Midterm Elections And A Demoralized Base: We Don't Have Bush to Kick Around Anymore

Greg Sargent and Matt Yglesias appear to fundamentally misunderstand the dynamics of midterm elections. While Sargent and Yglesias trumpet the fact that the GOP is polling badly, they misunderstand that the GOP is fired up and Dem plans to jettison a public option will demoralize the Dem base. More than any other, midterm elections are determined by the respective bases. This year, the GOP has Obama to fire up their base while democrats do not have Bush to fire up theirs.

Couple that with the fact that Obama and Dems are not doing well with seniors (maybe Hillary should have pointed out that that problem would come home to roost in 2010) and that the Emerging Dem/Obama Majority of 2008 are not reliable voters, then it is clear that Dems are in a world of trouble in 2010 IF they can not energize their base. The public option would do that. A booming economy would too. Is either likely at this point? Time will tell. More . . .

To buttress my point, let me point you to this post from Gallup about their generic Congressional ballot:

As Gallup's long-term "generic ballot" trend shows, the Democrats held a sizable lead on this measure from the time they won back control of Congress in the fall of 2006 through last month. If the current closer positioning of the parties holds, the structure of congressional preferences will be similar to most of the period from 1994 through 2005, when Republicans won and maintained control of Congress.

In 1994, the Dem Party controlled the Presidency and the Congress with a close generic ballot. Dems got wiped out in the 1994 elections. Why? a few reasons. Many long term Dem seats in the south were lost. Many open seats were lost. But I think the main reason was the GOP base was energized and the Dem base was not.

As Yglesias writes, politics is a zero sum game. One party wins and one loses. If Dem voters do not come out to vote, and GOP voters do, the GOP wins and the Dems lose, no matter what the polling says about how despised the GOP is among Americans. The onyl town hall that matters, the only poll that matters, is on election day.

Speaking for me only

< The Public Option: It's Up To The Progressive Block | A Blue State Public Option? >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Not enough pain (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by NYShooter on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 11:57:09 AM EST
    The financial debacle we've suffered, and are still suffering, wasn't quite bad enough. Sure, almost a quarter of us are without jobs, or, have jobs that pay below subsistence levels, but three  quarters of us are making it (barely).

    Wall Street, having its reckless, self-serving rip-off approved of by the Obama Administration, has given its traders the go-ahead to not only continue its prior fraudulent derivative/Ponzi racket, but to think up new, unbelievably hazardous schemes. Seniors are being sold reverse-life insurance policies where they are betting against "the house" as to when they will die.

    You don't have to be an economist  to understand that the conditions leading up to our financial disaster, having been given the stamp of approval by Obama and his minions, and now fully guaranteed against any losses by the taxpayers, must, inevitably lead to an Armageddon of never before experienced pain and suffering.

    Ultimately, all economies depend on consumers having the ability to consume. Buried in debt, wages falling (or disappearing), and nothing on the horizon to improve this situation, what scenario can you think of that will lead to a happy ending?

    Health care reform will fade into a distant memory as our economy descends into the coming bottomless abyss.

    This is already evident in NJ and VA (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 11:58:41 AM EST
    where polls show the likely electorate as being much more Republican than in 2008. It's about who isn't planning to show up.

    Well if the base (none / 0) (#18)
    by SGITR on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 02:17:56 PM EST
    is going to sulk and not show up then they deserve the loses they as voters will be responsible for.

    Myself, while not being happy about no public option, will even be unhappier with a larger and stronger GOP contingent in congress.

    Not only should we all get and and vote, we should support strong challengers in primaries against those who deserve to be primaried.

    What is being promoted here is exactly what the MSM wants to promote and that is us not showing up to vote. Why reinforce what the MSM wants?

    That is like the many blogs that help spread the MSM meme that the financial funding that took place to trouble companies was not funding but was a bailout. The very thing, the bailouts meme, that could hurt the Democratic majority is exactly what many blogs bought into and help spread among the base. I'd have to say the MSM was very effective in getting people to take up their cause and turn it on themselves.


