How Democrats Lose Elections

Despite being in the majority (and technically winning 6 of the last 7 Presidential elections), we Democrats do a good job of losing when we could have won. Some of it is due to the left’s refusal to support a candidate who isn’t liberal enough for them.

This meme brought that to mind recently:

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Ignoring the insult that compares liberals to dogs eating vomit, the underlying point makes sense.

“But no,” some reply, “Even if you add the 3rd party votes to the Democratic side, they still wouldn’t have won in some of these races.”

The problem with that argument is that it ignores how elections really are won.

It ignores the donations given to the other candidates that could have gone to the Democrat. It ignores  the volunteers who worked for the other candidate that could have been working for the Democrat. It ignores the people talking about their candidate instead of the Democrat.

An election is won before election day, by the work and investments made by a campaign. Splitting those resources that could have been used to convince even more people to get out and vote for the Democrat could have made the difference in each of these elections.

At the same time, better candidates would have made a difference. Humphrey, Carter, Mondale and Hillary Clinton just weren’t candidates that inspired people in the way that Obama and Bill Clinton did. But when you don’t have that better candidate, splitting the resources only gets Republicans elected.

Dedication to purity may be noble, but it ain’t politics. Politics is about winning and about getting as much of what you want as possible, as I’ve said quite a bit recently (while making some of my more “pure” liberal friends angry).

 

How Democrats can lose again: The litmus test

The GOP is doing its damnest to rip itself apart, fighting among themselves, looking like fools, and with the lowest approval rating for a President in his first few months ever.  So Democrats can be optimistic, right?

Nah. This is kind of what we had over the last year and we still lost, didn’t we?  Oh, sure, you can argue that technically we won because we got more votes, but this is America, and we’re still doing things stupidly simply because a bunch of rich white men 225 years ago thought it was a good idea.

We Democrats will screw it up again. We’re already seeing that. Democratic Representative Ben Ray Luján said there will be no litmus tests for candidates as the party looks to get a majority in 2020. Roe-v-Wade-protest

Liberals are already screaming, because we don’t want anti-abortionists taking away our rights. How dare we support a candidate like that!

Well, while in a perfect world, I’d agree with that, the bottom line is that we need to win in places where we usually don’t if we want our majority back (especially given GOP dirty tricks involving gerrymandering and voter suppression — without those two things, we’d probably already have a majority).

So we can be absolute purists and then whine about how perfect we are while the GOP keeps its majority and destroys everything we stand for — or we can face the real world and understand that it’s better to support a candidate you agree with only 70% of the time in order to keep out one you agree with 0% of the time.download (5)

“As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America,” said Luján. Does that mean we may end up with candidates who aren’t perfect?

Well, sure. But it’s better than ending up with elected representatives who are sworn enemies.

We, the People, rejected you. Stop lying about it.

Look, Trump people. We rejected you. We rejected you by a large amount — almost 3 million votes. On the chart of “winners” of our elections, Trump is the Biggest Loser. The next on the chart is George W. Bush, who lost by half a million.

The people said loudly and clearly that they don’t want you or your policies. loser

You only won because of an ancient loophole we’re stuck with — something that should have been removed long ago.  This is like a baseball team getting the most runs but losing the game because of a 100 year old rule that says that the team who has the best uniform wins, decided after the game by a group of people who are biased in favor of one team.

That is nothing to be proud of, and it is certainly not cause for you to lie and claim that you have a mandate to destroy everything the majority of Americans specifically voted against you not to destroy.

If there is a mandate, it is for the exact opposite of what you claim.

But then again, look at your leader — a lying ass who only cares about himself, who has spent his entire life cheating the system to get what he wants, by declaring bankruptcy as a business strategy and by suing everyone until he gets his way. What did we expect, huh? Of course you have no problem with abusing the system to serve yourself.

And the saddest thing is this:  You don’t give a damn. You’re proud of your dishonesty. You’re more than happy to screw over the majority of Americans as long as you get what you want. Hell, that’s basically the platform you ran on.

So don’t act all surprised that we say “Screw you, we didn’t choose you.” And don’t act all pure and innocent when we point out that America rejected you.

We’re not poor losers — we’re the winners. You got off on a loophole, you weaselly bastards, and there’s no way to spin that into support.

The Electoral College and the Founder’s Intent

There is a movement now to encourage the electors to choose Clinton over Trump when they meet next week. “It’s what the Founders wanted,” supporters say, with backing to support it. “The whole idea of the Electoral College was to prevent mob democracy, where the people could elect someone completely unqualified.”make-america

While I agree that “completely unqualified” accurately describes our current President-elect, I have to reiterate what I have said here many times:  I don’t care what the Founding Fathers wanted. We shouldn’t be tied to the past simply because of what a bunch of rich white men thought about a world that no longer exists.

My dislike of the Electoral College could not be stronger. My blog post about it a few years ago has generated the largest comment section of anything I’ve posted here, and it still generates lots of hits. And it’s not like the Electoral College hasn’t already changed since its original inception.

If you are in favor of democracy then sure, the electors should choose the person who actually won the popular vote.

But ironically, that’s not what the people calling for the Electoral College to choose Clinton are saying. They want the electors to choose the popular vote winner but that this is the exact opposite of the will of the Founders. The Founders set up the Electoral College to stop the democratically elected winner from becoming President if he was unqualified.

