No election post-mortem would be complete without insights from a couple of Democratic luminaries and occasional TDS contributors named Mike Lux and Robert Creamer, both of whom are posting at the HuffPo: Here’s Lux’s take:
Let me try to explain this to the caution captains in my party. There are two reasons we lost those Governors’ races yesterday, and they are closely related: voters are in a foul mood, and base Democrats – young folks, unmarried women, minorities – didn’t come out.
Let’s just spend a minute talking about the economy. Unless we start to produce a whole lot more jobs than even the optimists are projecting right now, voters are going to be in a really foul mood a year from now when they go to vote…And for the young people who haven’t found decent jobs, economically struggling single women, and minority voters who overwhelmingly voted for Obama and other Democrats in 2008 and 2010, they could well be feeling that they haven’t seen change they can believe in, that they haven’t seen the Democrats they voted for and in many cases worked for delivering anything that matters to their lives, and that will make them very tough to get out to vote. That’s what happened in NJ and VA this year, and it is incumbent on Democrats to change that dynamic in time for the election in 2010…In the face of a weak economy, angry voters, and a discouraged Democratic base, Democrats have exactly one chance at surviving the elections a year from now: deliver the goods.
…We are going to need to craft a strategy for winning that is based on deserving to win because we delivered important, tangible things that mattered to voters, things that make angry voters understand that we share their anger and are doing something to change things so their lives will be better, and things that help Democratic base voters feel like it is worth voting again.
And from Creamer’s “Four Lesson’s for Democrats in Tuesday’s Elections“:
First and foremost, the results show that it is critical that the Democratic message be framed in populist terms…Not surprisingly voters are unhappy. Ten percent unemployment, rising health care bills and shrinking incomes will do that. All of these problems resulted from the Republican policies of the previous eight years and the conservative values frame of the last thirty years. They have been caused by the concentration of power in Wall Street, the big health insurance companies and the dominant role of corporate special interests in Washington…But if Democrats do not clearly frame the debate in those terms, it is easy for voters to vote against whoever is in power at the moment — which now happen to be Democrats.
In Creamer’s point #3, ‘inspire the base,’ he notes:
Without an inspired base, Democrats cannot hold our own in 2010 — it’s that simple…Success at making change will help renew the faith of Independents and also help energize the base. But to be inspired, the base of the Democratic Party must be convinced that the president and his party are the champions of core progressive principles as well. A hopeful populist frame is critical to motivate mobilizable voters.
Creamer’s points #2, addressing how to win independent voters and #4, a cautionary note that comes with benefiting from the Republicans’ ‘circular firing squad,’ also merit a read. Both Lux and Creamer are saying that the wrong take-away from the ’09 elections is for Dems to embrace centrist timidity and fear of real change in the mistaken belief that the election indicates that moderation is the wave of the future. Instead, winning in ’10 and ’12 will require a bold, unmistakable commitment to fighting for jobs and reforms that benefit working people, instead of Wall St.