    Meh (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 02:47:10 PM EST
    If a Democratic majority isn't going to do anything then I see no reason to waste my time voting for them. Six and one half dozen or the other which party screws me over in favor of their corporate masters.

    Oh and the banking fiasco was a bailout. The reason the companies were in trouble was because of their own absymal business practices.


    A bailout (2.00 / 1) (#20)
    by SGITR on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 03:16:40 PM EST
    is free money. None of the money was free as they were loans or equity positions. In fact as we speak we are getting interest payments and loans are starting to get paid off.

    But those are facts and you are more about emotions than facts it seems by reading your posts over the last few weeks. Which is fine because humans are emotional beings. And some can control those emotions and some can't. Some deal with facts and some prefer dealing with things according to what they want their thoughts to be.


    Oh really (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 04:01:29 PM EST
    AIG is paying us back? Spare me.

    By the way, it's swell that you are such an expert on "emotional" little ol' me. You'll forgive me if I take your armchair psychology with the grain of salt I'm sure it was intended. It must be that YOU are all emotional about the fact that 9 times out of 10 I disagree with your position.


    I'm not emtional (2.00 / 1) (#26)
    by SGITR on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 04:59:24 PM EST
    I deal in facts. Here's one:

    The U.S. government is starting to see profits from the $750 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), started last year to thwart the financial crisis.
    The government netted roughly $4 billion - the equivalent of a 15% annual return - from  eight of the biggest banks that have fully repaid their obligations to the government, according to calculations by The New York Times.

    As for AIG we hold an almost 80% equity position securing those loans to them.

    Plenty of banks have paid us both interest and/or dividends.

    I think I'm going to quit wasting my time with you. You are one of those posters who just flings baseless emotional mud against the wall hoping that some will stick. You are not serious about dealing in facts.


    And you obviously (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 05:34:33 PM EST
    are buying the distorted propaganda speak.  CWaltz' arguments speak the truth.  

    google it (2.00 / 1) (#33)
    by SGITR on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 06:55:30 PM EST
    I didn't include that some of the loans secured by preferred stock were paying minimum 5% a year.

    Sure the Feds waved interest on some loans in exchange for a higher equity in the companies in order to let them build up more reserves but we didn't give it away, we traded it for equity. And not all banks have asked for that deal. And if you look at the meteoric rise of the stocks lately we are in for a nice ROI when they buy back their stock.

    Also google quarterly dividend income that we have got from preferred stocks:

    WASHINGTON August 29, 2009 -- The U.S. Treasury has so far collected a combined $7.3 billion in dividend payments from many of the hundreds of banks to which it has loaned government capital, its latest report shows.

    Government collections of bailout dividends in July were aided by Citigroup Inc., which added $648 million to the tally as part of a deal that gave the U.S. government a 34% stake in the banking giant.

    The Treasury's report shows the government collected a total of $649.2 million in dividends in July from Citigroup and two community banks paying off accrued dividends in conjunction with their repayment of borrowed funds.

    Most banks that have received funds through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, also known as TARP, pay dividends quarterly and are expected to make payments this month.

    You two make claims but don't provide one citation to back your claims up.

    There is interest and dividends being paid. There are banks that are paying off their loans in full or in part. That's fact. You just want to believe what you want to believe when all else tells you different. Conspiracy theories aren't facts Teresa. They are just theories you have made up in your own mind.


    Spin (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Romberry on Tue Sep 15, 2009 at 03:15:03 AM EST
    Sorry, but profits are what you have left after ALL costs have been recouped. These are transactions that have had a positive return, but they are only a small part of the total.

    Let me put it this way...

    I have a buddy that likes to go to the casinos in Mississippi. He'll come back and be all giddy, telling me things like "I won 300 dollars!"

    Then I ask him "You mean you finished ahead 300 dollars?"

    "No, but I won 300 dollars!"

    How much did you start with?


    And how much do you have now?


    So, you're still down 220. You didn't really win anything.

    "But I did! I won 300 dollars!"

    The "profits" you are crowing about? They're like my buddy's 300 dollar "win". Tell me where we are in total. There has not been the first dime of profits until ALL the money has been repaid...and that is NEVER going to happen in the case of companies like AIG.


