• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Democrats Take Stock

Karen Handel Victory SpeechI am stuck by the following headline in the NYT:  Democrats Seethe After Georgia Loss: ‘Our Brand Is Worse Than Trump’.

Now, I do think that the party needs to do some self-assessment (something that is difficult for a non-hierarchical party to actually do, by the way, because despite superficial appearances there is no central leadership that can actually direct the whole party).  However, losing a close special election is a district that has been in Republican hands since 1979 (or, even losing four special elections in total in Republicans districts) is not, per se, evidence of what the headline asserts.  It is proof of the enduring importance of partisan identification in predicting these kinds of outcomes and the difficulties associated with flipping such a district.

Further, while it may well be a good idea to replace Nancy Pelosi as minority leader, as the article discusses, the reality is I am not so sure there is good evidence to suggest that in our system that the leader of the party in the House really has all that much influence on district-level election outcomes.  Unlike in parliamentary systems, voters in the US really do not focus very much (to put it mildly) on who the legislative leaders are. Yes, it comes up (each side often likes to demonize the leaders of the other party), but given that congressional elections really are far more about the the district and the candidate than they are about organizing a given caucus, I am doubtful that the main problem for Democrats is who the minority leader is.

Yes, as the story notes, “Ms. Pelosi [is] an intensely unpopular figure on the right and a longstanding target of Republican attack” I am not convinced that replacing her would be enough to get Republican voters to switch to vote Democratic.  Indeed, it is rather likely that whomever the Democrats select as leader would become, pretty quickly, “an intensely unpopular figure on the right” and “a target of Republican attack.”  The question is not, ultimately, the popularity of a figure most voters probably cannot identify, but about somehow converting Republican voters into Democratic ones–a transformation that is difficult to achieve in large numbers in a short amount of time.

To be clear:  I do think that that Democratic Party has to hone a message and it needs some new faces.  But, the nature of our political system is that capturing the legislature is a lot less about a coherent set of policy proposal than one might like to think.  First, putting together a truly national campaign for Congress that is based on a shared legislative platform beyond the vague and general almost never happens in the US.  The last time this happened was in 1994 and the Republican Contract with America.  Second, while there is input on campaigns, mostly in the form of money, from Congressional and national party leadership, our campaigns are very much candidate-centric and district-focused.  All of this is a result of parties that at not hierarchical.  There is no ability of centralized party leadership to require and enforce a given message.  This is fundamentally because candidates are not selected by party leaders, but via primaries (the significance of which, as regular readers know, that I think most people do not appreciate).  Further, campaigns are funded primarily by individual fund-raising by candidates and is augmented (sometimes significantly) by outside groups operating independently from the campaigns themselves.  None of these very fundamental issues are conducive to formalizing a centralized, disciplined message for a party.  Rather, it is a recipe for the aforementioned candidate-centric, district-focused types of campaigns. (And, as a side note, a special election can create an illusion of a national election, but ultimately, it is still about the district).

And it simply cannot be ignored that structural conditions (i.e., the partisan make-up of a given district) is a huge issue for determining outcomes.  While it is certainly true that Democrats had a chance in the recent special elections, the reality is that the deck was stacked in each district in favor of Republicans.  This is not to excuse any number of valid criticisms of Democrats, nor is it to make Democrats feel better about the outcomes, it is just about understanding outcomes and assessing generic criticisms.  When we look at elections we often make an assumption that the contest is evenly matched and that whichever team works harder and plays smarter will win.  This is not typically the case, as most districts favor one or the other party.  This is not to say that this is destiny in all election, but it matters substantially (and more than the hype around a given contest tends to acknowledge).

Ultimately for a variety of reasons, including geographical sorting and gerrymandering (more the former than the latter, by the way), Republicans have an edge in House elections (and often in state-level legislative elections as well, which reinforces the gerrymandering issues).

All of this is to say that simplistic assumptions like, as I heard in passing on the news this morning, that Democrats “need to learn how to win” or hoping that a message change or a leadership change will fix everything for the Democrats misses some key institutional issues in the US.: our parties don’t work that way, and the structure of the electoral system determines quite a bit of the outcomes.  Democrats “know how to win” in districts that are skewed in their direction (the much-maligned Pelosi won her 2016 election 81-19, so she knows how to win, right?  I am sure it was her message, as coordinated by the party that won the day for her, and the massive percentage of Democratic-identifying voters in CA12 hsd nothing to do with it).

