Look for the silver lining. . .

elvgrenvoteShelley from Rain:  A Dust Bowl Story reminds us to vote today, “no matter how hopeless it may seem.” I don’t share her pessimism, but that’s probably because nothing in the world can harsh my buzz this year. I’m on sabbatical! At the Huntington Library!  Getting work done!  And the election won’t change that one way or the other.

Remember somewhere [like, say California, or Colorado] the sun is shining, and so the right thing to do is let it shine for you!

I didn’t vote today–I voted a few weeks ago, as soon as my Colorado mail ballot hit my mailbox.  (It was surprisingly easy to get the state of Colorado to mail my ballot to California–I changed my mailing address online, no questions asked.)  I expect that a lot of you also voted by mail, or at early vote stations.  (I’m such a nerd I even vote in judicial retention elections.)

I haven’t been in Colorado for three months and so missed most of the usual election year $hit show, but here are my predictions:  Governor John Hickenlooper wins re-election by a hair, and Senator Mark Udall u-doesn’t.  If Dems want to win elections say, for example, in Colorado, maybe they should think about training and nominating candidates who aren’t all white men?  Maybe they should pay attention to women and Latin@ voters more than once every two or four years?  Just sayin’!  

You better bet I’ll be glued to the election coverage out here as soon as the polls start closing in the East! Bye-bye, and buy bonds, now that Quantitative Easing is over.


25 thoughts on “Look for the silver lining. . .

  1. Well, I can confirm that the sun is shinning in Denver, Colorado and maybe a great GOTV effort will let Mr. Udall have another 4 years. As uninspiring as the top of the ticket on the Dem side may be, in comparison to the GOP super-friends of Beauprez and Gardner wanting to lead us back into sagebrush rebellion, I really do hope for an optimistic outcome.

    Mostly, though, I just wanted to say hi – you’ll have to go back just about 30 years to the HC campus and a mid-level seminar reading Europe and the People without History with an adjunct professor of whom I don’t think you really fond. No idea until a couple weeks back that we ended up in the same state (MA, Geography, CU-Boulder back in the 90s).



  2. Well, hello Phil! I meet the most amazing people on the internets.

    I remember you and that seminar really well. You’re right: I didn’t like that Prof. but that was my problem. I had a bad attitude about that class. (I should have done the reading!)

    It just goes to show how education is wasted on the young. I don’t know about you, but only fairly recently have I figured out what some of my proffies had to offer and I feel I should apologize for casting it off so lightly. Clearly, my fate is to deal with occasional little creeps like me for the rest of my life. KARMA!!!

    I hope life is treating you well in Denver. I got invited to apply to a job in Pennsylvania recently, and had to say no, I thought I had already put my time in there. There are worse places to be than Colorado, for sure. I’ll be watching the election returns there v. closely.


  3. The Democrats won’t start winning elections until they stop running away from being Democrats. Why vote for a politician who’s ashamed of his or her own party, like Grimes in Kentucky who tried to sidestep whether or not she’d voted for President Obama in 2012? What would have been so terribly hard about a simple “Of course I voted for the President. I’m a Democrat!” Instead, the public got to watch her tap dance around the question. I’m not surprised she lost. I am surprised anyone at all in Kentucky bothered to vote for her.


  4. I agree, Nan. Democrats appear to have become complacent, counting on Republicans to continue to front Aikens- and Mourdock-like candidates.

    I didn’t understand Mark Udall’s campaign strategy at all. He beat the drums on abortion and reproductive rights, which didn’t make any sense because the Dems have run state government for a decade & there are no moves by the lege or the Gov to pass more laws restricting abortion rights. Yes, we have those stupid “personhood” amendments on the ballot every few years, but they always go down (as it did again last night) by a 2-1 margin for the NO vote. So even pro-choice Colorado women aren’t that up in arms about abortion, and all of them will vote for Udall anyway.

    I don’t understand why he didn’t press his work on the NSA and the National Surveillance State, which I would think has broad appeal to both Dems and Repubs in a “leave us alone” kind of political culture like we have in Colorado.

    Here’s my silver lining: it looks like my predictions were correct! Not only did Udall lose, but it looks like Hick is going to win it by a nose. It’s so close, though, that the election hasn’t yet been called. Maybe that will make up for my stunning cluelessness four years ago, when I predicted that Ken Buck would beat Michael Bennet. (Buck was elected last night to be my new congressperson. As we say around the ranch: awesome!!!!