    Fact (none / 0) (#27)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 05:06:52 PM EST
    The money they are getting is at a zero percent interest rate.

    It's really easy to make a profit when your supplier is giving you your product for free.(and remind again where the Fed is getting the money from?)

    My, my your sounding a little cranky and emotional.

    Perhaps someone missed their nap today eh?


    Remind me again (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 04:08:50 PM EST
    what the interest rate it is they are borrowing from the Fed with?

    The "profits" they are making is the result of the ZERO percent loans they have been able to get to loan to people and mark up. Are you really dumb enough not to realize how simple it is to make a profit when the government is GIVING YOU MONEY TO LOAN for absolutely nothing and then you can mark up those loans with a 6% interest rate?

    So let's recap, we threw money at the problem which was used to pay exorbiant bonuses instead of unmire the banking system and free up loans. So then the Fed basically gave them money for free which they are using to generate the profit that is "paying us back". It's not a bailout though. Bahahahahahahahahaha.


    Not to forget, (none / 0) (#24)
    by NYShooter on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 04:22:50 PM EST
     besides the 750 Billion Tarp "loans," countless billions of hurriedly enacted, special FDIC guarantees, and more, endless billions of Treasury lines of credit.

    Collateral? No problem; Just tell'm you're going to Vegas and putting it all on RED. If you win, goody; if you lose, no sweat; just go back and get some more.

    Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.


    It was a wonderful deal (none / 0) (#28)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 05:17:12 PM EST
    They not only got the money leant to them to pay their bigwigs but the Fed sweetened the pot.

    I wish someone would GIVE me money so I could loan it out at a profit.

    The idea this isn't and wasn't a bailout is absurd.

    Meanwhile for extra credit tell me who gets the short end of the stick when the value of the dollar plunges thanks to the Fed cranking up the printing presses? I'll give you a hint, it ain't the banking system.


    ooops (none / 0) (#29)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 05:24:17 PM EST
    Treasury cranking up the printing presses, not Fed. I'm doing two things at once.

    The reality is (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 05:39:05 PM EST
    there isn't much difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to the corporate schilling.  And whose fault is that?  Don't blame it on the voters 'sulking'.  They're 'sulking' because they aren't getting much from their votes.

    The Democrats can easily change the tide.  They can show true differences between themselves and the Republicans.  But when they don't?  It's certainly not the voters' fault.

    When you have "no place to go" you have no power.


    Not much difference? (none / 0) (#34)
    by SGITR on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 07:09:05 PM EST
    You are mostly right. Why not vote Republican then?

    Not Republican. (none / 0) (#40)
    by Romberry on Tue Sep 15, 2009 at 03:07:59 AM EST
    Third party.

    Voting Republican is voting for a party that serves corporate power and the monied elite and uses wedge issues to divide us. Voting Democrat is voting for a party that serves corporate power and the monied elite...and makes a few concessions (or at least promises that they don't intend to keep) around the edges that divide Democratic voters from Republican voters. But either way, you wind up voting for a corporate party serving the monied elite.

    Me? Unless we get someone running that actually means what he says (Howard Dean), has a track record of actually standing up for it even if it ruffles the feathers of people like Rahm Emanuel (Howard Dean) and who seems to know that government is supposed to serve the people (Howard Dean), I'm not throwing away any more votes on Dems just so the Blue Dogs/DLC can run the show and have the party dump on me as a result.

    There is a difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. But's the space between them is about as much as .. <--the space between those two dots.


    I do not think you are responding (none / 0) (#21)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 03:31:48 PM EST
    to my comment.

    I've seen elections where bases are (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 12:02:19 PM EST
    demoralized.  All we need to walk through the door then is simple ranch man who looked up to Jesus, a white knuckling teetotaler that we might want to have a beer with.  Or a soft spoken simple California rancher who became disillusioned by all the Hollywood elitism and saw that it simply needed to be morning in America again.

    Would that (none / 0) (#4)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 12:04:12 PM EST
    tea totaller actually be a dry drunk instead?