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. MBunge says:

    Democrats don’t need to worry about losing a special election. They need to worry about only controlling the House for four out of the last 24 years and having the majority in the Senate for a little longer than that. They need to worry about the GOP being closer to doubling them in Governors than Democrats are to parity.

    They need to worry about losing over 1,000 state legislative seats while their party was being led by one of the most charismatic figures in American political history. And they need to worry about how their entire party establishment and most of their voters bent over backward to give their Presidential nomination to someone so obviously terrible that she lost to Donald Trump.

    And both Democrats and Repubicans need to learn the lesson of Trump, and Obama, that you are not helplessly trapped by the system or circumstances. The world is what we make it, all the way through, and change is always possible.

    Mike

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 7

  2. Stormy Dragon says:

    Dear Democrats,

    Please don’t run Hillary Clinton again in 2020.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

  3. Pete S says:

    I am not convinced that replacing her would be enough to get Republican voters to switch to vote Democratic. Indeed, it is rather likely that whomever the Democrats select as leader would become, pretty quickly, “an intensely unpopular figure on the right” and “a target of Republican attack.”

    It is important to remember this. I imagine there are Republicans working on a file of talking points against a half dozen possible replacements for Pelosi in case they are needed. It is pure fantasy to imagine that any Republican in Georgia would have switched their vote to a Democrat if the House Minority Leader were somebody else.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

  4. Tony W says:

    The Trump/Russia/Mafia reporting aside, Democrats are simply terrible at playing hardball.

    They introduce logic – not passion. They reject silly arguments simply because they are silly, without considering if they are effective.

    Democrats build the bridges which the pitchfork-wielding Republicans use to slaughter them.

    All of America loves our meritocracy narrative – but for different reasons: Republicans find it useful to the job of keeping down the masses, but Democrats genuinely believe a stronger argument will win the day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    Getting beyond personalities I think it’s high time that the Silent Generation began letting go of the reins of power and the very early Baby Boomers need to start backing out as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    @Tony W:

    The problem isn’t “playing hardball”. It’s basic retail politics. You’ve got to run candidates that know the districts and are known in the districts. You’ve got to build grassroots organizations.

    That can’t be done from 430 South Capitol Street.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  7. Jen says:

    Democrats need to do a lot of things, but the big thing is identifying the messaging that is needed to win state level seats. Focusing on the top prize(s): the presidency, U.S. Senate seats–is not how you build a deep bench for long-term success.

    2018 needs to be a year that they win as many *state house* races as possible, so that they are on better footing to win in 2020. That’s a redistricting year. More seats at the state level means a much deeper bench for higher office, which is desperately needed. I am going to lose it if I keep seeing Bernie’s name, or Warren’s name, or heaven help us all, Clinton’s name, suggested for 2020. Good grief–are there NO young stars? (Yes, there are. Jason Kander is at least one to watch, IMHO.)

    Blaming Pelosi seems like a cheap shot–she’s the target because she’s the easiest to identify right now. Hone the message, raise money (a LOT of it), and start focusing on state-level races. This isn’t rocket science.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  8. Jen says:

    @Dave Schuler: I think that’s equally true, if not more so, for the Republicans.

    McCain’s performance at the Comey hearing–late night baseball viewing or not–did him no favors.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  9. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    Sometimes I wonder if Clinton will be willing to step aside. I think that attaining the presidency has become the point of her life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  10. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Dave Schuler: Yes, this would help. I don’t see it coming except at the hands of the grim reaper. Boomers, particularly, have always been “the most important demographic” during our lifetimes and we seem reluctant to get off the stage and let “someone else’s mom be proud of him or her.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  11. Mike in DC says:

    @CSK: Hilz has explicitly said that she has no interest in running for president again, and I take her at her word. I think she took such a beating and took that loss so hard that she has no interest in reliving that experience. She might stay in the political discussion through PACs and through helping out the democratic party, but I don’t see her running for any elected office again.

    It’s possible that Chelsea might run someday, but I suspect that she won’t, given what her parents have gone through.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  12. al-Alameda says:

    @MBunge:

    And both Democrats and Repubicans need to learn the lesson of Trump, and Obama, that you are not helplessly trapped by the system or circumstances. The world is what we make it, all the way through, and change is always possible.

    I agree, change is always possible although I would add that it is not inherently good or bad. We make the society and culture we live in.

    In terms of national presidential politics:

    (1) The lesson of Trump is that both good character and obvious strong personality disorders do not matter; if the voters want change they will set aside character to get the change.

