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On Monday and Wednesday, I posted a poll on my diary asking the DK community how they feel about the Democratic Party, vis-a-vis its upcoming elections. In this diary, I will examine those numbers, contextualized by its audience and the implications of people’s perspectives on its electoral fortunes.

Acknowledging immediately the unscientific nature of diary polls – and all other reasonable caveats – this vote yielded some interesting trends. These trends were reinforced by the consistency of those perspectives across both polls.

So, how did people vote and what do their perspectives mean for Democratic Party fortunes? Please read on...................

DK Polling
Online polling is a dodgy business. The opportunity to stuff the ballot box, the self-selecting character of the poll itself and the lack of demographic data to contextualize the results against the broader community all undermine its reliability. At its best, it’s a rough snapshot of how a group of people - who chose to participate - felt on the question posed. At its worst, the online polling becomes a battlefield where opposing political sides stuff the ballot box until it yields their desired response.

And polls, scientifically produced or not, have nefarious uses beyond the honest desire to know how folks feel about things.  In the end, the truth about lies, damn lies and statistics should temper any conclusions derived from polling.

That said, I love the little polling applet on the DK website. While most people seem to use it for whimsical purposes – and hopefully, some of my polls have a laugh hidden somewhere in them – I think it has some practical uses as well.  Since everyone who could possibly vote in our polls are members of the DK community, at its best, these polls reflect the perspectives of those who have registered and surfed these pages.

So, contextualized to reflect the range of people who are a part of the DK community, these little polls can help us take the temperature of the room, so to speak. A barroom poll of everyone who happened to be in on the DK website when the question came up.  

Who is in the DK Community?
So who is in the DK community? I posed that question to the DK staff, but did not get a reply. So I am left to characterize it from my observations. Here goes:

Judging by the diaries and commentary, its safe to assume that DK community members overwhelmingly represent varying sectors of the Democratic Party’s political base. Overall, I’d say that the DK community skews toward the activist, educated and progressive edges of that political base and some are among the party’s leading lights and organizers. Beyond committed party activists are many who are dedicated to specific progressive causes and who regard the Democrats as a critical political engine for achieving their desired goals. While most of us on this website may not be ‘leading lights’, we mostly come from core constituencies the Democratic Party needs in order to win elections. So, those who responded to this poll were, for the most part, the foot soldiers and activist allies of the Democratic Party.

Polling Results
Having acknowledged the unscientific character of this poll and assuming –without professionally-produced evidence to support it – that most of the people who responded to this poll represent the activist end of the Democratic Party, its finding are not good news for Democrats.

Taking the two days as a reasonable range for gauging DK opinion and using your favorite table condiment for calculating the margin of error, here’s how the vote played out and the implications, if these statistics are at all reflective of political reality:

Happy Democrats
10.2% of the first poll and 13.5% of the second poll expressed highly positive feelings  toward the Democratic Party.  30.6% and 35% were happy about some things and unhappy with others, or simply glad the Republican Party wasn’t in power.  In total, 40.8% and 41.4% (respectively) were happy in varying degrees with the Democratic Party’s efforts so far.  These people represent the most reliable voting block in the party's base. Given the activist character of the DK community, these people can also be counted on to man the phones, put up the posters, give money and otherwise advance the cause.

Angry Democrats
On the other hand, those feeling varying degrees of anger polled almost as well. Those who said they were either a ‘little tired of the situation’ or ‘a little angry at the Democratic Party’ constituted 11.2% and 6.7% (respectively) of those polled.  Those who expressed anger, fury and the readiness to march on Washington DC to force their government to deal with their issues voted 27.5% in the first poll and 21.7% in the second poll. Overall, 37.8% and 27.3% in the two polls expressed varying degrees of anger with the party. If this poll reflects the true range of feelings among the DK community toward the Democratic Party, more than a quarter to more than a third of those who are planning to vote are angry with the Democrats.

Alienated Democrats
The worst news for those planning the Democratic Party’s good fortunes were the number of people who were either too angry or disillusioned to vote democratic, thought 'nothing had changed' or 'didn’t care.' In the first poll, 17.3% of those voting said they were either too angry or disillusioned to vote Democratic. In the second poll, 20.5% said the same thing. Those saying either that nothing had changed or didn’t care, added 3% and 2.4% to the alienated totals. So, roughly speaking, 20-25% of the DK community is either so angry or so disillusioned with the Democrats that -- if the election were today -- they wouldn't vote, or wouldn't vote democratic or simply don't care anymore.

