Maddow to conservatives: “You guys, we’re counting on you.”

Many of us here have been thinking this exact thing …

Rachel Maddow on Obama’s Re-election – YouTube.

The competition of democracy ought to result in the spiraling upwards of ideas, a competition to see who can out-do the other in confronting problems.

What we’ve had is that the Democrats trying to address health care, climate, our broken immigration system, etc., while Republicans deny that they are problems and tear down attempts to deal with them — or insist on ideology versus data. Problem is … reality always wins in the end.

If we had cooperation, credit would be shared. Both the Democrats and Republicans would have higher approval ratings. And the country would be better off.


32 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. This is why I *love* Rachel Maddow

    This is a marvelous piece, she says precisely what needs to be said.

    Thank you, Rachel.

  2. That is perhaps

    the best commentary yet on election 2012. Very, very well done.

  3. Republicans did *not* get shellacked in 2012

    I’ve heard and read this a number of times in the past few days, and the fact is, it ain’t true.

    Sure, Obama got POTUS. The Dems won the biggest prize, the GOP lost it. True.

    Sure, the Dems gained a few seats in the Senate when 6 months ago it was a good guess that they’d lose a few. The Dems still hold the majority, and it still isn’t fillibuster-proof, but great.

    Let’s look at the House though. The GOP had the edge on Nov 5 by 240-190 (5 vacant). As of now, it’s 234-195 (6 still uncertain). The Dems seem to have nibbled a few more of the 435 seats, but they sure as hell didn’t “shellack” the GOP for the House. On a presidential election year (higher Dem turnout) when the Dem candidate won POTUS, the Dems seem to have underperformed.

    Now, let’s look at governors. 11 races, and the GOP gained one mansion. Dems lost on this one.

    Now, lets look at state legislatures. Dems switched 8 from GOP (or tie) to blue; GOP switched 3 from Dem (or tie) to red. Dems won, right? Well, it turns out that in terms of total legislative seats, the GOP seems to have done better. The GOP won 347 of the 608 open seats. They also have more new legislators than the Dems (676-639). I don’t know the actual number of Dem/GOP state legislators just before or after the election (out of ~6000 total). Nor do I know the total change. Still, it sure as shootin wasn’t a shellacking of the GOP at the hands of the Dems.

    Reality check: there are 23 states which have a GOP governor and GOP lower and upper legislatures. The Dems have total control of 16. Two have blue lege and GOP gov, 3 have GOP lege and blue gov, two have split lege with GOP gov, two have split lege with Dem gov, and then there’s Nebraska.

    We won the POTUS thanks to a remarkable candidate and election game, a mediocre GOP candidate. We gained in the Senate thanks to two consecutive cycles of the GOP doing remarkably dumb stuff (rape comments and GOP primary-ing out their own incumbents). We didn’t win anywhere near enough House or Senate seats given that 2014 is a really tough cycle for both (mid-term goes against POTUS party and Senate map really unfavorable in ’14), and we lost ground at the state government level.

    The Dems did better than the GOP, that’s for sure. However, I really think that the Dems are overplaying the meaning of the election. This election didn’t prove that the culture war is over, that people are OK with taxes, or that people haven’t stopped confusing love of country with love of fighter jets. It proved that Americans expect at least 20th century thinking about women. La de freaking dah.

    • But did the Tea Party?

      The Tea Party may have cost Republicans up to 6 U.S. Senate seats in the past two election cycles. I believe the point is that Republicans need to wrest control of their party back from the lunatic right fringe.

      No one is saying they shouldn’t be more conservative than Democrats. But there is a difference between a policy based on “We need to properly adjust the tax rate to help spur economic growth” and “All taxes of any kind are bad, bad, bad!” A difference between “We cannot afford to sustain retirement benefits at the current levels” and “Anyone who’s on government assistance and doesn’t pay federal income tax is a moocher.”

    • And to pile on...

      Until the Dems figure out how to win more than merely electoral votes in PA, OH, IN, MI, and WI, we got nothing.

      Let’s review, shall we:
      Pennsylvania: 20 EVs Dem. 1-1 senate. 5 D – 13 GOP House. GOP governor. GOP upper house. GOP lower house.
      Ohio: 18 EVs Dem. 1-1 senate. 4 D – 12 GOP House. GOP governor. GOP upper house. GOP lower house.
      Indiana: 11 EVs GOP. 1-1 senate. 2 D – 7 GOP House. GOP governor. GOP upper house. GOP lower huose.
      Michigan: 16 EVs Dem. 2-0 Dem senate. 5 D – 9 GOP House. GOP governor. GOP upper house. GOP lower house.
      Wisconsin: 10 EVs Dem. 1-1 senate. 3 D 5 GOP House. GOP governor. GOP upper house. GOP lower house.

      So, let’s recap: five states where Obama is 9-1 on election night. Not all the rust belt states are listed, and PA is only rusty on the west half, but go with this. When you think Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, I think the instinct around here is to call those states, in aggregate, blue leaning. But look at the numbers as of Nov 7 2012:

      EVs: 64-11 Dems.
      Senate: 6-4 Dems.
      House: 19-46 GOP.
      Governors: 0-5 GOP.
      Legislative houses: 0-10 GOP.

      Want to throw in Illinois and Minnesota? Be my guest. In IL, Dems have a 1-1 tie in the Senate, a 12-6 advantage in the HofR, and the state government. In MN, Dems have both senators, a 5-3 advantage in the HofR, and state government.
      EVs: 94-11 Dems.
      Senate: 9-5 Dems.
      House: 36-55 GOP.
      Governors: 2-5 GOP.
      Legislative houses: 4-10 GOP.

      The fact is that the Democrats have a gaping problem with the rust belt. Despite the fact that the Dems can win EVs and senate seats, they’re terrible at winning governorships or legislative races for the House or the state legislature. I’m worried that not only did the Dems not shellack in this part of the country, they may be losing ground. We may see a rust-belt plus south establishing a GOP government for a long time. The GOP has really solidified its numbers in the South — they’ve spent 20 years whittling out the Democrats from their state governments and their HofR seats. In the rust belt they gained tremendous ground on the 2010 tea party, but didn’t cede it back this time around.

      Obama took all but Indiana — and yet the Dems still get creamed in most races there. You think the Dems are going to do better in 2014 when Obama isn’t at the top of the ticket? I hardly think so.

      • I could have pointed to a bunch of

        Dem governors in 2007 or 2008. The GOP did very well in 2010, not only in federal races but even more so in state races. That enabled House gerrymandering. But not too long ago we had Rendell, Strickland, Granholm instead of Corbett, Kasich, Snyder, and a bunch more Dem legislatures and House members.

        As we’ve seen in our Mass. races, the Dem turnout was very high in 2012, as in 2008. It was not in 2010, in my opinion due to policy and, just as important, messaging mistakes made by the Administration. So a bunch of Republicans won at the state level as a result of the crap turnout. Early in 2010 plenty thought that would doom Deval Patrick too.

        So I don’t think these states are all-Blue, but I also don’t believe they will be Republican-dominated at the state level for years to come. They are in play and we need to craft messages to win them.

    • Nationally, we won. We improved the

      Senate; we now have more and more progressive Democrats. More states will come around. North Carolina didn’t used to be a swing state. The GOP has done its best to slow things down with redistricting, but demographics are in our favor.

      The GOP has also shown its true colors. They have defined itself as racist, sexist, and financially elitist. Sure, after 4 years of crazy GOP propaganda, and a lousy economy, Obama won by a thinner margin than we would have liked, but that’s an accomplishment in itself. More Americans are seeing the GOP more clearly today than they were before. That’s great.

      We’re fighting a war. This election was only one battle. Credit the President for starting an attack on the .1%. Credit the people who fought the voter suppression to vote. Credit the people of color who came out in larger numbers. Progress doesn’t come about by flipping a switch. There are fits and starts, losses and victories. At the very least, this was a win because a Republican victory would have been a disaster.

      • The numbers just don't show it

        NC is a great example. Sure, their EVs are now in play, but they used to be solid blue at the state level, and now they’re clearly solid red. Governor, upper house, lower house. Solid red. Look up the data. At the state level, same goes for VA. Their POTUS and SOTUS are blue, but everything below that is overwhelmingly red.

        Our team captain is better than their team captain. But, our starters are even with their starters (Senate and House). The fact is though that their minor league players are crushing ours.

        We ought not run around proclaiming a mandate or the meaning of this election, that good is beating evil or that demographics are going to win this for us. The data just doesn’t show it. The Southwest may be trending blue, but it seems to me that the Rust Belt (and WV) is trending red. Mean time, the GOP has made tremendous gains in purging the Democrats out of elected office in “red states” in the past 6-10 years.

        We need to stop proclaiming how the American people are finally figuring out that the Dems are on the side of truth and justice and equality and liberty and apple pie and start figuring out how we’re going to turn the Rust Belt blue again, how we’re going to push VA and NC back to blue at the state level, how we’re going to keep our gains in the Southwest but push Arizona blue, and how we’re going to stem the tide in Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, three states which used to be purple but aren’t likely to stay that way for long. Then we’ve got to figure out how to do better in Florida, which shows the same trends as the Rust Belt with respect to its elected politicians.

        • Politics isn't the answer

          I wholeheartedly concur with this analysis.

          To me, it says that politics isn’t the answer. I think it’s time to start asking tough questions of our other social institutions. What are our religious institutions doing to address the racism, sexism, scapegoating, and misogyny that are too prevalent in these regions? What role does economic suffering play in exacerbating these disorders, and what stances do those religous institutions take towards that economic suffering (and its perpetrators)? Where does education fit in? What role does our media play? Journalism?

          Can we, as a society, afford the “Business is business” attitude that gives permission to and even encourages behavior that we would label “sociopathic” in an individual?

          I suggest that as we collectively find the courage and patience to address the causes of these social disorders (and that is how I view them), the political problems will solve themselves.

    • Slight error.

      I missed Chris Christie. Tough to do, but I did it.

      Dems have total control of 15 states, not 16. Three have blue lege and GOP gov. The rest seems like it’s still correct.

      And yes, I considered RI gov blue. He’s ind formerly GOP, but he’s liberal enough in this context.

      • I think both sides are correct in this discussion

        As I am fond of saying, politics is a lagging indicator. I think that stomv is, sadly, correct in his analysis of the current situation (as we’ve come to expect from him). I also think that, while “shellacked” is perhaps an overstatement, the racist coalition that served the GOP so well since 1968 has been killed by the changing demographics of the US.

        Sadly, too many of the working class regions that we’re talking about have deep racist (and xenophobic, and misogynist) cultural roots. It takes many generations to change such attitudes, and the change agents must be consistent and patient. The Democratic Party has, sadly, been neither consistent nor patient enough in those areas (The “Blue Dog” Democrats hurt, not help, this process). Meanwhile, the GOP has happily pandered to and inflamed those attitudes and in so doing set back progress by years or decades.

        Please allow me to circle back to Rachel Maddow’s commentary. I think her major point remains directly on target — the electorate has rejected the bizarrely delusional hysteria of today’s GOP. The nation needs the genuine perspective of all players, when that perspective remains based in reality, rationality, and logic.

        Such a perspective would lead the GOP to abandon and reject its race-baiting, sexism, and scapegoating — this can only be good for the swing states, the GOP, the electorate, and the nation.

    • shell-ackt.

      Let’s look at the House though. The GOP had the edge on Nov 5 by 240-190 (5 vacant). As of now, it’s 234-195 (6 still uncertain). The Dems seem to have nibbled a few more of the 435 seats, but they sure as hell didn’t “shellack” the GOP for the House. On a presidential election year (higher Dem turnout) when the Dem candidate won POTUS, the Dems seem to have underperformed.

      You’re confusing what you want with what actually happened and, as always, the one is found to be decidedly lesser in comparison with the other: that we’ve spent all the effort to get to the same place we were before is, I’ll grant, rather frustrating but isn’t an indication that the effort was for nought. Ask your self what would have happened in the absence of that effort… Yeah, scary. A GOP sweep. Absent miraculous political superpowers that not even Elizabeth Warren possesses, this is the BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME and one that NOBODY SAW COMING.

      The Dems beat ALL the odds except one: the gerrymandered HofR. The red state legislatures gamed the system and that is THE ONLY reason the Dems didn’t gain further in the HofR.

      • Don't forget the voter suppression movements

        With Florida being the most egregious example, we should not forget the nationwide full-court press the GOP mounted against minority voters. The long lines, delayed counts, frustrated voters — all those served to undercount the minority turnout.

        These results were much better than they might have been, and I suspect not nearly as good for the good guys as they would have been if minority voters in Virginia and Florida (just to pick two places) could vote as easily as wealthy whites in those two states.

      • Don't get me wrong

        our effort was well placed and I’m glad I and you and many others worked for victory. But I’m not confusing anything. I’m looking at how things changed between Nov 5 2012 and Nov 7 2012, and not finding a shellacking. If we had 60 Dem senators, a majority in the House, and controlled more than half of the legislatures and corner offices and held our own I’d call that a shellacking. But the fact is, we weren’t “winning” going into this election, and we held our own. We were ahead in POTUS, even in Congress, behind in legislatures, and behind in governors. We kept POTUS, are still winning (filibuster-able though) in the Senate, still losing in the House by more than a few votes, and still losing substantially at the state level, even coming out behind on the governor’s elections.

        My point is simply that this was nothing like the election victories of 2006 or 2008. We simply didn’t have substantial gains down ticket. We got a POTUS, solidified our senate lead hopefully by enough to withstand the bloodbath we’ll face in 2014, and picked up a half-dozen House seats or so.

        That ain’t no shellacking.

    • To be fair

      the House is very tough to take back right now. The GOP won control of many states in 2010, just in time to gerrymander like mad. I read there were more votes for Dem House candidates than GOP, but not enough to win anything close to a House majority. This could be a problem until the 2022 elections.

      PA’s House districts were rigged in the 2000 redistricting, and the Supreme Court declined to get involved. Post-2010 it’s worse. Not really indicative of statewide antipathy to Dems, they just drew their maps really well for the GOP.

      • Well sure, but that's because they dominate at the local level

        The GOP is destroying the Dems at the local level. They were winning heading in to 2010, and ran up the score in the state house and state senate in the 2010 races. 2012 came, and we didn’t really climb back. We didn’t undo their 2010 wave — not even close. That’s the problem.

        We didn’t shelack ‘em. Not even close. For Maddow to suggest we did in the D-R context (not the POTUS context) is her projecting a wishful thinking.

        • Actually, I think it's more like

          cheerleading. And it needs to be done. It doesn’t do much for you or me, but others need and respond to it. It’s a mistake to consider Rachel’s editorial as deep analysis.

          The fact is, we need to keep up the fight. We’re not at a tipping point. It sucks that we may have to fight Obama if he tries to give away the store away in a misguided Grand Bargain.

          I’m enthusiastic about Warren. She knows a lot and will catch on quickly. If she’s pissing of the Globe already, she’s going in the right direction. They just aren’t anywhere near as important as they think they are.

      • For the record, more Americans voted for

        Democratic House members than Republican House members, at least in the vote tally so far. Apparently it’s something like 53.9 million to 53.4 million. Yeah, that and a Charley Card will get you a ride on the subway … but it speaks to the structural uphill battle Democrats face in the House.

        There was a lot of talk about the difference between popular and Electoral College, but almost no attention on the difference between the popular vote and House districts. Why is that? The Democrats have a slight majority among House of Representative voters yet are down something like 200-235 (not all of those are official, 6 still haven’t been called).

        2010 was a bad election to lose ground in state legislatures.

    • I do think that the handicap...

      … of the economy understates the win here. Based on the relationship between the economy and past electoral performances, the GOP had all the context they could want going into a cycle. That they lost anyway speaks pretty huge actually in my book. Granted the outcome wasn’t a landslide – but the outcome compared to the likely outcome based on electoral correlations with economic indicators was huge. Keep in mind also that the gerrymandering of house districts in general handicap Democratic candidates to begin with as well.

      Maybe all this matters a little less so when you also factor in that they were overconfident about what they could get away with in running nominees from outer wingnuttia, but they had an absolutely golden lay-up here and miffed it.

      To sum up, it’s not just about the outcomes but the outcomes vs. expected outcomes that measures the magnitude of an accomplishment.

      • I was planning to post on the economy soon

        Your point is a good one — the GOP should have won this year based on the economy.

        • Sure

          A year ago, if somebody offered King Democrat the results we got on Tuesday, I think K.D. takes the offer. There’s no question, things could have been much, much worse.

          The Dems did well to hold ground at the ballot box given the economy and the redistricting of 2010. I’m not criticizing our performance on the whole. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t act like history will look back on the elections of 2012 as evidence that the GOP policies of X, Y, or Z were soundly rejected by the voters. Even our results on gay marriage this time were fabulous, but they were in much friendlier territory (Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington) than most of the country. All four of those states are varies degrees of blue. Sure we finally (!) got ballot box wins on this issue, but what we got on gay marriage is progress and a glimmer of hope, not a crushing and shocking breakthrough.

          • hold up there...

            I’m just saying that we shouldn’t act like history will look back on the elections of 2012 as evidence that the GOP policies of X, Y, or Z were soundly rejected by the voters.

            … now I might agree with that statement. But that isn’t the same thing as a shellacking. This was a beat down regardless of the wider historical context.

            Consider: The GOP arrived standing tall with a grin and with attitude like nobody’s bidness.

            They didn’t leave that way.

            They slunk out under the weight of several glossy coats of expertly applied shellack.

            So, to recap:

            In: happy and cocksure. Out: weeping copiously and cock blocked.

            That’s a shellacking.

            Now we can argue if it has greater meaning amidst the wider scope of voter rejection, demographics and all that… but none of that changes the fact that they got beat and beat down and the only thing that saved it from being a total rout was the gerrymandering of the HofR.

          • How we should act

            Bush II certainly did not take your advice in 2004.

            Policy discourse being what it is in this country, it is politically smart exactly to claim that GOP policies X, Y, and Z have been roundly rejected: Create peer pressure to eschew the moronic.

            Your K.D. argument could even be justification for saying there was a Sound Rejection.

    • Not shellacked but decisive

      If the Republicans cannot retake the Presidency or the Senate with the winds at their backs as it was this year, then they are in serious difficulty under more typical conditions.

      There is a possibility that Club Austerity may send the Euro-Zone into a deep recession. The effect on our economy will be negative and on Republican prospects positive.


      Add to that: they’re stuck. They’re locked into epistemic closure. They will not free themselves from the strong gravitational pull of Limbaugh/Hannity/Huckabee. The combination of demographics and detachment from reality will gradually make them as small politically as they are intellectually.

      • Check out Chris Hayes...

        … this morning. A really fascinating discussion that got to some real underlying dynamics that are not necessarily immediately obvious.

        As long as the GOP figures that motivating the base involves stoking the fears of white christians, they’re going to have a problem convincing others that they are also on their side as well. The real problem here is that while conservatism, as a set of policy prescriptions, doesn’t necessarily have to include stoking the fears of white christians, but that is the way it gets its market share. I don’t know if conservatism minus the stoking can gain enough of a cohesive base to be competitive and I think that is the fear that is keeping them from evolving. Even Regan – the most hopey-changy expression of the conservative id – had to invoke welfare queens.

        Add to that the fact that conservative media makes its bread and butter on stoking fear and you really have a conundrum for conservative leaders. I think it will be crazy difficult to unify them into a pivot away from this strategy and it will either cause them to abandon any evolution effort or create so much internal conflict that it will get much worse for them before it gets better.

  4. Not much change to be expected in governorships.

    I think there were only a handful up this year. If I recall correctly 30+ states elect Governors every 4 years on the midterm cycle like we do and NH and VT are the only two states that still have two-year terms.

    • Yes, and I know

      NJ and VA elect governors the year after the Pres. election, removing at least two more from the equation this year.

    • There were 11 or 13 this year...

      and we lost one of ‘em, gained none. I’m not arguing that we should have landed a half dozen new corner offices, but we shouldn’t have one fewer Democratic governor in a year where we were applying the shellack.

      • Not buying it

        Democrats won 7 of 11, which is pretty good. They held in Vermont and Delaware with incumbents seeking re-election, but also in West Virginia and Missouri, which are increasingly conservatives states. They held with Democratic incumbents retiring in Washington, Montana and New Hampshire. Montana and New Hampshire are no gimme for Democrats.

        Where else would you want them to have won? They lost four races: two to incumbents in Utah and North Dakota. Utah hasn’t had a Democratic governor since 1984, North Dakota since 1992. The Democrats dominated the mid-20th century while hardly ever winning in either state.

        Dems also lost an open seat in Indiana, long the most conservative of the midwestern states. The GOP candidate (Mike Pence) was better known than the Democrat. That leaves North Carolina. Gov. Purdue declined to run again, announced only early this year, and four or five prominent Democrats passed on the race and the GOP won.

        Losing in three of the more conservative states in the nation, and one more in arguably the most conservative region in the nation (in a state that will continue to trend Democratic in demographic terms) does not a debacle make.

        I’m not suggesting the Democrats dominate on the state and local level. But I don’t think this year’s results indicate the contrary either. 2010, admittedly, was a disaster all around. But it means we’ll have a lot of Republican governors to take aim at in 2014.

  5. Conservatives to listen to

    There have been a lot of lists compiled of conservatives who were convinced (convinced!) that Romney was going to win — and not just by a little bit. These lists are fun.

    But look at who is not on those lists.

    In fact, there are a number of conservatives who did predict an Obama win. There you have a measure of being reality-based. Those will be the conservatives answering Maddow’s call.

« Blue Mass Group Front Page

Add Your Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Wed 29 Mar 1:06 PM