    (2) The lesson of Obama is that being a moderate Black politician will get you no cooperation on Capitol Hill; voters give lip service to centrism and moderation then elect the current House, a place where a majority of members are not interested in centrism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  13. CSK says:

    @Mike in DC:

    Oh, I know. But how many candidates have said “I have no plans to run again,” and then they’ve…run again. Richard Nixon told us we wouldn’t have him to kick around any more, and lo and behold, we did.

    In Clinton’s case, it must be especially galling, given that she won the popular vote by 3 million.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  14. john430 says:

    From elsewhere…

    For Democrats, the math is more daunting today. Democrats need to net 24 House seats next year to gain a majority. Georgia-06 is the 28th-most-Democratic district that Republicans hold (based on Hillary Clinton’s vote percentage in 2016). For Nancy Pelosi to become speaker again, Democrats would need to nearly run the table in more-favorable districts—or pick off seats in places even more forgiving of Trump. It’s possible, but a little less likely given Tuesday night’s results.

    One Democratic operative tracking House races said the generic ballot is around 6-7 points in their favor. To regain a House majority, it needs to be closer to a double-digit advantage by next November.

    The big tell that the race wasn’t as favorable for Democrats as the early conventional wisdom was when Ossoff’s paid messaging never mentioned Trump, and barely mentioned the GOP’s health care efforts—despite the uproar against both in Washington. Democrats saw polling, confirmed by good shoe-leather reporting, that the district’s skepticism of Trump was not nearly as red-hot as most people expected based on cable news coverage.

    The journalist has noted previously that voters seem to approve of Mr. Trump’s agenda—particularly his focus on American economic revival—much more than they approve of Mr. Trump

    In sum: Democrats need cohesive message(s) that resonate with the middle class. Pushing transgenderism, anti-capitalism and bashing the USA will not get them on the national scene.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

  15. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    need to learn the lesson of Trump, and Obama,

    What? That numbskulls like you place zero value on competence and are extremely easy to con?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  16. Andre Kenji says:

    The problem of the left, worldwide, is that the left is used to have labor unions providing political infrastructure to the center-left parties. With unions losing their political strength center-left parties all over the world are ending without any basic political infrastructure.

    That’s what left of centers parties should be doing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  17. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Mike in DC: Hilz said that in 2014, too, and we all remember how that one worked out. Sadly, Hillary is the epitome of the old joke about not lying all the time, only when her lips move. Unfortunately for her, she owns more of that reputation than she should–“wiping the server, like with a cloth?” is only one example.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  18. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @john430:

    voters seem to approve of Mr. Trump’s agenda

    You mean the agenda he cannot deliver?
    I realize that it is very difficult, by human nature, to admit that you are wrong.
    But at some point, aren’t you going to have to?
    Just look at health care. What they are about to pass is absolutely nothing like Don the Con campaigned on. During the campaign he said he was going to create wonderful health care. Now he calls what is about to pass “mean”.
    6 months in and he is the least effective so-called POTUS ever.
    So much losing…you’re going to get tired of losing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  19. gVOR08 says:

    Indeed, it is rather likely that whomever the Democrats select as leader would become, pretty quickly, “an intensely unpopular figure on the right” and “a target of Republican attack.”

    Very true. The GOPs have honed character assassination into a very effective weapon. Since they can’t run on issues it’s about all they’ve got. This is why I’ve never bought the Bernie bros arguments. The GOPs were building Bernie up to weaken Hillary. If he looked like he might be the nominee, they’d have cut loose on him.

    Admittedly they’d had decades to work on Hillary, and Pelosi. Obama benefited from coming at them quickly. They would have started from scratch with Bernie, but they’d have made him out to be an enfeebled old communist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  20. gVOR08 says:

    @Tony W:

    They (Dems) introduce logic – not passion. They reject silly arguments simply because they are silly, without considering if they are effective.

    Sadly true. Dems talk about facts and reason because they care about truth. GOPs care only about power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  21. SenyorDave says:

    @john430: The journalist has noted previously that voters seem to approve of Mr. Trump’s agenda

    I’m in favor of large parts of Trump’s agenda. Who wouldn’t be? He said he would have a wonderful health care plan, better coverage at a lower price. I’ve worked as an actuary in a prior lifetime, and I know that what he promised was a complete crock. If it were profitable it would already exist. Trump’s agenda was generally “elect me because I have a secret way of accomplishing everything you want”. Now he’s going to give us lower taxes without increasing the deficit. How? He’s lying. He won by lying and making stuff up.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  22. Scott says:

    @john430:

    barely mentioned the GOP’s health care efforts—despite the uproar against both in Washington.