Analysis
Looking closely for any movement between the polls, I must note that poll numbers for ‘happy Democrats’ were remarkably  stable for such an amateur polling effort. Happy Democrat responses showed only minor shifts within any given category and only less than a 1% difference overall.

On the other hand, those expressing anger, alienation or fatigue were highly volatile categories. Seen at its broadest, only about 40% of the Democratic Party base is in any way happy with the efforts of the party so far, while up to 60% are – in varying shades – angry, alienated or walking away from the party. 20 to 25% are so angry and/or alienated that they are ready to bolt the ship. Daily events either mitigate or exacerbate people’s feelings toward Democratic Party’s, so I would expect some fluidity between angry and alienated categories, including the choices not to vote, or refuse to vote Democratic.  

Whether one is happy or angry with the Democrats, feelings tended to cluster at the bottom of the respective scales. 75% of those in the first poll who said they were happy with the Democrats ranked their feelings at the bottom of the 'happiness' scale and approximately two-thirds felt the same way in the second poll. The numbers for those who were angry with the Democratic Party were also clustered at the lower end of the 'anger' scale, with 44.8& in the first poll and 42.2% in the second poll expressing varying degrees of 'very angry' or expressing the desire not to vote Democratic.    

If these polls are with 20 points of accuracy, they point to a very worrying situation for the Democrats. Were this a national poll and the respondents drawn from across the political spectrum, this might be par for the course as we approach midterm elections. But since the participants in this poll are overwhelmingly Democratic Party activists and supporters, these numbers should be cause for grave concern. After all, midterm elections are usually won by the party with the most passionate and committed base. However much DK community members may be passionate about politics and their issues, that passion most likely translates into anger when the subject of the Democratic party is brought up.

On issue after issue, war, the economy, the job market, gay rights, health care reform, education, social welfare, etc. etc. the Democratic Party has been turning its core constituencies off one after another, with either weak tea solutions, ignoring them, stalling or simply walking down the path set for them by the Republicans and away from its political base.

With midterm elections 10 months away, its clear from my little amateur poll of the DK community, that the Democrats are in very deep trouble, not just with the unwashed masses, but those they need to organize those masses in support of their candidates. This is not because of what the Republicans have done, but because of what the Democrats have not done or - in the case of the stimulus plan and health care - done poorly.

This kind of alienation and anger – at a time when millions of Americans are desperate for the government to intervene on their behalf – is a recipe for disaster that cannot be overcome with puffed up statistics, propaganda campaigns or even fearmongering.

If the Democrats don’t turn this boat around and start getting really serious about addressing problems that face this country - and I think the job market and protecting ordinary people's economies are the real dealbreakers here – they are heading for real trouble in a few months time.

Originally posted to Tom Taaffe on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:03 AM PST.

Poll

If the Democrats can only get one thing done before the 2010 elections, what should they do?

39%55 votes
5%7 votes
17%24 votes
10%14 votes
0%1 votes
2%3 votes
0%1 votes
1%2 votes
1%2 votes
5%7 votes
5%7 votes
8%12 votes
0%1 votes
1%2 votes

| 138 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  You're right about this (6+ / 0-)

    Online polling is a dodgy business.

  •  First and foremost, Dems need better messaging (9+ / 0-)

    For God's sake, which party is the only one who has tried to help the American people in this financial disaster? The Democrats would be the answer. They have given extra unemployment benefits, help with Cobra, Cash for Clunkers, Tax credit for home buyers, the Stimulus package which allowed many to keep their jobs and others to get a job, and on and on and on.... But the Republicans are in charge of the message and that is "Too much big government" or "Deficit" or "They're gonna raise your taxes". Where is the Democrats message. When are they going to take credit for the great things they have done for us in this crisis? It's appalling that they don't say a word about it. They also could be hammering the Republicans as the party that doesn't care about average Americans. They are voting against every initiative that tries to help people.

