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Last night the Right got its nose smacked with a rolled up news paper by the voters in several states. While we had some electoral victories as Democrats I think that it is the initiatives that told the real story.

Personhood in Mississippi failed. That is really good news as this was the state that was most likely to pass such a thing according the Conventional Wisdom. This is not the first time that this kind of amendment has been voted down, it was on the ballot twice in Colorado and was rejected both times.

The folks in Ohio basically told their Governor to sit down and stop being a dick about the rights of labor to organize. Again a good thing but not as unexpected as the result in the Magnolia State.

Then there was the restoration of same day voter registration in Maine. This had been one of the Republican successes in their war on voting, but the people of the Pine Tree State decided that they had seen no evidence of voter fraud from nearly four decades of this policy and put it back in place.

What all this tells us is there is indeed a floor beyond which the voters are not willing to go in terms of allowing the Republicans to have their way. It would be a teachable moment for elected Republicans but they don’t seem to be teachable in any fashion, but maybe it is a teachable moment for registered Republicans.

One of the frustrations of many Democrats and Liberals, like myself, is way that Republicans have successfully used social issues like abortion, gun rights and gay rights to keep many working and middle class folks from voting their economic interests. The whole “What’s wrong with Kansas?” thing.

They have managed to make it an article of faith that if voters let them do whatever they want economically as long as someday they get around to banning abortion or keeping gay patriots from serving openly or enjoying the same rights and responsibilities of married people.

The problem for the Republican Party is that they never intended to come through on those issues and they have been going further and further to Right in terms of destroying the programs and laws that allow for a vibrant middle class. And now, like a developmentally disabled child whose been given a rubber bon bon, rank and file Republicans are starting to see they’ve been cruelly pranked.

None of the ballot measures that went the way the Left wanted last night could have had that result without a significant number of Republican votes. Even the recall of Republican State Senators in Arizona and Michigan could not have happened without support from rank and file Republicans. Which opens a door for those of us that want to see the tools of the wealthy and the corporations replaced.

There is a ton of polling the shows that while Republican law makers won’t do anything to raise taxes or address jobs there are a lot of Republicans who want those very things. The new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that a strong majority of the public believe that income equality is as bad as it has ever been.

That includes a majority of Republicans and Tea Party supporters. And a majority believes that the Federal Government should do something about it. That is really important because to win elections you don’t need every vote, but you do need to be able to peel off enough of the supporters of the other party to gain the 50% + 1 that it takes to win.

Are we going to be able to capture the votes of the hard core nuts that think the President is was not born in this country? No, we are not. But given the economic pressures that are in play this cycle we might be able to peel off enough nominally Republican voters to win back the House and keep the White House and the Senate.

It will be a tricky balancing act, but the pitch needs to be something along the lines of “Do your elected Republicans really represent you?” It is often hard to get into a discussion like this with real partisans, but we aren’t aiming for the partisans we’re going to be aiming for the 67% of the nation in the same poll that are worried about being able to maintain their standard of living.

It is all very well to be a culture warrior when the economy is booming and things are fat for everyone (or at least feel like they are, the reality was that the booming economy was only really good for the 1% but that is not the argument we want to get into) but when you are looking at not being able to send your kid to college or you get heartburn and sleepless nights ever week thinking about paying the bills what you will prioritize is different.

The fact is that the Republicans in the State Houses and the House of Representatives have not done anything to improve the jobs situation. Their insistence on deficit reduction and budget cuts have made things worse. Last month the economy added more than 100K jobs but only netted 80K because of loss of public sector jobs. This is directly due to the Republican policies.

The recall of Russell Pearce shows that the far Right focus of the elected Republicans is not sitting too well with the people who voted them in. By continuing to highlight the fact that they are the ones standing on the side of the ultra-wealthy and that they will never, ever do anything to change the status quo in that regard we drive a good wedge between their normal voters and the candidates and elected officials.

American voters are often shockingly uninformed about the legislative process and about electoral politics in general, but they do learn after a while (though they tend to forget pretty fast, sadly) and seems to me to be the moment when they are waking up to the fact that the Republicans have been feeding them a bait and switch for a long time and have no intention of stopping.

This combined with the growing understanding that the Republicans are not only not working to fix our major problems but actively working to make things as bad as possible is the fracture line the could make 2012 a very good year for Democrats.

Just getting Democrats elected is not enough, of course. There are all kinds of Democrats and the conservative ones are more often than not more of a hindrance than a help. Still if we can return the House to them and retain the Senate and the White House the chances of getting actual policy that will help rather than hurt the nation is, in the words of our Vice President a big fucking deal.

The floor is yours.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips? Flames? (28+ / 0-)

    Some pragmatic outreach to folks that might be peeled off from the GOP bandwagon with just the right amount of new information?

    I am baking for Occupy DC, if you'd like to help, click here to see how!

    by Something the Dog Said on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 06:00:26 AM PST

  •  In New Jersey... (10+ / 0-)

    ...Christie said before the election that it was an opportunity for the voters to tell him how well he had been doing.  Result:  no change in the Dem controlled State Senate.  Dems+1 in the Assembly.  This was with redistricting, which in our district meant adding a bunch of Republicans from Morris County and removing part of Democratic East Orange.

  •  There's a lesson in the Pearce recall (12+ / 0-)

    Sometimes the best we can do is replace an utterly evil Republican with a merely conservative one.

    Any time we can move things to the left we are winning. Purity is for homeopathic medicines :-)

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 06:24:42 AM PST

  •  Labor/Occupy Make Teachable Moment For Democrats (4+ / 0-)

    The reason we're here is that our party is has been a conservative party for decades. The last several Dem administrations have left the people with at least a little less opportunity and protection, while leaving the rich with more, than was the case when they came in.