  5. Also, more silver linings for Democrats: Jeanne Shaheen! And the GOP governor of Pennsylvania got dumped last night too.

    But that’s about it for silver linings. “Less bad that the other idiots, and ZOMG ABORTIONS!!!!11!!” is just not a winning message.


  6. To extend Nan’s and Historiann’s point, one of the principal lessons of the last several national elections is that while GOTV efforts are dandy, candidates still very much matter – the Ernst victory in Iowa and the Coakley defeat in Massachusetts are prime examples.


  7. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/democrats-lose-2014-midterms-112581_Page2.html

    “There wasn’t going to be another Todd Akin moment, the NRSC insisted. There was going to be boot camp. And it was going to be rough.

    NRSC trackers waited for the candidates at the airports. Training sessions were scheduled to start the next morning, but the ambushes started as soon as they poked their heads through the security doors.

    Over the next two days, for eight hours a day, the candidates had to watch each other stumble, stammer, run from the cameras. They were drilled on policy, then had the cameras turned on them. They were briefed on common media mistakes, then had the camera turned on them. They were shown footage of Akin and Richard Mourdock making fools of themselves two years ago, then had the camera turned on them again.

    Jon Kraushar, who does much of the on-camera training for Fox News, was there. Mitt Romney’s policy director, Lanhee Chen, briefed them on policy issues. CNN’s S.E. Cupp conducted mock interviews to help prepare them for the grilling they’d get from the media. Brett O’Donnell started with the debate prep he’d do for candidates throughout the cycle.

    Every candidate had to watch all the other painful performances. NRSC-paid for opposition research was thrown at them. Then practice questions: Did you smoke pot in college? How much pot did you smoke? Were you ever arrested? To the moderate candidates: Sarah Palin just endorsed you — what do you have to say? To the conservatives: Sarah Palin just endorsed your opponent — what’s your response?

    Mess up a question on abortion or on women, they were warned, and you won’t just sink yourself.”


  8. I think you’re right about Ernst and Coakley. I hope the Dems in Mass stop nominating Coakley–she’s just not a good candidate. People think that because Massachusetts is very Democratic that it’s also very liberal. Parts of it are, but there are a whole lot of very conservative Catholic Dems in that state that complicate Democratic politics & make it hard for women to win statewide. But it can be done, even by very left candidates like Elizabeth Warren, with a good candidate.

    I vehemently disagree with Ernst about just about everything, but I completely get her appeal as a candidate.


  9. Well, here in much-too-sunny California, not too bad an outcome. For some reason, people voted down the ballot proposition for health insurance rate increases to be regulated. Huuuuh?? I don’t understand people. Does anyone else understand people?

    The Dems did lose their supermajority. I wonder whether this means a straight descent into fecklessness again or whether Brown will give them some spine.


  10. Listening to the US election coverage here in my southern hemisphere outpost–the signal we are getting is all Mitch McConnell, all Obama’s failed presidency.

    It seems to me that Democratic candidates fell for the Republican hyperbole even more strongly than the Republican rank and file did. It’s hard to not look at the US as a place with a real racism problem and a mean streak a mile wide.


  11. “It seems to me that Democratic candidates fell for the Republican hyperbole even more strongly than the Republican rank and file did.” We’ve got an old saying around the ranch: if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. Where was the argument for ACA and all the good it has done people? No one made that case.

    truffula, you are very astute, and it’s very sad? It’s like 2002 all over again, when Democrats were apologetic about being an opposition party and hid their tails between their legs. I’m sorry that you have to see images of McConnell and his oddly melting face. If it’s any consolation, now he’s got to try to bring to heel the Ted Cruz/tea party wing, when they’re pretty sure they’re the reason the GOP won so big last night.


  12. At the moment, my congresssonal district is undecided. What was thought a safe seat appears to have been lost, but I saw neither hide nor hair of the republican who may have won — he apparently did door to door south of us, and managed to blame the drought on the dems. Sigh.

    But minimum wage initiatives won, so . .


  13. We watched President Obama’s first inauguration from overseas. It was an exciting, happy event. People greeted us like liberators just for coming from the country that elected him. We always replied “well, maybe we should wait and see what happens.”

    It does not seem to me that Obama has changed that much. Has the the context changed around him? In 2008, all sorts of left-leaning folk poured all sorts of hopes and dreams into their images of Obama, the candidate. The right wing has been doing the same to Obama, the President, ever since–for different purpose and to different effect.