    You’re exactly right.

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Trouble is that you are focusing on Trump. You got to say what you are for.

    Every democrat needs to say: Healthcare is a right and I will work to repeal the AHCA and reinstate the ACA.

    If they can’t even do that little, then they don’t deserve to win.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  23. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Scott:
    Trouble is that you are focusing on Trump. You got to say what you are for.
    You are, of course, correct but I was responding to a comment.
    What Democrats should really be saying is lets fix the problems with the ACA, and not rob 23 million people of their health care in order to give Don the Con and his Goldman Sachs cronies a massive tax cut.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    What a shock…Don the Mendacious now admits he doesn’t have tapes of his conversation with Comey.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  25. Mikey says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Of course he doesn’t. Anyone with an IQ higher than their shoe size knew he was bullshitting.

    This will make no difference to most on the idiot right, of course, who will continue to regard him as more trustworthy than Jim Comey.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  26. SenyorDave says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: So President POS makes a veiled threat that turns out be a lie. He’s normalized behavior that parents would not tolerate from a toddler.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  27. James Pearce says:

    @Pete S:

    It is pure fantasy to imagine that any Republican in Georgia would have switched their vote to a Democrat if the House Minority Leader were somebody else.

    Saw a Tweet earlier today that said something like, “Old white men are looting the country, and you’re complaining about Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris?”

    Rather typical lefty dross: racist, sexist, and completely missing the point.

    If “old white men” are looting the country, Pelosi and Harris are not stopping them. Might this, rather than the old BS about non-Democrats being awful, be at the root of Dem problems?

    Asking for a friend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 10

  28. Jen says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    What they are about to pass is absolutely nothing like Don the Con campaigned on.

    Yeah, but a lot of what would actually hurt Trump’s voters, like the destruction of Medicaid, won’t take effect until 2020. They’ve basically rigged it to explode after the next election, which makes me wonder who they think will be in charge at that point. I guess they think that if Trump manages to win a second term, it won’t matter that things go south during his second term? Honestly, I have no clue what they are thinking, but the health care bill on a quick scan seems awful. (Not surprising…but…)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. TM01 says:

    @Tony W:
    Democrats introduce logic! #LULZ

    But OF COURSE you have to ignore the Trump-Russia thing when you say that. Because there is ZERO logic thinking there’s anything there!

    You also have to ignore the leftist proliferation of the belief in the Wage Gap. Ignore their belief that gun control works. Ignore that Democrats think that cops are (literally!) committing genocide against black people. Or that Socialism works. Ignore that Democrats still think Obamacare is a success.
    And you have to believe that every Hillary lost because of The Patriarchy. And Sexism. You have to believe every criticism of Obama was Racism. You have to call every policy disagreement Raaaacist!

    Democrats are all about emotion. Pushing granny off a cliff. Republicans hate you! Will put black people back in chains! We’re ALL GOING TO DIE because Trump left the Paris accords!

    Good lord.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 18

  30. Jack says:

    @gVOR08:

    Very true. The GOPs have honed character assassination into a very effective weapon. Since they can’t run on issues it’s about all they’ve got.

    Unlike the Dems, who use actual assassination. Since they can’t run on the issues, it’s about all they’ve got.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 17

  31. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jack:
    With every comment you get dumber, and dumber.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

  32. Jack says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: If I wanted your opinion I would have beat it out of you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  33. teve says:

    Joe Scarborough‏Verified account @JoeNBC · 3h3 hours ago

    The GOP bills raise deductibles, cuts coverage and slashes Medicaid. Trump promised repeatedly to voters he would do none of the above.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  34. Jen says:

    Somewhere in this assessment process candidate recruitment needs to be examined. Ossoff seems like a nice young man who has a future, but he wasn’t able to bring much to the table as far as experience goes. I think that affected his chances. Ignoring the names, party affiliations, etc., if you put the two resumes side by side, she ran on experience–that he didn’t have.

    That doesn’t mean that young candidates can’t run and win; they can. But candidates with depth are going to do better (current occupant of the White House notwithstanding).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  35. @Jen:

    Somewhere in this assessment process candidate recruitment needs to be examined.