    I suppose so (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 12:07:00 PM EST
    I always thought of them as the same thing.  Sort of like how all these Republicans say horrible things about being gay because they can't deal with the fact they are ummmmm well.....not sure about themselves or who they really want to see naked.

    Not that anyone (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Spamlet on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 12:06:00 PM EST
    would have listened to Hillary.

    Obama and Dems are not doing well with seniors (maybe Hillary should have pointed out that that problem would come home to roost in 2010) and . . . the Emerging Dem/Obama Majority of 2008 are not reliable voters

    How quick we forget (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 12:25:13 PM EST
    The fact that we're even considering  a blood bath in 2010 shows just how pathetic the Democratic leadership is.

    We aren't even a year out from the total disaster of 8 years of Republican rule and already there's people throughout the country willing to turn the role of leadership back to them. It's amazing.

    Our voting options are either destructive leadership or ineffective leadership. Two great options.

    All of Pelosi's House is up (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by oldpro on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 12:46:25 PM EST
    for election.  All.  So, explain me why she's backing off the PO.  Does she really think to trade the base for the bluedogs?  Or has Rahm had a come-to-Jesus meetup with her?

    The Senate is conservative (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 01:12:00 PM EST
    by its nature.  Only the House has the potential to be truly liberal - if I find a liberal to vote for, I will.  I'm not going to worry about their party affiliation.

    In my eyes (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 01:21:35 PM EST
    the sooner we can get rid of "party affiliation" the better. Both parties use it to play regular people off each other and fatten their pockets.

    Party affiliation (none / 0) (#11)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 01:27:07 PM EST
    is also used to run for office.  Is Obama a Dem?  Would he have run as a Dem in a redder state?  Did he need that party affiliation and the money and organization?  

    Right now, in order to play the higher stakes political games, you need the support of the big parties.  This may change if some headline grabbing upstart manages to upset major state race or a minor national race.  If the Rs and the Ds keep up their abysmal track records, I'd expect to see that by 2020.


    It's used to run (none / 0) (#13)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 01:41:09 PM EST
    BECAUSE of the fact that the two large parties are corporate whores, not in spite of

    Would we just end up having that shift if we were to introduce more than the two parties? Evidence suggests that it might(Joe Lieberman is an example) However, having more than two options might mean that they'd have to split more of the proverbial pie and water down corporate interests. Or at least that is what I am hoping.


    "water down corporate interests"... (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by oldpro on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 02:02:11 PM EST
    ....dreams of my mother...

    Money (none / 0) (#17)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 02:15:37 PM EST
    I'd like to see 4 parties. Liberal Dem, Dem, Rep and Conservatives but with the money needed in today's elections, I just don't think it's ever going to be a reality.

    An argument to fire up the base (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by jbindc on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 01:38:20 PM EST
    Is starting to make the rounds already:

    Those who oppose Obama are racists.

    Now, I'm not saying that some of those who oppose him on the extreme right really don't like him because of race, but are we going to start hearing this again for the next 3 years?  Comments like this:

    "We think all of it is!" exclaimed Gwen Dawkins, a Democratic activist from Michigan and retired state employee when asked to what degree the fervent opposition to Obama was driven by his skin color.

    Oh good gawd (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 01:49:28 PM EST
    I hope that activist is planning on paying my insurance bill when mandates with no public option raise premium rates through the roof.  Wow, I am such a racist because I don't want that to happen.

    Personally, I think it's racist to allow Prez Baucus' bill to pass, since the burden of low income falls disproportionately on minorities.  Yes, I know the poor may get tax credits, but those don't necessarily make insurance premiums, copays, deductibles, coinsurance affordable to them.


    Ohhh (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 01:51:13 PM EST
    he's a retired state employee.  He gets subsidized insurance as part of his retirement and doesn't have to worry about pre-existing conditions resulting in rescission, etc.

    The bill won't affect him much....therefore he doesn't have to care that it's sh*t.


