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My take on yesterday's primaries

DCblogger's picture

It was a bad night for Versailles. All their candidates lost, although Blanche Lincoln could still win the run off. The signs have been there anytime since 2006, but this time it may have just gotten through.

On the other hand, just because it was a bad night for Versailles, it does not follow that it was a good night for progressives. As Susie makes clear, Sestak is no progressive. As for Halter, well I can't say that I am enthusiastic about someone who pays for state college scholarships with state sponsored gambling. Lotteries are an inherently parasitic funding device.

So Versailles is clearly down, but I am not sure that the people are ahead. Moreover the growing power of the brown shirts tea party is another indication of our disintegrating political culture.

Lessons for Democratic politicians: you must have some relationship with netroots. I can't imagine how Rendell could fail to appreciate the power of netroots in Pennsylvania, home of the of the highest traffic blogs in lefty blogosphere. You don't necessarily need their support, but you don't want to be appointed official villain.

I hope the whole thing gives Democrats pause about getting on board with Obama's cat food commission.

Atrios makes a very good point about Democrats now being 7 for 7 in special elections. The vaunted Republican wave does not seem to be materializing. Mostly because Republicans are not offering any credible alternative. However disillusioned voters may be with Obama, they have not forgotten why they threw the Republicans out in 2008.

Meanwhile no independent (third party) candidate appears to be picking up steam. Voters are ready for an alternative, but third party candidates have to find a way to be seen as credible. I don't know how they can do that.

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Walter Wit Man's picture
Submitted by Walter Wit Man on

They made sure the "opposition" candidates would not really oppose much. So progressives finally get that bit of "red meat" and get to vote no confidence in the current crumb-bums but again, it's a futile gesture. That's all they get. Another pig in a poke that only mildly differs from the last Versailles guy.

Versailles allowed the "progressives" to blow off steam.

Versailles has done very well co-opting any criticism from the left. The right is a bit better at challenging their party.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

While you're right that good liberals didn't sweep into the nominations, the point for politicians isn't the good of the party -- it's getting elected. A politician may take one for the team by giving an unpopular legislative vote that will have to be dealt with when the election rolls around, but he or she will not take one for the team by willingly going down to defeat. So conservative Democrats lost to somewhat less conservative opponents. The belief that the DNC has the power to award the victory through funding was damaged. Both slightly increase the probability of more liberal candidates, and of liberal policies by candidates once elected.

It's not enough of a win to send us out to dance in the streets in celebration, but baby steps, baby steps.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

yours is the 11th dimensional chess game. The turth is that Versailles is blundering around and was really taken aback by the completeness of the defeat. You can be sure that right now in Versailles there are many conversations about how we have to do something.

Walter Wit Man's picture
Submitted by Walter Wit Man on

But it's more that I don't give much credit to the anti-Versailles candidates.

The party wants liberals to feel like they're sending a message. Because that's all Versailles ever gives liberals. They certainly don't get policy wins and they don't get represented in the government or in the debate.

And Versailles does control who the opposition is. Sure, there may be the occasional surprise. But the netroots and the party has done a good job of finding fake anti-Versailles candidates and I don't see any indication they are learning their lessons.

I guess I see no purpose in working from within the Dem party other than to quicken its demise.

Hope is always around the corner with the Dems.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

The only reason that liberals are allowed in the Dem Party at all is for camouflaging its oligarchical/patriarchal agenda..

Real change does not come from electing "more and better Democrats." The idea is a pernicious and deadly fallacy. Real change comes from rejecting both parties and demanding that our government address our needs, with our money and our resources.

When people actually realize this, we might have a chance at fixing what's currently broken in our society. I just hope it's not too late when they finally get it.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

The party wants liberals to feel like they're sending a message.

They're utterly incompetent in making me feel that I've sent a message. I experience the party as running a punch-a-hippie game modeled on the carnival game whack-a-mole.

It's hard to figure out the dividing line between flexibility and suckerdom. Results like yesterday's don't justify a rush back into Democratic partisanship, but on the other hand, I'm not a good enough prognosticator to foresee what path may lead to decent policies for us all. A third party? The resurgence of one of the legacy parties? Massive civil disobedience (and how do we get there)? Some other pathway? In the meantime, I'm not yet to the point of saying, "Elections don't matter at all."

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

How can the Tea Party be exerting more influential power if the GOP still can't win? You've consistently bandied about the imminent danger of the Tea Party brigade but talk about how the GOP wave probably won't materialize. To me that seems inconsistent. If they can't have their people win, why the hell should I fear them?

Versailles did win. They always win when we continue to have, as pointed out, "hope around the corner" for the Democratic Party. The Dems are not on our side and electoral losses are no biggie to career progressives for whom elected office is basically an unpaid internship. Also, are you serious about the Dems needing to have the "netroots" on their side? Seriously? The netroots is basically just a meme laundry for Obama and his new Democratic Party.

Your analysis seems counter intuitive to much of the data we now have about how the Dems and the netroots behave. Shit, look at Lambert's recent post and the post about MoveOn earlier.

We all out to stop analyzing each and every election and how it will impact the legacy parties. Obama did change everything. He fully entrenched both parties into cooperative entities--they may not be the exact same but they do act in concert. Dems used to oppose drilling, but now they are about drilling. They used to oppose X and now they support X (fill in X with whatever you want). Further, the netroots constantly defends the shift on X. "Our" fascination with the horse race and all the possible interpretations only strengthens Versailles' position. The question is simple: what changes with the election. Apparently, not much and that means Versailles won.

Submitted by Anne on

candidates get to be anti-establishment, because once they win and have to move on to a general election, the co-opting begins in earnest. And by the time they make it to the halls of Congress, they are not the same people.

It's like some henchman creeps into the candidates' rooms in the dead of night and injects them with a virus that eats at whatever independence and integrity they have and renders them genetically incapable of processing information from actual constituents.

Publicly-financed elections are maybe the only way to break free of this phenomenon, and I wish I knew the answer to making that happen.