    •  Its the product, not the message that's lacking (7+ / 0-)

      While all wars are propaganda wars, in my mind, Democrats are stinking up the place because they've ignored the death of the job market, fed the banks and corporations that wrecked the economy, dug themselves deeper into Afghanistan and our ever-widening 'war on terror', cocked up health care reform and otherwise ignored or mangled the issues that are passionately held by their political base.

      So the problem isn't just the message, its the product.

    •  Unemployment extensions don't cover the gap (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slatsg, costello7, nippersdad, hpchicago

      A number of Republican Presidents have extended unemployment benefits during recessions -- Nixon, Reagan and the two Bushes come quickly to mind -- so that's something both parties are willing to do during recessions. While the Democrats are quicker to move to this remedy, no extra points for doing the obvious.

      When it comes to addressing the fact that the job market won't be coming back for years - as Obama already acknowledged - all they have done so far is save state workers and pour way too much money into the private sector, without any visible impact on employment. To be even more brutally pointed: the stimulus plan was based on supply-side economics (very republican) and benefitted those who created this mess, while flying over the heads of those who needed help the most.

  •  I like what you are trying to do (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra77, nippersdad, Tom Taaffe

    You need to post diaries like this during prime time on a week night. You will get more and better responses.

    (change you can believe in) + (one year) = change is hard

    by TMP on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:12:36 AM PST

    •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CWalter

      I'm still trying to figure out the most effective times to post diaries. And - since this is a volunteer effort - when I post usually has more to do with open spots in my schedule, rather than when my effort will be most effective. That said, its instructive to know what others think the best times to post are.

      •  one more suggestion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra77

        Write in advance then post it when the site has the best traffic.

        (change you can believe in) + (one year) = change is hard

        by TMP on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:35:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

          I do write ahead of time, but I'm not sure when the traffic is best.

          And when traffic is high, diaries tend to race down the 'new diary entries' list and are lost and forgotten in record time. My second poll fell below the '25 newest' after 38 minutes, when I posted it at lunchtime on wednesday. 210 people voted in that time, but only 34 after that.

          Therein lies the challenge of when to post and what happens next.

  •  I am a stay at home (5+ / 0-)

    democrat until we have a democratic party. democrats like Paul Wellstone, Howard Dean and AL Franken. Democrats that support the base intead of bashing the base the way they did Acorn.

    •  That is the jump ship plank of their treachery. (0+ / 0-)

      Speaking of this plank, Howard Dean, rats, and jumping ship... for more of it, in living, yellow-bellied color, retrieve the post-"scream" episode (as it played out out there and even IN here).

      Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a tame party, or should it drive a tame party to break out?

      by NYCee on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:19:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  UH? (7+ / 0-)

      "Paul Wellstone, Howard Dean and AL Franken"

      Al Franken is a Senator now, Paul Weston was an active member of Congress before he died and Dean was the chairman of the Democratic party until not much ago. Staying at home does not help to elect more Wellstones, DEans or FRankens but Nelsons and Liebermans.

      I'm gonna stop breathing in protest about global warming that will teach them a lesson

    •  Cut your nose off to spite your face? (6+ / 0-)

      You have a right to stay home, but Al Franken is in the senate right now because alot of people didn't stay home. It would be much more to your liking if instead of staying home, you worked to get better Democrats elected.

      "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan

      by atlliberal on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:29:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  But it is a way to give numbers to this mix... (0+ / 0-)

    Which is pretty much as the diarist described it, and therefore, makes his efforts pretty relevant, I'd say.

    Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a tame party, or should it drive a tame party to break out?

    by NYCee on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:14:28 AM PST

  •  Online polling (5+ / 0-)

    should only ever be used for entertainment purposes only. There are no exceptions.

    •  Agree (4+ / 0-)

      Completey and absolutely. Nothing gets my goat more than those stupid online polls CNN conducts and then pimps in their news broadcasts. The results are completely without meaning, yet the news media use them to drive a narrative. We need to support science, not junk science.

      •  The diarist went to great pains (2+ / 0-)

        to point out that this was a snapshot of this community at two particular times and has averaged the responses. Online polling of the type you decry has little in common with what the diarist was trying to achieve here insofar as their participants are far more diverse and the polls themselves are more easily freeped than this one was.

        I, personally, found it very instructive. I think that it is not such a bad idea to take the temperature of the comunity occasionally. I think he achieved exactly what he sought even given the unscientific nature that he freely admits to.

