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Entries tagged "elections"

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Buck Up People...Progressives WON!

November 4, 2010 ·

No, I am not playing the popular elementary school game of Opposites Day. It's true. Progressives won in the 2010 mid-term elections.

As touching as it was to see Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) choke up over the retelling of his hard-knock life story of having to be a waiter in his dad's bar, tears are not so attractive on the faces of Progressives this morning. Did we all miss the news flash? PROGRESSIVES WON! Two significant exceptions are of course the tragic defeat of Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and the sad loss of prinicpled Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL). But, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus in the House Democratic Caucus at over 80 members, emerged virtually unscathed, losing only three members.

By constrast, the conservative Blue Dog Democratic caucus was more than sliced in half from 54 members to only 26. Further, of the 34 conservative Dems who voted against Obama's Healthcare Reform, a mere 12 won re-election.

Dead weight gone. Good Riddance. The blame for the stalemate to come can now fall squarely where it belongs...on the anti-progressive, anti-democratic, anti-populist Republican members of Congress.

Our work is now finally beginning. The veil of a happy Democratic governing majority is finally lifted. We didn't have it then; We don't have it now. But what we do have now is a more solidly progressive bunch of Dems in Congress and a president presumably less encumbered by the false illusion that playing nice will get him a date with the other team.

Let's thank Grayson, as well as Reps. John Hall (D-NY) Phil Hare (D-IL) for their principled time in office. Let's get Feingold on the ticket as Obama's runningmate in 2012. Let's throw our support unabashedly behind the Congressional Progressive Caucus and let's push Obama to finally do the right thing through as many Executive Orders as we can present to him.

People...Progressives WON!!! Republicans are all over the map. They're a mess and won't be able to wreak the havoc they seek. We should be energized. We must be energized. Too much is at stake. The road ahead isn't so bad as long as we have the big picture and the fighting spirit spurring us on. Progressives will be the heroes in 2012. Let's make Obama one too.

This is an edited version of an item that originally appeared on HuffingtonPost, where it drew hundreds of comments. Follow Karen Dolan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/karendolan

Glee and the Dems Get in a Funk

November 3, 2010 ·

Tonight, my politico side wanted to watch every painful second of election returns. But tonight is also my fifth grader's favorite show, Glee. So I had to watch the returns during the commercials of Glee. I found it confusing to remember which was which.

The theme of tonight's election was "Funk"...No...wait, I mean the theme of tonight's Glee was "Funk."  Either way, I knew I was headed for Funky Town...I had to watch them both through the same lens.

Mr. Shue is the lovable teacher who leads the gloriously talented if geeky Glee Club kids to heights of song, dance and morality plays each week. Imagine they are the Dems—liberal, diverse, idealistic, talented, tolerant. And Sue Slyvester, the mean-spirited, socially conservative Cheerleader Coach who hates Shue and Glee Club and diversity and tolerance represents the Republicans. Not a stretch, really.

Glee Club, in tonight's Funk Episode is being obstructed once more by Sue Sylvester as they attempt to compete in a regional Glee competition with other schools. Mr. Shue has tried compromise, reason, and bipartisanship to get the evil Sue to leave them alone. Hasn't worked. So he decides to play hardball. Says "I tried playing nice with you. But nothing seems to work." President Obama would have done well to have learned this some time ago.

Then Glee tells us "Fasten your seatbelt, everyone. It's going to be a funky ride."  And it has been. Boy it has been. The Dems held West Virginia as Gov. Joe Manchin easily won that Senate seat. But lunch-counter-rights-doubter Rand Paul won in Kentucky. Christine O'Donnell proved to be not much of a witch, losing badly in Delaware. But Indiana, Ohio, and Florida went down the road of funk. Looks like the suspiciously well-tanned Boehner will become the next Speaker of the House.

As a Glee member lamented, "Is it that bad Mr. Shue? That we're doing the wrong songs? We're in a deeper funk than ever..."

Yes, we are. It seems the Obama administration and the Dems are doing the wrong songs. What if we had sung potential hits like Universal Healthcare, Direct Public Job Creation, and Ain't Gonna Fund War No More?

Then perhaps we wouldn't have to say tomorrow, as Sue said to Mr Shue after his dirty tricks, "Have you come to gloat?" Perhaps we wouldn't have to endure the injustice suffered by Glee Star "Rachel", who gets egged as she naively runs to former BFF from the opposing team, thinking he loves her again.

Two years ago, the glee was ours to squander. Squander we did and now we have to wipe the egg off our faces, buck up and fight. The Glee kids still have the talent, the good intentions, diversity, idealism, tolerance on their side. Obama still does too. Progressives still do too.