    In some cases incomes rose for people or individual programs were created or restored, which gave us the illusion of progress.

    But there's been no progress for the people --as a whole-- since the Beatles were recording. All the progress has been for business and its 1% ownership. All the growth in wealth of the nation has been for the 1%.

    And that means that our present situation will continue to decline, even if more slowly, even under Democratic Party government.

    Unless we can make the party nonconservative.

    Nonconservative means they stop moving the people as a whole downward, and the rich as a class upward compared to society.

    From where we stand, that result is looney left talk, in both parties.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 06:31:47 AM PST

  •  The most interesting result IMO (8+ / 0-)

    was the MS personhood question. There were two previous attempts in CO, and this makes the third time that this proposal has not only been voted down decisively, but by a significantly greater margin than pre-election polling indicated.

    Conservative women like having access to safe, effective contraception just as much as liberal ones do; they're just less likely to admit it to a stranger. There are a half-dozen other states where the loonies are trying to get this on the ballot. Are they smart enough to realize now that they're wasting their time?

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

    by sidnora on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 06:40:32 AM PST

    •  You're spot on as to what gets this voted (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jfromga

      down, but in answer to your question, no I don't think they do learn. After all the first time it was voted on in CO it got killed, the second time it was even a larger margin against.

      I think that is going to be the common result. People don't want this crazy crap, and by pushing it the whole Republican Party is tarred. After all the likely nominee from that party supported the MS ballot measure, he is not going to be able to walk away from that very easily.

      I am baking for Occupy DC, if you'd like to help, click here to see how!

      by Something the Dog Said on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 06:47:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would rather they waste their time (2+ / 0-)

      On these personhood imitative than a lot of other things they could devote that time and money to. Let them tip at windmills while we fix the real problems. They are only underscoring their views are extremist and unpopular. Carry on!

      0: Number of Wall Street bankers arrested over economy crash of 2008. 3350: Number of Americans arrested protesting their fraudulent practices as of 11/06/2011

      by Scott Wooledge on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 07:08:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good point, but (0+ / 0-)

        speaking as a woman, this stuff makes me feel very, very threatened. It is a source of astonishment and deep dismay to me that we are currently in almost the exact same place w/r/t women's reproductive rights as we were in 1972, before Roe was decided.

        That's because the religious right has succeeded in passing so many state-level restrictions on abortion rights, and intimidating so many providers out of service, that the de facto availability of legal abortion nationwide is roughly the same as it was before I got married in 1972: widely available in states where abortion was legal pre-Roe, and progressively less available in states that had partial or absolute bans pre-Roe.
        And they've succeeded because most people are too young to remember what it was like before.

        So it's not exactly a windmill, unless you consider it a windmill they've already conquered. It's going to take another surge in reports of women dying from illegal or self-adminstered abortions before we can start to roll this assault back again.

        "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

        by sidnora on Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 10:16:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, they are not. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW
      Are they smart enough to realize now that they're wasting their time?
      And they may not be.  I expect that the forced pregnancy goons will now concentrate on states that don't permit direct votes by the general citizenry, and will also work on getting it passed federally.  Legistators are easier to bribe or bamboozle than the population as a whole.  

      If a similar law was passed by a Republican and Blue-Dog Congress and signed by a Republican President, it could be enforced no matter how unpopular it was.  Getting it repealed would take at least two years and probably four.  There could be a lot of suffering and death in that time.  

      Renewable energy brings national global security.      -6.25, -6.05

      by Calamity Jean on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 08:15:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually it probably could not be enforced (0+ / 0-)

        It is so radical that it would overreach the powers of the Congress and be struck down by the SC.

        I am baking for Occupy DC, if you'd like to help, click here to see how!

        by Something the Dog Said on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 08:51:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was under the impression that the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW

          Supreme Court was panting for an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade.

          Renewable energy brings national global security.      -6.25, -6.05

          by Calamity Jean on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 03:55:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, they're not. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JeffW

            They never will, because they don't need to. See my reply to your earlier comment for why they don't need to.

            And the reason they don't want to is that it's the ultimate red flag to wave in front of the religious-right base. As long as the base can hope for it to be overturned, they'll turn out to volunteer and vote for the banksters' BFFs.

            "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

            by sidnora on Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 10:22:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  There's probably plenty of suffering and death (0+ / 0-)

        already.

        There are a good number of states where abortion is legal in name only, but all but impossible to obtain. I'm waiting for the horror stories about the women who are dying from illegal or self-administered abortions...but it would have to be in the media.

        "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

        by sidnora on Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 10:19:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Another point of policy departure from mainstream (6+ / 0-)

    While the GOP is busy fighting LGBT rights, voters are sending LGBT candidates to office to lead their communities. A lot of firsts, and more than a few in areas considered conservative. 

    Gay, lesbian candidates win big across U.S.

    Openly gay and lesbian candidates endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund won election to municipal, judicial and state legislative offices from coast to coast Tuesday night.  At least 53 of the group’s 75 endorsees were victorious, with two races still undecided this morning.

    Candidates in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Charlotte, N.C., made history, becoming the first openly gay or lesbian candidates elected to those city councils.  In Virginia, Adam Ebbin became the first openly gay person elected to the State Senate, and in New Jersey, Tim Eustace became the first non-incumbent openly gay candidate to win a seat in the State Assembly.

    This one was really sweet:

    Rep. Giffords' openly gay hero intern Daniel Hernandez, Jr., has been elected to a local school board in Tucson, Ariz.

    0: Number of Wall Street bankers arrested over economy crash of 2008. 3350: Number of Americans arrested protesting their fraudulent practices as of 11/06/2011

    by Scott Wooledge on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 07:03:41 AM PST

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