        A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

        by nippersdad on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 09:00:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  thanks. its a barroom poll (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nippersdad

          Its not scientific -- though 'scientific results' can be dodgier than its boosters might have you believe -- its a barroom poll. That is, everyone who happened to be around -- and chose to register their opinion -- when someone raised the question.

          But since most of the people on this website are a part of the Democratic Party base and a higher percentage of them are activists (when compared to other political sites), taking the temperature of the community is not without its value, so long as you accept a very high potential margin of error.

          But even if my numbers are off by 20%, the results aren't good, especially if most of those voting were a part of the Democratic Party's political and/or activist base.

          •  I thought you made that perfectly clear (0+ / 0-)

            in your diary. I fail to understand what the problem they have with it is, unless it was taken as an implicit criticism of the third you show as being perfectly happy with the status quo.

            This last "wave" election was carried out in the most propitious of circumstances and still only had a seven percent margin. That may be considered a mandate these days, but it is not one that I would take for granted. Were I a "centrist", I would be shaking in my boots right about now with mid terms in view.

            Hostility toward the unhappiness we are seeing right now amongst Democratic voters wil not decrease it and should be a wake up call...for all but the Rahm Emanuels who specialize in creating it. We shall see to whom our leadership listens. This should be very a interesting political cycle.

            A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

            by nippersdad on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 10:23:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Reform/investigate ratings agencies (0+ / 0-)

    and their criminal enterprise

    Show me on the doll where Rahm touched you.

    by mydailydrunk on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:22:46 AM PST

  •  If the Democrats only get one thing done (9+ / 0-)

    This year, then they don't deserve to be in the majority.

     The CW is saying people are angry, that Dems have tried to do too much, that they have gone too far to the left.

    BULL

    The reason the dems are having so much difficulty right now is because we elected them to provide one thing:

    Competent government.

    They have not shown competence by letting the Republicans run all over them. They have not shown competence by letting that sniveling whiner Joe Lieberman take the health care bill hostage  or by letting the Republicans hold it up for months to trash it and turn the people against it.

    They appear incompetent when they can't get anything done even if a majority of the people as well as a majority of the house and senate want it, because they are afraid the republicans will call them bad names if they push their own agenda (which they were elected to enact)through the congress.

    If they can't provide competent government this year, then they don't deserve to be in the majority. I only hope we can find some people to run that are willing to actually govern rather than worry about getting re-elected.

    My advise for Dems is this:

    Do the job you were elected to do. If you take on a controversial issue and 30% of the public is vocally opposed, then GREAT! If you lose your next election because you made a difference and made the country a better place, then haven't you been successful?

    "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by atlliberal on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:26:29 AM PST

    •  AMEN (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pletzs, atlliberal, costello7, SuetheRedWA

      I think there is a BROAD BROAD spectrum between "always be a 110% cheerleader for the dems" vs. "I'm staying home until they do what I want"...

      That gap is ENTHUSIASM. That gap is DONATIONS. That gap is PARTICIPATION. It is not just VOTING.

      I will reliably vote for the more liberal of two candidates in any election. But will I go to their website, walk in the rain, donate endless amounts of money and time, if I am not passionate about them? No.

      Sorry, I have a life and career too. To get me beyond that, it requires candidates (like Darcy Burner and Al Franken) that actually SUPPORT change in ways that many many dems do not seem to have the stomach for.

      So any poll that sees it as a binary, with the resultant piling on by those that think any "no" vote is liberal treason... doesn't really capture the subtlety of how I choose to spend my time.

      But that's just me. Your mileage may vary.

      •  I used to have a career (0+ / 0-)

        I used to have a career until the combined force of neoliberal democrats and lunatic republicans wiped out full time work in my profession (college teaching). Now I just have obscene student debt and no future.

        I directly blame Bill Clinton for destroying my future to benefit corporate america -- see the Rand Corporation's 'breaking the social contract' and future missives here for those reasons -- so at some point, my material interests and the behavior and agenda of the Democratic Party sharply diverge.

        As someone from a working poor background, I am sick to death of Democratic Party betraying the poor and working class in ways that destroy their lives (see welfare reform for another example), so when I see neoliberal politicans coming for my vote, I slam the door in their face.

