Monday, November 10, 2014

Gwen Graham's victory in Florida is proof of what Democrats could have done to win.

In a night when Democrats took a real beating across the country especially in the senate where Democratic incumbents lost 6 seats and will probably lose a 7th after the Louisiana runoff, and lost more seats in the House, a beating that was entirely predictable for anyone watching the inept approach and campaigns by Democratic candidates , their strategists and the DNC who refused to be honest about the failures of Democratic leadership by Obama, Pelosi and Reid,  Gwen Graham, a Democrat running against a 2 term Republican incumbent in Florida's 2nd district, a Republican district that went for Romney in 2012, beat him in a night that was an otherwise disaster for most Democratic candidates. 

And she did it by doing what Democrats all over the country should have and could have and still won -- by being brutally honest about the Obama presidency and failures of leadership of Obama, Pelosi and Harry Reid. And not being afraid to say so. 

In one debate, Graham refused to endorse Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader and now, after winning, giving Obama a lesson on how to make a statement and actually stick to it, she has come out saying she will not vote for Pelosi as minority leader. A recognition of Pelosi's failures and the real need for Democrats to clean house. And she made it clear when she said ," I am not President Obama, I'm not Nancy Pelosi and I'm not Harry Reid".  That statement didn't inspire and bring out Republican voters to vote for her, it brought out Democratic voters. 

In a year when Republican challengers beat Democratic incumbents across the country, in big enough numbers to gain seats in the House and take control of the senate, Graham was a Democratic challenger who beat a 2 term Republican incumbent in a Republican district.

If Grahams' victory over a Republican incumbent on a night when Republicans crushed Democrats doesn't make clear what Democrats should have done to win and will have to do to win in 2016, then they are too  inept to deserve to be in the majority.  And if Hillary Clinton has presidential aspirations for 2016 she needs to stop doing what she did in Iowa last month and stop talking about "Obama's leadership".

Graham won because she did something too many Democratic candidates refused to do, and what the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and their surrogates at MoveOn, People For the American Way, Daily Kos and others refused to do -- she told the truth about Obama, Pelosi and Reid while at the same time affirming Democratic polices and beliefs, the same beliefs betrayed by Obama, Pelosi and Reid repeatedly which is what brought down the Democrats in 2010 and has again in 2014.

Graham stood up for Democratic party ideals, policies and convictions while standing up against Obama, Pelosi and Reid showing she is someone who will think for herself, now and in the future. And that is what led to her victory and where Democrats lost to Republican challengers. 

That it was a failure of leadership for Democrats from the top down that cost them the election is evident that in 5 of the 6 states where Republican challengers defeated Democratic incumbents, those same states approved ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage and approved them by margins that can only be called an avalanche, some by as many as 40 points. Raising the minimum wage is a Democratic  initiative, a Democratic Party principle and that policy and principle not only won but won big in states where Democratic candidates lost big. You can say "go figure" but its not hard to figure.

You really have to be a political village idiot not to understand the lesson of Graham's victory against a Republican incumbent in a Republican district and a core Democratic policy winning in states where Democratic candidates lost.

 It was one preached here for months because it was easy to see coming, unless you were a Democratic strategist more interested in cashing your pay check and going along to get along,  rather than accomplishing your goals or an Obama sycophant with your head in the sand. And it was  based on three simple unavoidable  facts of life -- truth, consequences,  and reality. 

 The reality of the issues at the heart of the election and the Obama presidency was ignored by the DCCC and the DSCC and their surrogates who spent all their time groveling for campaign contributions thinking the only thing that mattered was money. Which also ignored David Bratt's Republican primary victory over Eric Cantor,who was not only Boehner's right hand man in the House but who outspent Brat 26-1. And lost.

There were many issues and failures of the Obama presidency that Democrats ignored not the least of which was health care reform and Obamacare. In spite of the mind bending distortions and flat out lies of the White House and the sycophancy of Pelosi, Obamacare was and is an unmitigated failure. Of the 50 million uninsured Americans before the implementation of Obamacare, most of whom are probably  Democratic constituents, one year after Obamacare, 48 million are still uninsured because the health insurance offered by the insurance company written Obamacare law was still much too expensive. Making Pelosi's mantra about Obamacare, "affordable, affordable,affordable" a joke to the 48 million who couldn't afford it.

 One doesnt have to be a political scientist to figure out how many of those people felt they had nothing to vote for and didnt even show up to vote and what a difference they might have made if Obamacare was 1/10th the success Democrats tried to claim. Or if Democrats were honest about it and pledged to do something better. Like bring back the public option.

And keep in mind Obama is still lying about the numbers. In a post election press conference he tried to claim that Obamacare enrolled 10 million people. Even that number would have represented failure since 98% of enrollments were by people who previsouly had insurance. But the actual number is a little over half that -- about 5.5 million who actually enrolled with only about 1.2 million of those people who were previously uninsured.

If this election doesn't make clear that Democrats need to not just clean house but to throw open the windows and air the place out, they will lose again in 2016 and nothing will prevent it.

They can start by learning a lesson from  Gwen Graham's victory and what it means to tell the truth, be your own person  and deal with reality even if that truth goes against the frayed idea of party loyalty when no loyalty is deserved. And at least, by replacing their leadership Democrats will begin to show the American people and rank and file Democrats, many of whom who stayed home in 2010 and 2014, that they mean business.  And that real hope and change are coming.

No comments: