A lot of Democrats are pondering why so many of their politicians lost to the Republicans last night, but the biggest "reasons" given — the base wasn't sufficiently enthusiastic about the party (which, while true, doesn't explain why it was unenthusiastic), voters are stupid, those damned Greens stole Democrat votes — do not reflect reality.
I am here to tell you that you didn't lose for the reasons you think.
You didn't lose because voters are stupid.
You didn't lose because Obama tried to do too much too soon.
You didn't lose because you were "too liberal."
You didn't lose because Greens or anyone else stole votes you never owned to begin with.
No, you lost for reasons having nothing to do with any of that, and everything to do with having chosen to embrace the Republican Agenda as your own.
You lost because voters are fed up with being lied to, promised change but given more of the same far right policies Bush and Cheney delivered for eight years.
You lost because Obama not only didn't achieve progressive goals; you lost because he went out of his way to help Republicans block them.
You lost because you passed a health insurance bill that was written by the insurance industry, for the insurance industry, and that still doesn't control prices or deliver access to health care. 45,000 people, probably more, will still die each year for lack of access to basic health care.
You lost because instead of going all out to pass a jobs bill that would, you know, create jobs, you wrote trillion-dollar checks to Wall Street with no strings attached — all at the taxpayers' expense.
You lost because when decades of deregulation finally led to the worst man-made environmental disaster in human history, you handed everything over to British Petroleum. The Gulf of Mexico is still poisoned for generations to come, and oil companies are still free to drill without safety measures in place or consequences for ignoring them.
You lost because you refused to stand up for LGBT persons, abortion rights, homeowners in peril, laborers, women's rights, blacks, latinos, and every other left-wing demographic you pretended to support in order to get our votes.
You lost because you constantly berated, bullied, and insulted any and all who dared point out that Democrats were not living up to their campaign promises.
You lost because instead of even trying to pass a progressive agenda, you helped the Republicans pass theirs and then had the unmitigated gall to blame it all on the filibuster, even though you had a filibuster-proof majority and the GOP was able to pass its agenda without one the entire eight years Bush and Cheney were in power.
And you'll still continue do the same thing over and over again, expecting you'll get a different result. Voters demanded change, and all you could be bothered to deliver was more of the same shit sandwich they've been force-fed these past thirty years, and especially the past ten — which means you'll continue to lose elections until the Democrats are relegated to a few obscure seats from remote parts of the country, and they don't come out of their holes except to meekly ask for just a little lube before being roughly fucked up their lily-white asses.
No one likes to be lied to, and no one likes being insulted. We don't respond to bullying, and we won't vote for politicians who don't represent our interests. Given the options of voting for people who screw us over all the time, staying home and not voting, or voting third party, more voters are choosing the latter two. It has nothing to do with Democrats not being far enough to the right, or voters being stupid, or third parties being too unreasonably "pure" in their ideology. It has, in fact, everything to do with Democrats being too stupid for mere words to adequately describe.
The GOP might think its base is the scum of the earth, but its politicians will never tell its voters that to their faces. The Republicans don't believe a word of their own rhetoric, but they will fight tooth and nail to get the policies they want and they accept no compromises — or any prisoners, for that matter. You never see the Republicans complain that their base is too ideologically pure. They lost nominal power in '06 and '08 because their policies are destructive and voters wanted a change. They regained it in '10 because the Democrats refused to deliver that change. And when people are denied what they want, they will punish the politicians who denied it. It is no coincidence that the majority of Democrats who lost last night made up half the Bush Dog bloc, while what passes for the left wing of the Democratic Caucus lost only three seats.
You've got the next two years to get your acts together, Democrats. John Boehner has the articles of impeachment against Obama waiting in his desk drawer, ready to be brought out on January 21st. You can sit back and continue berating your party's base, and lose it when you need it most, all the while letting the GOP do whatever it wants without trying to put up a fight. Or you can wake up, fight tooth and nail to protect the public from corporations and religious lunatics, and finally embrace the left as your true base. But the latter requires that you actually govern from the left, and if you want to win elections, you have to do it.
Otherwise, enjoy being a permanent minority in the halls of power, because that's all you'll ever be.