        The Democratic Party leadership may have no moral bottom line, but I do. After NAFTA, welfare reform, education reform, the US Patriot Act, two wars and the refusal of the democrats to address death of living wage work in this country - while they continue to feather corporate beds - my patience is pretty thin and my fury pretty strong.

        In the spirit of full disclosure, I voted to 'march on Washington DC', because -- after all the things both parties have done to harm the economically marginal in this country -- I believe they will never do the right thing unless you force them to.

    •  How the Hell Do They Do that When.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nippersdad, cybrestrike

      Getting ANYTHING done is hostage to the combination of:

      1. archaic Senate filibuster rules requiring a 60-vote margin for ANYTHING to pass over a doggedly obstructionist-minded minority party;
      1. the 60th vote belonging to a backstabbing traitor like Joe Lieberman, motivated in part precisely to maneuver to make the Dems look ineffective with his posturing and maneuverings?

      IMHO the Dems may well have been far better off having only 55-59 votes instead of nominally appearing to have 60.  All having 60 (counting Lieberman and Nelson) has accomplished is to give the illusory appearance to the Dems of having the ability and responsibility to competently enact a coherent agenda with integrity, but with the reality of every initiative being held hostage by its most cynically corrupt or regressive fringes.

      It hasn't helped that Harry Reid has been so weak-kneed, and not forced the ReThugs to actually...well, FILLIBUSTER to highlight how destructively obstructionist they really are.  Instead, it's been the regressive and cynically corrupt dems who've stolen the spotlight.

      •  I agree. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nippersdad, cybrestrike

        I have a sinking feeling we are going to be hearing "you had all the power and did nothing with it" for YEARS now.

      •  They could get things done (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pletzs, costello7, nippersdad, SuetheRedWA

        If they were more worried about competence than getting re-elected or what the mean republicans will say about them. You can use reconciliation to pass alot of things. You can attach very important things to must pass bills. You can make them actually have to filibuster and explain to the American people why you are against a stimulus package that will save millions of jobs. You can call them on their BS and change the rules since they are being abused. It has never in the history of the country taken 60 votes to pass even the most simple bill.

        Harry Reid may be a very nice man but he's a terrible majority leader. The Republicans never had 60 seats, yet when they were in the majority they got lots of (bad) things done. Harry is more worried about Senate comity and tradition than passing an agenda that will fix the mess 8 year sof republican rule has created.

        All the people want is competence and all they are getting is political posturing on both sides. The Dems are afraid to offend anyone and the Repubs are willing to oppose anything if it will make the Dems look incompetent.

        "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan

        by atlliberal on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:54:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Pass What You Can (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        atlliberal, costello7, nippersdad

        With 50 votes in the Senate and the MAKE THE DAMN REPUBLICANS FILIBUSTER POPULAR LEGISLATION (which will lead to fewer or more cooperative Republicans).

        Jesus, this isn't brain surgery. What led to Clinton's bounce back? The Republicans shutting down Congress and acting like spoiled brats. MAKE THEM OBSTRUCT IN PUBLIC!

      •  You do it by going in there with a vision (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        costello7, Tom Taaffe

        and actively kicking some ass to achieve it. I have yet to see anyone, save for the BlueDogs and ConservaDems, stand up for the issues they ran on this session. It is like they were taken off the table as soon as the elections ended.

        This is one of the things that so galled me during the Primaries; who the hell votes for post partisanship and expects anything to get done? Wasn't it LBJ who said that the only thing in the middle of the road is roadkill? Anyone who thought it would be that easy really wasn't living in the real world, and that is how we got an unelected President Olympia Snowe instead of the change we voted for.

        A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

        by nippersdad on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 09:10:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I couldn't agree with you more.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nippersdad

          Republicans have party discipline and they feed their political base. Democrats longfinger too many sectors of their political base -- poor, working class, gays, people of color -- when they are in power and then expect us to be excited come election time.

          Predicatably, they lose elections when they do that.

  •  I voted for "rebuild the social safety net" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom Taaffe

    because under that broad heading i would include healthcare reform not necessarily the current inadequate bill as well as dealing with employment and re-regulation of the financial industry.

    "I once had an awkward moment just to see how it feels."

    by irate on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:28:51 AM PST

  •  Democrats are better than the alternative. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    revgerry

    I don't see that Republicans care about the common good.  