    Indeed, and this is why I talk about primaries. Primaries mean that the party does not have direct control over candidate recruitment and certainly not of selection. (Unless by “the party” one means the partisan-identifies who show up to vote in the primary elections).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. @Jack: A very persuasive and serious argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  37. Tony W says:

    @TM01: Whatever you have to tell yourself to sleep at night.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  38. Mike in DC says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: fair enough, but she’ll be over 70 by then and I get the impression that she took the 2016 loss hard. Remember, she wasn’t able to pull herself together for a concession speech that night. I get that she has said this in the past, but I believe her this time, but this might just be me being gullible.

    Honestly, I’ve long believed that the most important thing the democrats need to do is to rebuild at the state level after 8 years of neglect, because that will solve a lot of the problems mentioned above (e.g. finding good candidates, looking for and being able to exploit unexpected, local opportunities, increasing the number of democrats in state and local offices, organize a voter id outreach that ferries people to and from their homes to get their IDs). But I have no idea if they’ll be able to do enough in time to start winning some races and getting their collective acts together. 2018 is going to be a dress rehearsal for 2020. If the democrats screw that up, they’ll lose the house for another decade. Tom Perez is doing a lot of the things to start anew (I hear he cleaned house and fired most of the DWS staffers and replaced them, hopefully with competent people), but the Virginia elections are 4 months and change from now, and there’s a lot of work to do between now and then.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  39. Tony W says:

    @TM01: At the risk of engaging you on your “arguments”, the scientists, teachers, philosophers, writers and engineers of this world are overwhelmingly liberal in their views. If you think that’s the ‘ZERO logic’ crowd, then you should probably revisit your opinions.

    Oh, and…it’s not the liberals who get all angry when somebody does something bad to the flag.

    We get angry when somebody does something bad to a fellow human being.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  40. Ben Wolf says:

    @SenyorDave: Trump has a great plan for cutting taxes without increasing the budget deficit. You just throw 25 million people off their health insurance and then give that trillion dollars to the Waltons.

    Everybody wins.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  41. Jen says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The parties do recruit though–at least back in the dark ages when I worked in politics we did (at the state level). While we never committed to supporting a candidate in a primary, there were always state committeemen and women who were the eyes and ears in a community, and would talk to business owners and others (in one case, a former NFL player), and encourage attractive candidates to consider running for office. The best candidates were the ones with deep ties to the community and solid rolodexes to call on for support. The party didn’t need to support one candidate or the other in a primary–usually the one identified by the local committeepeople was the one who really did have the community support.

    Finding the right people that make sense for the district is starting to feel like a forgotten art form.

    One more thought on Ossoff: I think it is perfectly logical and consistent that Republicans and Independents who voted for Hillary over Trump in that district because she was the candidate with the experience would vote for Handel…the candidate with experience. All of the wailing and gnashing of teeth about this special election is becoming a bit much, in my opinion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  42. @Jen: You are correct: they do recruit persons to run (although exactly how much varies). However, even if the local party recruits a candidate, there is no guarantee that the chosen candidate will win the nomination since primary voters don’t always cooperate.

    My point is that, ultimately, the parties are very decentralized and there is no way to construct a coherent party message.

    Indeed, what you describe kind of makes my point insofar as you are noting a district-centric approach.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  43. Guarneri says:

    @Tony W:

    Good to see that delusional thinking is still alive and well at OTB.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  44. Hal_10000 says:

    @MBunge:

    This, I think hits the nail on the head. I put up a post on my own blog about how the Democrats really need to clean house. Pelosi should have been out after 2010. The entire leadership should have been gutted after the 2016 debacle. The commitment of the Democratic Party to its failed leadership isn’t loyal, it’s dumb. The batting coach of the Tamp Bay Rays is held more accountable for wins and losses and the DNC is. This is one thing that Republicans seem to grasp. They ditched Gingrich after a bad election. They’ve ditched others after political failures. If 2016 had gone the other way, there would have been a bloodbath in GOP leadership positions. Take all that political capital you’re burning defending the reputation of Clinton or Pelosi or whoever and invest it in building the party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  45. bandit says:

    @Hal_10000: It’s all about the $$$$$$$

    Pelosi raises millions and millions from Blutopia and spreads it around. This is the Dems big problem – they are hooked on the cloistered donor base and that’s the only place they can win. So you end up with nominees like Pajama Boy in Ga and the refugees from the old folks home for the Dem establishment. People like my Dad who served in the USMC and worked in a union all his life aren’t going to support a party that doesn’t support them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  46. Andre Kenji says:

    @Hal_10000: Exactly. If you don’t mess with a winning team you should change a losing one. Organizations that keep their leadership when things are going wrong is something that we expect from state owned enterprises of banana republics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. john430 says:

    Regardless of one’ political affiliation one fact about Obamacare is this: It was and still is unsustainable. Insurers are leaving the exchanges in droves after gigantic losses.

