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Why did we do so badly on Tuesday?

Theories abound.  The trouble is, they are all wrong.  They are also all right.  It depends on the district.  And, of course, "why we lost" should also include "why we won"

Did we lose because we didn't craft a message?
Did we lose because we were too liberal?
Did we lose because we were not liberal enough?
Did we lose because we had too little money?
Did we lose because of character assassination?
Did we lose because we offended people?
Did we lose because we failed to draw our base?
Did we lose because we got the seat as "low hanging fruit" in 2008 or 2006?
Did we lose because we failed to draw independents and moderate Republicans?  (There are some).

and NO.

Grijalva and Grayson are both more liberal than their bases.  One won, one lost.

They both also did some things that offended people (Grijalva calling for boycott, many of Grayson's acts and ads).

Grayson raised tons of money.  Grijalva raised less.

Both are in swing districts.

We can theorize endlessly.  Or we can model the data, given what we have.  A statistical model could be set up, measuring likelihood of a seat pickup or loss based on various factors such as PVI, VoteView score, ethnic composition, # of terms the representative has served, and so on.  What would be really interesting, I think, is if we could somehow measure campaign style, but I'm not sure how to do it.

And that's just two races!

We did lose a lot of the close races and the swing districts.  We also won some.

But there is no one reason.

Originally posted to plf515 on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 05:30 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Mississippi Burning Trial (8+ / 0-)

    Long article. My point in posting this is that our gains in the past were made via a huge amount of pain and sorrow. We should remember that this post-election week.


    It was an old-fashioned lynching, carried out with the help of county officials, that came to symbolize hardcore resistance to integration.  Dead were three civil rights workers, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney. All three shot in the dark of night on a lonely road in Neshoba County, Mississippi. Many people predicted such a tragedy when the Mississippi Summer Project, an effort that would bring hundreds of college-age volunteers to "the most totalitarian state in the country" was announced  in April, 1964.  The FBI's all-out search for the conspirators who killed the three young men, depicted in the movie "Mississippi Burning," was successful, leading three years later to a trial in the  courtroom of one of America's most determined segregationist judges.

    Sam Bowers, the Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Klu Klux Klan of Mississippi, sent word in May, 1964 to the Klansmen of Lauderdale and Neshoba counties that it was time to "activate Plan 4."  Plan 4 provided for "the elimination" of the despised civil rights activist Michael Schwerner, who the Klan called "Goatee" or "Jew-Boy."  Schwerner, the first white civil rights worker based outside of the capitol of Jackson, had earned the enmity of the Klan by organizing a black boycott of a white-owned business and aggressively trying to register blacks in and around Meridian to vote.

    The Klan's first attempt to eliminate Schwerner came on June 16, 1964 in the rural Neshoba County community of  Longdale [LINK TO MAP].  Schwerner had visited Longdale on Memorial Day to ask permission of the black congregation at Mount Zion Church to use their church as the site of a "Freedom School."  The Klan knew of Schwerner's Memorial Day visit to Longdale and expected him to return for a business meeting  held at the church on the evening of June 16.   About 10 p.m., when the Mount Zion meeting broke up, seven black men and three black women left the building to discover thirty men lined up in military fashion with rifles and shotguns.  More men were gathered at the rear of the church.  Frustrated when their search for "Jew-Boy" was unsuccessful, some of the Klan members began beating the departing blacks.  Ten gallons of gasoline were removed from one of the Klan members cars and spread around the inside of the church.  Mount Zion Church was soon engulfed in flames.

    "Unlike every other nation in the world, the United States defines itself as a hypothesis and continues itself as an argument." - Lewis Lapham

    by Miep on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 05:38:37 AM PDT

  •  People want there to be... (10+ / 0-)

    ..One Big Reason, or maybe Three Big Reasons, because that is intellectually easier to handle. Going through poll data, ad buys, and spending data is hard. Walking a canvassing route is even harder.

    Also if I am a Pundit or Diarist and say, "Here are the Three Big Reasons why we lost", it makes me look smart.