    The reason we hold truth in such respect is because we have so little opportunity to get familiar with it. --Mark Twain

    by Desert Rose on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:34:34 AM PST

    •  I agree but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pale Jenova

      that represents such low expectations. "I am passionate about the Dems because they are not crazed maniacs." It wont take much to meet that thresh hold.

      (change you can believe in) + (one year) = change is hard

      by TMP on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:43:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  low expectations yield low voter turnout (0+ / 0-)

        In the best of times, 'better than the republicans' is a very weak reason to vote Democratic.

        But in these times of extreme economic distress for tens of millions of Americans, it wreaks of failure.

        In either case, if all the Democrats have to offer is that they are 'better than' Republicans, voter turnout will be low and Republicans will have a fair chance at winning.

        In that way, the greatest friends the Republicans have are lame Democratic leaders and their 'Republican-lite' politics.  

        •  Sorry, If I'm jaded, but I am. (0+ / 0-)

          The reason we hold truth in such respect is because we have so little opportunity to get familiar with it. --Mark Twain

          by Desert Rose on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 11:22:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  P.S. I am a party activist (0+ / 0-)

            and have NEVER missed an election, including school board and primary elections.  So for me, although I am not happy about the Dems, I will almost always vote for them. My first vote cast was for George McGovern.  I am an unabashed liberal.

            The reason we hold truth in such respect is because we have so little opportunity to get familiar with it. --Mark Twain

            by Desert Rose on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 11:29:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sometimes I can't vote democratic (0+ / 0-)

              I saw the violence and damage done by Clinton's wefare reform and his pro-corporate education policies, listened to the tears of friends (most of them single mothers) driven out of school by the callousness and smarmy arrogance of the private school crowd that dominate this party and I couldn't vote democratic for a while.

              I still won't vote for anyone who supported welfare reform. For me, beating up the most vulnerable people in this country for political points is truly the most henious thing I can imagine, short of starting a war for the same reason.

              Caught between two pro-corporate, pro-war parties that prey on the economically and socially marginalized for political and economic profit makes me write in a vote for Bugs Bunny every time. Or -- if I'm really disgusted -- I just stay home.

  •  I didn't respond to your poll (3+ / 0-)

    because it's based on a hypothetical so extreme as to be unrealistic.

    Obviously, we need to pass HCR before we do anything else, but barring total catastrophe (or a Brown win), that will happen sometime in the next few weeks. But if I voted for that, it would leave about 9 months when we do...nothing?

    So, no. First, we pass HCR, asap. Then a jobs program. Everything else on that list, no matter how deeply I/we desire them, must wait until those two objectives are done, or none of the rest of them will get done.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

    by sidnora on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:38:12 AM PST

    •  Question defined by the limits of software (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cybrestrike

      The DK polling applet doesn't permit multiple choice answers. And since it 'remembers' you when you vote, you can't go back and repeat your votes, which at least cuts down on the ballot box stuffing.

      So the question was driven, in part, by the limits of the software and in part by the reality that the Dems have only 10 months to do anything, so only one or two things can really be done.

      •  Right. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tom Taaffe

        I am aware of the technical limitations.

        But there's a big difference between "only one" and two, especially since, if we don't get both of them, we're probably toast.

        The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

        by sidnora on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 10:43:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sidnora

          But given that Congress - mostly the Senate -- has wasted a year on health care reform and produced the sorriest legislation possible on the subject, asking this dysfunctional crowd to do more than one thing right is probably asking too much of them.

          As the poll above indicates -- and as I've repeatedly argued here -- getting a public works jobs program (ala WPA) is the no. 1 priority.

          And yet, it seems that this is the LAST THING the Democrats want to do. We will probably need to march on washington to get them to do this. And if the health care reform debacle is any indication, they will turn this into a corporate giveaway as well.

          So, how much can we expect of this crowd? Not much.

          But if they do get a jobs program going, get that sorry-ass health care reform off the front pages (its more of an embarrassment now than an achievement), that's all we can hope for from Congress.

          After that, its in Obama's court. Making modest moves toward peace with the Muslim world would be a positive (and keep the anti-war crowd from bolting the farm), getting rid of some of his economic advisors would be a public good and anything else must be considered gravy.

