A small puzzle

The conventional wisdom is that the Democrats are in for a shellacking in the 2014 elections, and likely to lose seats in the House of Representatives and even lose their majority in the Senate, leading to even greater gridlock in the next two years. But at the same time, the Republicans are advocating social and economic policies that are supposedly alienating women, minorities, the 99%, and the young.


These two views can both turn out to be true only if they manage to suppress voting among all those groupings and are able to run up large margins among older and wealthy white males. Is this in fact the case? I haven’t actually seen opinion polls that disaggregate in this way to support this view. Has anyone?


  1. Chiroptera says

    I think part of the problem is that Obama himself and the Democrats in general have taken too many positions that have disappointed their core constituencies, leading too many of them to have decided that “there isn’t much difference between the parties after all.”

    You and I may realize that as disappointing as the the Democrats have been, there really is a significant difference between the parties. But the Democrats have never done too well trying to run on the slogan, “Vote for us; we may be awful, but we’re still a lot better than the other guys.”

  2. funknjunk says

    @1: yup, you beat me to it. I’m a progressive. The Democratic party, in trying to win non-existent Independents, never gives up an opportunity to punch the dirty hippies in the media. Which is why I am done with the duopoly for the most part. I understand your point, but I can’t do it. We don’t need liberal pressure valves, we need a revolution. I’ll vote progressive WHEN AVAILABLE, or Green, but not Democrat generally. Obama had a mandate to be an FDR figure, a generational political force, and he was a corporatist hack of the worst variety. Worse than Clinton. I can’t really even begin to put into words the disappointment I feel towards this President. We needed “I welcome their hatred” and we got someone who never met a bankster he didn’t love. It’s repugnant.

  3. says

    The main issue that I’ve heard is that Republicans have higher turnout for midterm elections. One of the advantages of having a delusional, paranoid, constantly enraged base is that they never sit out an election.

  4. moarscienceplz says

    Here in California we just had a primary election. One of the candidates for Secretary of State was Leland Yee, who has been indicted for a cornucopia of corruption charges, including attempted arms smuggling. His indictment came too late to remove his name from the official ballot. His case was all over the news for weeks, yet he received nearly 10% of the vote!
    I can’t believe that so many people are that cynical about corruption in politics, so I can only conclude that those folks had either not heard or had forgotten that Yee was the one indicted, and so they just voted for a name that has been on their ballots many times in the past.

  5. doublereed says

    From what I’ve seen it completely depends on Obamacare. And Obamacare has been doing quite well, the Republicans are having serious trouble attacking it nowadays, while the Democrats are starting to champion it.

    While the mainstream opinion says the democrats are supposed to lose, the mainstream opinion is also that Obamacare isn’t working and is bug-ridden even though that was like a year ago. Mainstream opinion is kind of slow on the uptake.

  6. lorn says

    I’ll swallow hard and vote Democratic pretty much down the line because I know the system. Yes, loyal Democratic voters are ignored, kicked to try to placate the implacable, and betrayed regularly but it is the beast deal we are going to get. The system is literally winner-take-all with the whole thing set up to exclude any third party. It is zero-sum. A failure to vote Democratic is effectively a vote for Republicans. It sucks but it is the only game in town and sitting in the mud and eating worms isn’t going to change the system. To change the system you have to win enough of a majority in the right places to gain power.

    It doesn’t matter what people thought they were getting with Obama, or what he claimed to want to do. The fact is that Obama and the Democratic side never had enough power in the right places to make structural changes. Two years of bare majorities in the house and senate isn’t good enough, particularly when a quarter of a legislators with a ‘D’ beside their name are “Reagan” Democrats, left leaning on social issues only. If you want to make lasting changes you have to alter the flow of money and lock the changes in.

    Given the situation in the house and senate I think Obama did quite well. Saving the world economy, the ACA, and getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan while under constant abuse and investigation are remarkable accomplishments. His work in Libya, Ukraine, and Syria will, IMO, look very surefooted and adroit in a few years.

    Even the VA scandal is going to have him looking good in the long run because at its root it is, and always has been, an issue of funding. The secret waiting lists were a result of the W administration telling the VA that it had got all it was going to get and to shut up and handle it as best they could. The Republicans have always been enthusiastic about being for military contractors and action, the waving the flag side, but unenthusiastic about the socialistic mechanism used to take care of actual soldiers and sailors.

    ie: They were very enthusiastic about the all-volunteer force because it allows you to treat soldiers, sailors, and marines as employees and expendable once their contract is up.

    In the last ten years the VA has been swamped under PTSD and TBI cases. Add to those WW2 and Korea vets getting very expensive end of life care and Nam vets getting into their 50s and 60s, when the bills tend to bloom, and you have a confluence of added, and very expensive costs, trapped behind a cash strapped system that was told to smile and make the best of it. For over twenty year they were good soldiers and they shut up and made the best of it. And it would have gone on behind closed doors for much longer if the Republicans were always looking for a club to beat Obama with. Of course once floated it all gets tracked back to W and funding despite attempts by operatives to float a story line that “everyone knows it wasn’t a funding issue”.

    But I digress…

    Yes, I want to see the day when the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes again. A day when unions have enough power to make or break elections and the majority of workers are active members. A day when public schools are so good the vast majority want to send their kids to them. A day when the infrastructure gets automatically funded but athletic stadiums have to be built out of owner’s pocket. A day when consumers and the other ‘little guys’ get put through to their senators and the billionaires get put on hold. I want to live long enough to see civil rights like the right to love who you want, to fair wages, and to healthcare get protection of the law before we worry about anyone’s right to wave a gun around or pollute. I want to see the corporations and the banks given a choice between willingly getting small enough to fail or being made small enough to fail.

    I want to see the nation slide left as far as it has slid right in the last fifty years. I want to see the middle class gain so much wealth and entitlement that they dictate to the lawmakers and the media. I want to see a Progressive machine that would make Teddy Roosevelt proud. I want to see a New Deal enacted that would be beyond FDR’s wildest dreams.

    I want to see it all … but reality is, as much as it pains me, that the only tool we have to work with, as bent and compromised as it may be, is the Democratic party. You have to win elections to even have the strength to move it in a progressive direction. Unfortunately, because we can’t afford to stop, we have to rebuild the vehicle as it drives down a very rough road.

  7. hyphenman says

    @ lorn

    “…but it is the beast deal we are going to get. ”

    By far that is the best typo I’ve seen in a long while.

    Thank you for making me chuckle this morning.


  8. Mobius says

    The Republican Party is so wedded to its ideology, so convinced it is right, that they seem to think everyone will finally have an epiphany and vote Republican. It is the same close-minded view so many Christians have…they are right and everyone else is wrong, and people are going to accept that in droves…eventually.

  9. Trebuchet says

    @Mano, what I think you are missing is the “all politics are local” effect. People everywhere have a very low opinion of Congress, but not of their own local Congresscritter, whom they’ll continue to support pretty much no matter how big a nut he/she is.

  10. hyphenman says

    @ Trebuchet

    That’s true. You’re absolutely correct.

    Every time I hear some news reader repeat that statistic that Congress’ approval rating is 15 percent (or whatever the number is their quoting that week) I want to reach through the bandwidth and smack them.

    No one votes for Congress, therefore everyone’s opinion of Congress is meaningless. Everyone does have the opportunity to vote for a congressional representative and, as you say, since the re-election numbers are so high (more than 80 percent the last time I checked), they generally approve of the job being done by that individual representative.


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