The question is, will the anti-democratic forces take the country down the dismal road to Funky Town or will we fight back? I still say Yes We Can, Yes We Will. Look to be gleeful again in 2012.

Speaker Bachmann?

November 3, 2010 ·

The crush of coverage regarding all the House, Senate, and gubernatorial races (see below) is burying several huge political stories. Such as:

Speaker Bachmann? "There is a 'draft Michele Bachmann' effort afoot among House conservatives (and prospective members) to move the Minnesota Republican into the leadership," FOX News reports (hat tip to HuffPo's Sam Stein). That's probably going to be great for the Minnesota Republican's ego, but a disaster for the GOP as it tries to expand its political gains.

Operation Turncoat. In the likely event that they don't gain 10 seats tonight, Republicans may pressure Independent Joe Lieberman and some real Senate Democrats to join the GOP, according to The Upshot, a Y! News blog.

Sí se Puede! Last-minute polls found that Latino voters were more enthusiastic about hitting the polls than previously projected. “Latino voters are poised to surprise the political class with an unprecedented mid-term turnout," said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the immigration reform organization America’s Voice.

Meanwhile....

Dem. Chris Coons defeated Republican Christine "I'm not a witch" O'Donnell in Delaware. The GOP stripped incumbent Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) of her Senate seat and Republicans nabbed seats previously occupied by Dems in Indiana and North Dakota. Dem Richard Blumenthal knocked out Republican Linda McMahon, of the World Wrestling Entertainment empire in Connecticut. Democrat Joe Manchin will beat Republican John Raese in West Virginia, at least according to exit poll data. Tea Party fave Marco Rubio prevailed in Florida. Republican incumbents Burr and Shelby of North Carolina and Alabama, both named Richard, will keep their jobs. Dems Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Patrick Leahy of Vermont will retain their seats. In New Hampshire and Ohio, GOP candidates won seats previously held by different Republicans.

Gubernatorial race:
Dem. Mike Beebe, the incumbent, won in Arkanas. Dem John Lynch, also an incumbent, won in New Hampshire. Republican Rick Scott has a big lead in Florida, with 38 percent of the vote counted.

House races:
So far, according to The New York Times, the Dems have claimed 33 seats while the GOP has nailed 77. The Times is saying that Dems are down six seats to the GOP has gained six, including in a Virginia district where President Obama campaigned for Rep. Tom Perriello (D). Republican Robert Hurt has unseated the Freshman Democrat, The Washington Post reports.

Turning Right into a Dead End

November 2, 2010 ·

Yes, the GOP is clearly poised for a great night—especially for its most extremist wing. By 7:10 p.m., The Washington Post and CNN were already calling Senate wins for Aqua Buddhist Rand Paul in Kentucky and Republican Dan Coats in Indiana.

But I don't buy the notion that our country is abruptly or eternally shifting rightward. Here's why:

  1. The probable margin of victory. The Democrats currently have a 77-seat majority. Projections, according to The New York Times FiveThirtyEight blog, point to a far smaller majority for Republicans of probably about 30-seats. That's clearly a weaker mandate.
  2. Generic ballots. Sure, some polls are seeing a huge gap in voter preference for a generic "ballot." As the Center for Responsive Politics points out, Gallup's last pre-election poll found that way more respondents who would vote Republican regardless of the specific candidate than for an unspecified Democrat—55 percent versus 40 percent. But other polls found the gap to be much narrower across the nation, tantamount to the margin of error. A Washington Post-ABC News poll, for example, came out with 49 percent of respondents embracing the GOP and 45 percent favoring the Dems.
  3. Demography: No matter what happens in this election, even if GOP scores gains consistently over the next decade, it may easily prove to be the last gasp of extremist anti-government Republicans. The nation's bluest regions also tend to be areas with great ethnic diversity. And diversity among American children is far richer than among Americans already old enough to vote. Non-whites may well become a majority by 2042, up from one-third of the population today. Given the narrow gap between supporters of the two big parties, the difference will be felt long before minorities become the majority.
  4. Millennials. Eventually young adults stop moving so much. And once they settle down, they'll have an easier time voting in elections. When they do, the GOP will have to temper its anti-government stance or lose big. "By a 60% to 36% margin, the generation favors a bigger government providing more services over a smaller government providing fewer services," according to Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais, fellows of the New Democrat Network and the New Policy Institute.
The Midterm Elections and What They Will Mean for the Progressive Movement

October 5, 2010 ·

IPS associates Steve Cobble and Bill Fletcher Jr., as well as IPS fellow Karen Dolan discuss what the midterm elections might mean for progressives and our various issues.

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