          But the upshot of all this is that the Democratic Party has really pissed off its base and that breach needs to be healed by November 2010. Puff statistics, myopic declarations about economic recovery and plowing us deeper into no-win wars doesn't get them anywhere.

          •  True on all points, except (0+ / 0-)

            I am not as down on the HCR bill as you are. It is very, very imperfect, I will agree. At one point I was very close to joining the Kill the Bill crew. But a couple of very convincing people  (my LH and Alan Grayson) convinced me otherwise. I want to see it enacted.

            I am hoping that the bozos in DC realize that a jobs program is the key to whether they get to keep their jobs. That's a motivation they can usually be depended on to act upon.

            The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

            by sidnora on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 02:53:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Health care (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sidnora

              As a massachusetts resident, I'm a guinea pig for this plan.

              For my money -- or lack of it -- its basically force-feeding the poor and working class to the private health care industry. The presumed ability to afford this insurance is based on obscenely low measures of poverty -- yet another area in need of desperate reform -- and insultingly high notions of what individuals should pay for health care.

              To put a finger directly on the problem, when I was on unemployment last year, I was told I needed to earn less than 833 dollars a month to qualify for free health care. 833 dollars a month is the poverty cut-off, in a state where the average studio apartment is 1100 a month?  

              Clearly those who wrote these rules don't live on my planet. I suspect my interests or needs did not drive this solution, but rather the need to make this problem 'go away' by feeding me to the insuance industry and punishing me if I don't comply.

              And what did I get for my insurance? Well, I didn't get a doctor, because none of the doctors on the insurance company's list were taking new patients. What I got -- basically -- was a discount on emergency room visits and prescription drugs.

              Its a good thing I'm a healthy guy.

              This plan is basically the most expensive, least competent and most corrupt way to go. The last thing that should happen is for us to reward decades of criminal abuse with government-mandated customers.

              They will exploit this system like a crooked tax accountant and the costs will run out of control.

  •  Alienation is a huge issue (4+ / 0-)

    not just with Democrats but with independents as well. One of the reason's for president Obama's electoral victory was the political involvement of many people who hadn't been involved before.

    The 1990 Michigan gubernatorial race is a prime example of how alienation can impact an election. The Democrat, Jim Blanchard managed to alienate African-American voters, a key component of the Democratic base, with demeaning racist(IMO) advertisements. Folks in Wayne county stayed home in droves and Blanchard lost. The arrogance and stupidity of his team were responsible for the election of John Engler.

    The national elections of 2000 and 2004 also indicate that disaffected voters can be a decisive factor in the outcome.

    The answer is not condescending "blame the victim" (the disaffected and alienated voters)attitude, but rather to address their concerns.

    Excess ain't rebellion. You're drinking what they're selling. - Cake

    by slatsg on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:38:39 AM PST

  •  I voted for out of the occupations... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nippersdad, Tom Taaffe

    because those are the most egregious wholesale blunders with ramifications ongoing... and they are still killing, maiming, and draining treasury, eight years down the road... not to mention making us look like imperialist pricks to the Muslim world... (who can blame them?)

    I would tack onto that - get tough on Israel, get an evenhanded resolution to the I/P conflict, and put an end, really and truly, to their 42 year occupation and theft of Palestinian life and land, as it truly another arm of the same bloody beast.

    Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a tame party, or should it drive a tame party to break out?

    by NYCee on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:38:48 AM PST

    •  So many of these things are so interwoven that it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYCee, SuetheRedWA

      really was difficult to make a choice. I chose financial reform, for example, becasue we wouldn't be in these wars were it not for the MIC which pushes them. Reform the way big money affects government and a lot of the rest just falls into place.

      A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

      by nippersdad on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 09:16:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like my party (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    revgerry
  •  You left off GLBT issues in your poll (3+ / 0-)

    Much like the president has left them out of his plans.

    There are a lot of issues in the poll I'd like to see get done before November - since it's at least somewhat likely that we won't have a short at getting anything done after that.

    And honestly, I'm caring less and less about electing Dems - not because they're not the better option when running against Rethugs; but because I care far more about actually getting things done than I do about talking about them.  And the Dems just aren't pulling it off.