  14. Not so sunny here in PA. Sure we tossed Corbett, but Wolf had no coattails. Dems actually lost seats in the House and Senate. Surely the lesson everybody takes from this is be less like Corbett (who got none of his agenda passed while more or less thinking he’s doing the right thing for the state) and more like Scott Walker (craven political moves that are all about winning elections and not at all about doing the right thing, even the Republican version of what the right thing is). Ugh.


  15. Just as I argued strenuously 6 years ago that Obama was not the progressive Jesus messiah that many lefties wanted to see (mostly so that they could pretend that he was toally different from Hillary Clinton, who for some reason they wanted to see as a corrupt, corporate-friendly Satan), so I now argue that Obama isn’t as bad as some on the left now make him out to be.

    In 2008, he ran on two big promises: 1) he would pass some kind of major health care reform, and 2) end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he did those things! Those are major, major achievements! No, ACA is not a single-payer system. Yes, he probably doomed his Presidency by not pushing harder for a bigger stimulus package in early 2009. But, he did what he said he would do.

    I knew he wasn’t a Democratic party-builder–his candidacy was an insurgency built on hope, not experience and certainly not on loyalty to anyone else. I could see he lacked killer political instincts. It was clear that he hates Washington politics–the phone calls, the rounds of gof, the invitations to the White House, the back-slapping, the bottles of bourbon. (Actually, he pretty much hates retail politics at all levels, aside from giving big speeches.) Anyone paying attention in 2007-08 could see all this. Why are people acting so surprised about it now?

    IOW, blaming this loss on Obama is just as childish as the fantasizing about him in 2007-08 was. It’s been clear for years that Democrats need to develop an agenda and a strategy of their own, apart from Obama. That they didn’t do that is on them.


  16. I’m taking a cross-sectional, non-victory tour of Pennsylvania today even as I type (and I’m not texting on the Turnpike, either!). Agree with most everything above. You could read the entire archive of this blog for 2008 as a (sub)text for what we’re looking at now. Politics, in addition to not being beanbag, is not the Harvard Law Review. I was liking Grimes in Kentucky a lot, especially in proportion to how McConnell has always driven me crazy, so it was excruciating to see (well, hear about) how she dodged the question of who she voted for. Is there anyone in Kentucky, a single voter, for whom that would have been the tipping point?

    We did take out Gov. Treestump here in PA in the hopes that we could at least get a branch campus (or branch ranch?) of Historiann, so it’s disappointing you had to say no. Hopefully we can revise and resubmit!?!

    Did Hick pull through, or did he retain an interest in that microbrewery near Coors Field to go back to?


  17. The Democrats won’t start winning elections until they stop running away from being Democrats. Why vote for a politician who’s ashamed of his or her own party

    What a perfect description of President Obama.
    He declared his admiration of Ronald Reagan, after all.


  18. I think the Republicans, as a party, have got much better use out of President Obama than have the Democrats as a party. This is a real shame.

    As historiann writes, he did what he said he would (and more–Eric Holder and voting rights, don’t ask don’t tell, changes to the way climate change is handled at an agency level, Justice Kagan, Justice Sotomayor, etc.). It’s actually a record to run on, if you ask me. There are problems too, sure, but what infuriates me is that the things Democrats should find disappointing about this presidency are not what they’re actually running away from. They’re running away from a boogeyman created by a bunch of pseudo-anti-government racists.


  19. The Obama ground game was simply not in play, and this is the worst thing that money politics have gotten us: except in states like Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the political machine is dead. Instead we have networks of operatives organized around personalities — Obama, the Clintons, the Bushes. I suspect re-districting also has something to do with this, but major donors are enticed by a political game organized around what can only be called a star system, which prevents sustained efforts in a midterm. I was appalled that I went to bed with Kay Hagen hangig in in NC, with Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill yest to come in, and they didn’t get the turnout in these liberal bastions to push her over the top. Obama has many great qualities, but his contempt for trench-style politics where you grind it out be getting nursing home residents to the polls has consequences. NY State had the lowest turnout in recent memory: 33%.


  20. With respect,Tenured Radical, please enumerate Obama’s many great qualities.
    As a life long Democrat, who has seen a once in a lifetime opportunity for political change totally wasted by President Obama, I’d like to know what I’m missing.


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