Even if you accept the argument that the electors should choose who they want no matter what the vote was, that’s not the reason the electors should choose Clinton. They should do it to send a message that we’re sick and tired of an anti-democratic provision in our Constitution and that we reject the Founding Father’s idea that the will of the people can be thwarted by an elite group of electors, following an arcane procedure that rewards states over citizens.

How to Honor the Founding Fathers with the Electoral College

“The Electoral College was set up with a specific purpose in mind and we should do what the Founding Fathers want,” people say to me whenever I argue for getting rid of it.

Well, fine. If your desire is to do what the Founding Fathers wanted, then we’ll need to change a few things.Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

  1. Stop having Presidential elections. There’s nothing in the Constitution about them. The Electors are chosen by the state legislatures in any way they wish. They could choose the lobbyists who give them the most money if they wanted to.
  2. How the state legislatures are chosen is not provided for in the Constitution either. So we should allow states to just appoint these people, too.
  3. The Founding Fathers also intended that whoever came in second place would be Vice President. Nothing wrong with that, right?
  4. Even if the states do decide to have elections, those states should only allow white men who own property to vote. Hey, do you want to honor the Founding Fathers or not here?

Of course, in those days where it could literally take weeks to travel from state to state, each state was much more independent and unique, almost like the way the European Union is now. We were less a country than a collection of independent states (which is why we are called the “United States of America” and not just “America”).

That changed quickly. People started seeing the President as the leader of all the people and not as just some figurehead off there in the distance. (Seriously, does anyone know who the leader of the European Union is?)

And the states started having elections to choose this leader. Congress decided on a date for these elections — because that’s not in the Constitution either — and soon, the popular vote winner in that state decided who the electors were. By 1824, this led to the election of Andrew Jackson, exactly the kind of person the Electoral College was set up to prevent getting into the White House. Thus, within forty years of the writing of the Constitution, while some of the Founding Fathers were alive, we had already moved away from the original intent of the Electoral College.

So for those of you who say we should keep it in order to honor what the Founding Fathers intended:  You’re 200 years too late.

Why are people still knocking on my door days before the election?

Someone asked why people were knocking on doors campaigning this late – surely everyone has made their minds up by now.

One of the most important things a campaign can do is go door to door, identify which voters are going to support the candidate, and then make sure they have a ride to the polls. It’s not about convincing people to vote for your candidate at that point.vote-button

On election day, you call them again and remind them to vote and get them to the polls if they haven’t already. You have volunteers with cars (and donuts and coffee) to take them.

This is the Get Out the Vote part of the campaign that wins elections. The GOTV part of every campaign is important.

Trust me; I used to do this for a living. I was a campaign manager for a state rep in Boston way back in the 80s.

Here’s how it worked:

We had a list of registered Democrats. We’d go door to door, talk to them, and then put numbers next to each name. 5 meant they were definitely voting for our candidate, 4 meant maybe, on down to 1 meaning absolutely no way.

When you’ve contacted all the Democrats, then you start knocking on the independents’ doors.  If you get through them (highly unlikely; by this time, that’s a lot of doors), you can try knocking on Republicans, but there’s probably a better use of your time.

Then as the election gets close, you call them to remind them, starting with all the 5s. When you’ve finished the 5s, you go to the 4s, and so on.

And on election day, you do it again, to make sure they have voted and see if they need a ride.

That’s how you win elections.

Hillary has a strong GOTV organization. Trump has none. It will make a difference in close states.

Why you should always vote

It seems strange to me that I have to defend voting against people who argue with a straight face that you shouldn’t — either because “your vote doesn’t matter” or “no one represents me”.

Trust me — your vote matters. That’s why they spend so much money trying to get it. That’s why Republicans try so hard to keep Democrats from voting.vote-button

And there are good candidates out there. Quite often they don’t make it past the primaries because people don’t vote. People don’t pay attention. They don’t get involved; they don’t read about the elections, and then when the election rolls around, they say “Hey, no one represents me” — which might not have happened had they done something about it.

I am involved in my local party. I go to meetings, I encourage candidates to run, and I’ve even run for a minor office myself (and won). I read about politics, I write about politics, and I contribute to politicians I like. And I vote. And because of this, I have a say in who these candidates are. I can affect the results.

Complaining that no one represents you in an election when you are doing absolutely nothing to change that seems like whining to me. And you know you’re going to end up with one of them, so at least vote for the lesser of the two.  Surely one represents your views better than the other one.

Democracy means we are the government. We, the people. We have a say in what our government does. The candidates answer to us, not the other way around.  They represent us.  They are not the government, we are.

If you don’t participate, then they ignore you. And then you get what you deserve.

The people who do vote (which are pretty much always Republicans) win elections, and then the stupid Democrats think “Guess we should be more like Republicans” and move to the right. Whereas if we voted in the same number as Republicans, we would win many of the elections and no one would be saying that. But because we stay at home, our candidates lose. So what do their campaign managers say then? “We need to appeal to those people who do vote, not those who sit at home and complain without doing anything.”

It’s not going to change from the top. It has to change from us at the bottom. And complaining without action changes nothing.