    As a Republican, I can blame Bush for foolishly relinquishing control of the pricing when he instituted prescription drug availability for Medicare. Having said that however, we still need health insurance portability across state lines, and…if liberals truly want a national plan–HUGE premium increases.
    A single payer plan would mean hundreds of thousands of unemployed insurance employees, a massive new hire of government employees to administer the program at wages and benefits much larger than the private sector offers AND little or no incentive for cost-containment.

    And–like it or not- illegals account for millions of dollars of uncompensated care losses at hospitals.The cost to the American taxpayers of 11 million illegal aliens is estimated at $346 billion annually, according to the National Research Council. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, in a 2010 report, showed an estimated $717 million in uncompensated medical care incurred by undocumented immigrants in the state’s public hospital districts that included 99 facilities. California’s losses are even worse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  48. Rick Zhang says:

    Realistically given the constructions of the US electoral system, it will be hard for any party that represents urban elites (Democrats) to win up and down. They can run up huge margins in NYC, DC, and SF/LA, but that doesn’t net them enough to win the presidency, the House (due to gerrymandering), or the Senate. A proportional representation system would be much better at capturing this discrepancy. In other words, Dems in the US may be like Labour in the UK – too weak to rule and too strong to die.

    Or maybe as another person put it, in times of plenty American voters get greedy/selfish and vote Republican. Then when the Republican inevitably screws things up they panic and charge Democrats with cleaning up the mess, which takes time, after which voters feel comfortable enough to get greedy/selfish again.

    It’s the behaviour of primal amoeba, not an informed voting public. If I want to take American democracy back before Jeffersonian (not even Jacksonian) democracy, does that make me a liberal elite or a conservative reactionary?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  49. @Rick Zhang:

    A proportional representation system would be much better at capturing this discrepancy.

    Exactly. The system is not adequately representative, and hence the underlying frustration–the source of which the vast majority of people do not comprehend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. Matt says:

    @john430: Since I live in Texas and I’m very familiar with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission I went looking for this report you failed to cite. I have looked through all the reports they released in 2010 and have been unable to find any of the “statistics” you’ve stated. Do show me a link to this report the one backing your $346 billion annually claim too. While I’ve been able to find the $346 billion annually claim on google all the links seem to go to right wing sites who then fail to provide any citation of the actual report they claim they are reporting on.

    Also the vast majority of people who go to ERs are not illegal immigrants no matter how many right wingers try to claim it. I’ve been involved with indigent programs here in south Texas where you would have a much higher chance of seeing illegals. You can stop by the ERs at any point in the day and you’ll see the waiting room full of residents who just happen to be too poor to afford a proper doctor. Just because someone looks Mexican doesn’t mean they are an illegal alien….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  51. Matt says:

    @Matt:To clarify since my edit didn’t go through properly. I want links to both reports directly so I can see them myself.

    What’s even more depressing about going to the ER is the number of people there who wouldn’t be there if there was singlepayer or medicare for all. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure for sure…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  52. bill says:

    they’re running out of fringe groups to rep-
    and throwing tons of cash at anyone who can try and beat a republican in a shit contest- that’s desperation on steroids.
    essentially they’ve twisted so far left that they’re alienating the moderates who voted dem because they “had to” (unions, gov’t. workers/welfare types who just want security)
    ruining healthcare broke the back on others who realized they made a terrible mistake.
    so aside from running on “abortion” scare tactics and “bathroom rights” they just don’t offer much.
    and really, how do you cut taxes for people who don’t pay them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  53. Moosebreath says:

    I found this article interesting on how we got to where we are and how we could have gone in a better direction in the past:

    “Contrast that with America’s approach. Just when government needed to adapt and learn how to regulate a world of new behaviors, we elected as president a former actor who proclaimed that “government is the problem, not the solution.” Rewriting the rules in vast sectors of the economy was left to the private sector rather than addressed democratically.

    No surprise, then, that managers and investors saw their incomes soar, while everyone else saw their incomes gradually decline. With all that money to contribute while political finance rules were essentially scrapped, business owners sharply increased their influence on politicians’ decisions. Everything from tax rates to environmental regulations to drug patents was impacted, left to the owners to define the rules. It’s no wonder that so many Americans came to believe government was useless and corrupt. It was deliberately redesigned to be that way.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0