    Alas, reality ain't like that.

  •  What many miss about Grayson's race (12+ / 0-)

    His opponent was a former state senator and Speaker of the Florida House. He was elected to the Florida Legislature for 28 years.  People in most of that district were used to voting for Daniel Webster.

    They elected Grayson exactly once.

    Every district is different and every race is different.  There are commonalities - Democrats do better when they act like Democrats, Republicans do better when they run like batshit crazy wingnuts.

    And we were running as incumbents in a REALLY horrible economy.  Some of our candidates were great and lost, some were not so great and won.  

    Guess what?  There will be elections for all kind of offices in the Spring.  Let's work on those and build a bench.  Wouldn't it be great if we had a bunch of Dems like Webster - who people know and trust - waiting in the wings to plug into races all over America?

    Which side are you on?

    by ThirstyGator on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 05:45:00 AM PDT

  •  Why? Declining Median Wages (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plf515, Larsstephens

    In Wisconsin (formerly, Feingold country) Harley Davidson, with union backing, convinced rank and file workers to accept a wage freeze for the next 7 years.

    In another state, Motts managed to impose a 3 year wage freeze despite the fact that, on an operational level, the company is thriving.

    During Arbusto's 8 years, the real median wage declined by about 4.5%.  In fact, President Obama lamented the stagnant median wage during the campaign.

    During Obama's first two years, the median wage has declined by 4%.

    Unless the administration can claim an after-tax median wage increase of at least 8% during his term, reelection will be very difficult.

    Everything the administration does should be with the goal of increasing the after-tax median wage.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

    by PatriciaVa on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 05:57:33 AM PDT

  •  "All behavior is multideterminate." (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plf515, yella dawg, Larsstephens

    There's not even one race that has one reason.

    Coffee is a general good.

    by Crashing Vor on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 06:20:12 AM PDT

  •  Why we lost the FEAR (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, plf515, yella dawg, Larsstephens

    of Republican "power"

    Republicans are not in power, they are submissive to Billionaires, Corporations, Karl Rove, and Chamber of Commerce.
    The Republican job is to say, "Yes" to misrule.
    How boring, uncreative, and cruel.

    We, Liberals have so much to look forward to.
    We have the wisdom to:
    Expand quality healthcare for all Americans
    Repeal DADT
    Provide quality jobs for all Americans
    Create an environment where all Americans can marry
    Value our Teachers, Police, Firefighters, and Military men/women.
    Seek peaceful solutions to our problems.
    Live from our highest self

  •  Froggy weighs in (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, plf515, DBunn, Larsstephens

    Ribbit ribbit, ribbit ribbit, ribbit ribbit:

    Translation: "you lost because you didn't listen to my sage advice".

    Seriously it was a number of things:

    1. Some "regression to the mean" effect; we had, what, 48 House seats in McCain districts?
    1. Some "the economy still sucks" effect and it sucks more now than it did in 1982 and 1994.
    1. Some local effects.  Example: the loss that stung me the most was Giannoulias losing a heart breaker to Mark "the serial liar' Kirk. But Alexi was able to be tied to a dysfunctional state government (he was treasurer) and Kirk was seen as a moderate (compared to the tea party types).  On the other hand Quinn (the IL-governor who PROBABLY won the race) faced an extremist (Brady):


    Quinn (D) 1,721,208 46.6%
    Brady (R) 1,701,647 46.1%
    Cohen (I) 134,195 3.6%
    Whitney (G) 99,540 2.7%
    Green (L) 34,283 0.9%


    Kirk (R) 1,765,594 48.2%
    Giannoulias (D) 1,694,093 46.3%
    Jones (G) 116,685 3.2%
    Labno (L) 86,325 2.4%

    Note: BOTH Quinn and Giannoulias openly used President Obama as a positive.  

    In all honesty, the tea party probably cost the Republicans the governorship.

    "Obama won. Get over it."

    by onanyes on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 06:58:09 AM PDT

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