Elections Don’t Mean What Media Claim

Charles KrauthammerI really am a terrible partisan. I suppose it was clear enough after the election in 2012. It seems that every couple of days I was writing the same article about how stupid it was that people were saying that the Republicans would have to yield to the Democrats because of their poor showing in the election. What nonsense that was! The Republicans still had control of the House and just because the Democrats had done well nationally, didn’t mean that any given Republican should change; they still had the same conservative constituency. Of course, it wasn’t even Democratic partisans who were saying these kinds of things. That was just the conventional wisdom of our hopelessly centrist media establishment.

It is two years later and these same nitwits are saying the same thing, but with the parts reversed. What exactly are the Republicans going to do if Obama doesn’t pander to them? Impeach him? I’m sure Joe Biden wouldn’t mind running the country on autopilot for the next two years, as Obama is expected to. How the Senate would ever get 67 votes, I cannot say. So it is all nonsense and I wish as much now as I did then that people would just shut up. There is only so much brain dead analysis I can take.

But you won’t be seeing me write multiple articles on this subject. It is different being on this side of it. I don’t even want to think about the election. The only thing I can do is look to the future and hopefully build a better — more liberal — Democratic Party. But more than that, I feel that my repeated expression of annoyance would be seen as sour grapes. God knows, I got no praise from Republicans about my defense of them in 2012; but I feel certain that I would get complaints from them now if I actively defended the Democrats — even though I would do it in an entirely nonpartisan way. All I really care about is that people see political reality and stop living in some mythical land where parties have “mandates.”

As bad as the mainstream press is, the conservative press is just loony. Ed Kilgore brought my attention to the following bit of hilarity from Charles “If you speak softly, you can get away with the craziest things!” Krauthammer, Seize the Day, Control the Agenda:

The defeat — “a massacre,” the Economist called it — marks the final collapse of Obamaism, a species of left liberalism so intrusive, so incompetently executed and ultimately so unpopular that it will be seen as a parenthesis in American political history. Notwithstanding Obama’s awkward denials at his next-day news conference, he himself defined the election when he insisted just last month that “these [ie his] policies are on the ballot — every single one of them.”

They were, and America spoke.

Ah, yes! America spoke! Kilgore noted, “No, Charles, 38% of eligible voters ‘spoke,’ in a tilted battleground, and 52% of them voted Republican while 48% did not. It was a big defeat for Democrats, of course, but not the end of the Thirty Years War. Get a grip.” It is kind of like saying that the English people spoke when Henry Tudor became king. After all, the only people who mattered had spoken — namely Henry Tudor.

What’s annoying about this kind of triumphalism — and it is everywhere on the right now — is that any reasonable person knows that it isn’t true. The Democrats didn’t do better in 2012 than in 2010 because the people had changed their minds; they did better because more people voted. If the people who voted in 2012 had voted in 2010, the Democrats would have done well. And that’s true of 2014 too. The people didn’t turn against the Democrats; the Democratic voters just didn’t turn up.

I’m not suggesting that this isn’t bad news for the Democrats. It is a minor catastrophe. It says some very troubling things about the Democratic coalition. But it doesn’t say a damned thing about changes in America because there haven’t been any changes in America. The same people who hated Obama in 2008 also hated him in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Now things will probably change. In 2024, these people will probably look back fondly on Obama and think he was pretty good — at least compared to whatever socialist is in the White House at that point.

I have done my best to avoid coverage of the election. Part of it is just to avoid the nonsense. But another part of it is that conservatives are as bad at winning as they are at losing. I really do not remember this kind of exultation by the Democrats in 2012 or even in 2008. I think it is the authoritarian nature of conservatism. What’s the point of winning if you don’t get to rape and pillage, am I right?! Well, no: I’m not right. They really are awful people.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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