    Are we going to start (3.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 09:50:22 PM EST
    hearing accusations of racism again?  I don't understand the question -- since they never stopped.  (See: Gates-gate. . . .)

    And I never expected them to stop.  After all, that strategy worked.


    Are we going to start (1.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 09:50:29 PM EST
    hearing accusations of racism again?  I don't understand the question -- since they never stopped.  (See: Gates-gate. . . .)

    And I never expected them to stop.  After all, that strategy worked.


    CC I think you've set a record. (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by oculus on Tue Sep 15, 2009 at 02:57:46 AM EST
    You post the same comment twice and garner a "1" rating for each comment!

    Ah, but the record-setter (none / 0) (#43)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 11:19:03 AM EST
    is the ever-entertaining idiot who did the redundant ratings, dontcha think? :-)

    9 months is a long time (none / 0) (#32)
    by s5 on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 06:36:23 PM EST
    In 9 months from now, if unemployment improves (which is likely once the major provisions of the stimulus kick in) and if a good health care bill passes, the Republican antics of this summer are going to feel very distant and very silly.

    Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I remember Palin's RNC speech as a turning point in the election, when I first expected that Obama was guaranteed the presidency. My friends thought I was crazy, of course.

    So my point here is that things play out in ways that are completely unexpected. Watching Kerry's defeat in 2004 after we spent so much energy to protest Bush drove that home to me.

    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 14, 2009 at 08:30:59 PM EST
    a lot of can change in a year BUT so far the indications are not good. Unless most of the economists are wrong we are looking at a jobless recovery and that's not going to be a winning issue. Obama wasted the stimulus by being too timid and it hasnt really done anything yet so there's no guarantee that it will either.

    You think unemployment will be... (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by Romberry on Tue Sep 15, 2009 at 03:30:52 AM EST
    ...better nine months from now? I can't think of anyone in the biz with any credibility (Krugman, Ritholtz, Stiglitz, Martenson, etc.) who agrees with you. I sure as hell don't agree. At best, unemployment nine months from now will be right around where it is now. I expect it to actually be a bit worse. The days of employment snap-back and "V" shaped economic recoveries seem to be over.

    As far as getting a "good healthcare bill", I think that's about as likely as an October snow in Miami. It could happen, but it ain't likley. In fact, what's looking likely is a bill that is both going to make the base (and many others besides) hopping mad and which won't kick in anyway until 2013. What's going to happen is that Democrats, instead of seizing electoral advantage by passing a very good bill, are going to be saddled with the responsibility for having passed a bad bill that no one at all (except big insurance and big pharma) likes.

    How we came to this juncture where we have the golden opportunity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is no mystery. Ineffective leadership, post-partisan unity shtick and a hidden agenda of party corporate servitude are all part of the fiasco.

    Obama? He's exactly what I thought he was. And a great many of his supporters, young voters who are not known for reliable turnout, are fully aware that the change he promised is not only not here, there is no indication that Obama is even trying to bring it.

    When you win elections based on the cult of personality rather than on policy and platform, this is what happens. I'd be happy to be wrong, especially if I thought that the Dems would actually begin to stand up for things that Dems traditionally stood up for, but I doubt that I am. If control of the House of Representatives changes hands next year, I will not be overly surprised.


    Dems On The Line (none / 0) (#38)
    by norris morris on Tue Sep 15, 2009 at 12:27:10 AM EST
    Hillary actually did call it.

    Obama disagreed with her Healthcare Reform proposals which heavily emphasized the PO.

    Obama's sluggish summer of dithering and throwing the issue to Congress was a strategy developed to be the UnClinton.  But it backfired and obama allowed the republican leadership vacuum to control and frame the healthcare debate. There wasn't even the push back of rapid response we saw that was used so well on the stump.

    If there is anything, it will be a highly compromised mishmash. Obama has met with BigPharma and Insurance and the deal for $80 billion in ten yrs [drugs] is supposedly bartered for $150 milion in advertising BigPharma will pony up for ads favoring Obama's policies [and re-election]. Remember that doughnut hole in Medicare Drug Plan?

    So the democrats will lose out hugely with seniors, and that comes as no surprise.