Lots of hair-on-fire finger-pointing on the left this week, in the wake of Jon Ossoff’s narrow loss to truly deplorable human Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th district.
One narrative is: “Four special elections since November, four Democratic losses, PUSH THE PANIC BUTTON Y’ALL. It’s Nancy Pelosi’s fault, it’s Hillary’s fault, it’s neoliberals’ fault, it’s Kamala Harris’s fault, it’s the DNC’s fault, it’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s fault, it’s Cory Booker’s fault, it’s Obama’s fault, it’s the Women’s March’s fault…” (notice it’s never some white guy’s fault)
I’d like to ask us all to stop and take a breath for a moment.
Where were those four special elections lost?
Kansas. Montana. Georgia. South Carolina.
Notice anything in common?
All DEEP red states.
Kansas, if you’ll recall, TWICE elected a small government radical as governor, who’s basically turned the state into a third-world country in the name of hewing to his demonstrably false ideology that the cure for ANYTHING that ails you is MOAR TAX CUTS!11!!!11!
After he utterly destroyed the state’s budget and tax base, Brownback’s Republican dominated legislature FINALLY reigned him in a little this year, passing minor tax increases with a veto-proof majority. But it’s probably too little, too late. Someone should remind these yahoos that no matter HOW low the taxes are, businesses aren’t really interested in moving to a location where the roads are impassible, the bridges are about to fall down, the schools are crap, the air and water and soil are unsafe, and the police and fire departments are badly understaffed.
[As an aside, in the 2014 Kansas gubernatorial election, Brownback had fucked things up so badly that over 100 Republican leaders in the state endorsed his Democratic opponent, who lost by three points. The third party candidate siphoned off FOUR points. Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it is all I’m saying.]
In Montana, the Democrats ran Rob Quist, a guy who under normal circumstances would have been a novelty candidate who didn’t make it out of the primary. Then, to make matters worse, Bernie Sanders decided to weigh in and publicly support him. In a deep red state. That is not exactly full of hipster dudes from Brooklyn who think Bernie is MLK, John Lennon, and Jesus rolled into one. So yeah, that was totally the right strategic move there.
South Carolina and Georgia? The last Democrats who won those districts were Dixiecrats before I was even born (and I am not young). In fact, part of the reason so-called President Trump tapped Mick Mulvaney and Tom Price to be part of his administration is they were giving up “safe” Republican seats to do it.
Which brings us to my point: these were NEVER going to be competitive races.
Also, all FOUR candidates (Ossoff, Quist, Archie Parnell and James Thompson) were complete newbies – none had ever run for any type of office before.
[Column interruption two: Democrats need to start running for lower-level offices. City Council. School board. Mayor. State legislature. Let’s get candidates building a base of support and experience in both campaigning and legislating BEFORE running for national office. Also, not for nothing: four white guys. Who’s your base again, Democrats?]
But, to share a piecesof wisdom I recently spotted on Twitter:
Or as the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent (“The Plum Line”) puts it:
“the last thing Democrats should do right now is allow this loss — Ossoff fell short by just under 4 points — to demoralize them…let’s hope Democrats take a different message from this year’s special elections: The House is very much in play in 2018.”
It’s worth reading the whole article, as Sargent gets detailed on some of the math – calculated by Republican strategists – working in our favor for 2018.
As Sargent notes:
“The crux of the matter is that of course an Ossoff win would have signaled that Republicans are in very deep trouble, and that would have been great for Democrats. But the fact that this didn’t happen does not undercut the idea that the general trends still show that the House is likely to be in play next year.”
HOWEVER, that is NOT an invitation to relax and take it easy. It’s a call to keep fighting, because what we’re doing is working. We’re making up enormous ground.
But we have to keep registering people in the Democratic base to vote and getting them out to polls (hint: the base is NOT white dudebros, not that they aren’t welcome to join us – well, at least they’re welcome if they can stop acting like misogynist assholes for a damn minute).
We have to keep phone banking.
We have to keep looking for potential candidates and nurturing them to run, for city council and school board and mayor and state legislature and governor AND Congress.
We have to keep giving, to individual campaigns and candidates, to the party, to organizations like EMILY’s List or maybe Onward Together, which is acting as a signal booster and as a clearing house for donations for spunky upstart groups that are punching way above their weight right now and could do amazing things with a little more cash in the till.
So let the brogressives flash their ill-informed hot takes on Daily Kos and Eschaton and Twitter and whatnot and congratulate each other on their brilliance and tire themselves out, while the rest of us – the REAL Resistance – keep doing the work. As we do.
[Edited to add: another reason to be hopeful – Dems are turning out to vote, which is what we’ll need in 2018 to take back Congress and 2020 to take back the White House. Exercise those voting muscles, y’all!]
Image found here.
Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1