    Health care compromised into nothing more than slight improvements - still not passed.  Guantanamo still open and still arguing about it. Wall Street still unregulated and still predatory. Unemployment in disaster territory - although somewhat better than it would have been without the stimulus. Still in Iraq. Still in Afghanistan - no reliable end in sight. Obama scheduled to attend a prayer breakfast sponsored by an anti-gay, pro big wealth extremist group.

    Enough soaring rhetoric already - get the job done.

    Nudist Minorcan ancestors good with slingshots, invented mayo - family dynamic now clear

    by hpchicago on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:47:13 AM PST

    •  I thought about that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hpchicago

      I tend to write up these polls very quickly and I struggled with the phrasing of the GBLT choice: should it be gay marriage rights? Don't ask don't tell? Nondiscrimination? Hate crime protections? In the end, I didn't add it. Apologies to all for the omission.

      And yeah, his courting of the religious right (no votes there, Obama) and his procrastination on gay rights are others point of concern. Apoologies again.

      •  I appreciate the challenge is setting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tom Taaffe

        up the poll.  I probably would prioritize marriage above all else - because when that falls I think the others are likely to follow quickly.

        But heck, those of us in the "community" even argue about the abbreviation - LGBT, GLBT (my choice), GBLT (your choice above), LGBTQ, LGBTT or some other.

        I also appreciate the challenge of getting anything done in this environment. But ultimately my job has challenges too - it's also difficult to get stuff done. Regardless, I'm judged on the results, not the excuses. And whether we like it or not and whether it's fair or not, that's likely to happen in November. Time is running out for congress and the president - they'd better all up the quality of the game pretty quickly.

        Nudist Minorcan ancestors good with slingshots, invented mayo - family dynamic now clear

        by hpchicago on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 10:17:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Disappointed but not surprised (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra77

    I'm a long-term cynical loyal Democrat voter. I always turn out, I always vote the straight ticket and I rarely expect much.

    I think I do it for petty reasons. Anything to give Limbaugh and the baggers a bad day.

  •  Someone called me on the phone (3+ / 0-)

    and polled me for the Governor's race in Minnesota.  They asked me what the most important issue was facing us today: Education, Healthcare, jobs, etc. were on the list.

    My response.  They are all important and interrelated.  To answer that was like asking me what's more important shoes or food.  (in Minnesota shoes are more important than in Hawaii).  

    Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Horace Mann (and btw, the bike in kayakbiker is a bicycle)

    by Kayakbiker on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:52:03 AM PST

    •  Were multiple choices possible w/this poll (0+ / 0-)

      Indeed, all are important and interrelated. You can't reinvest domestically while going bankrupt fighting foreign wars. But this applet doesn't allow for multiple choices.

      And in the end, the Democrats have 10 months to get their shit together, and only so much can be done in so short a time. They've spent a year on health care and they haven't resolved anything yet.

      With 10 months, they can only do one or two big things if they want to positively impact the next election. After that, the only things that can be done are those things that don't require the involvement of Congress, and particularly, don't require the cooperation of a completely disfunctional senate.

  •  I've lived a long time, and seen (0+ / 0-)

    the passionate Democratic action of the sixties cycle into the passionate Republican activism of the eighties and nineties, and the rebirth of our party since the Dean campaign empowered us to take back our party. (You ARE a PC, right, and taking active management of your state and local party???)

    We have a choice.  Elect more Democrats and then better Democrats or live under Republican rule like we do here in Arizona, where they are eliminating 300,000 low income people from health care, including children, eliminating care for care for the mentally ill,  killing state funding for all day kindergarten and cutting "soft" money to schools for books and computers and buses and such, closing most state parks, which actually brought money into our economy...all so as not to eliminate corporate tax breaks or raise taxes in a progressive way.

    I choose electing more and better Democrats.  

    •  Dems fear their base, Republicans feed it (0+ / 0-)

      I watched 811 (88%) student parents on public assistance get wiped out of my university in one semester thanks to welfare reform. When students tried to save the remaining few, the Massachusetts legislature and the university leadership declared 'not one penny will be spent to keep anyone coming off of welfare in school.'

      Everyone involved in this decision were democrats and most of them would call themselves 'liberal'. All of them betrayed their political base.

      And therein lies the difference between the democratic party leadership and the Republicans: Democrats fear their political base and treat their issues with contempt (unless there is profit to be made), while Republican hug their base and their issues, no matter how insane or ridiculous they may be.

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