the right to pursue happiness for each person. I am working for the Good Life Party. Will you join me?