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If Democrats Don't Move to the Left, They Are in Serious Trouble

Posted by libhom Tuesday, November 10, 2009

sign that says left lane must turn leftThe corporate media are spinning last week's off year elections like crazy. This commentary in the 11/8/09 Philadelphia Inquirer reflected the dominant narrative being pushed.

Even before voters went to the polls last week, moderate congressional Democrats were anxious. Would the swing voters who coalesced around Barack Obama almost exactly one year ago stay with the Democrats or defect to the Republicans?

The answer came Tuesday night as Republican gubernatorial candidates swept to power in New Jersey and Virginia, with the help of large packs of self-described independents.

Exit polls circulating on the House floor Wednesday were even more unnerving to Democrats. The Republican candidates, the polls indicated, had received the votes of two-thirds of independent voters.

There is an underlying assumption with this analysis, that the independent voters in the two years' elections were demographically comparable. One obvious problem with such analysis is that independent voters are not a cohesive, uniform group. There consist several major categories of independents.

1) Independents with who are equally supportive or hostile to Democrats and Republicans over time: The corporate media pretend that this group represents all independents.

2) Republican leaning independents

3) Democratic leaning independents

4) Independents who are to the left of the Democrats

In last week's elections, turnout was quite low. The only category of independents that turned out much at all was category 2. Let's talk about why the other independents showed little interest in these elections.

1) Neither party has performed very well in Congress or in the state houses in terms of actual governing. That gives neutral independents very little positive reason to show up. Since off year elections aren't Earth shatteringly important, there wasn't much reason for this group to be afraid of not showing up.

3) and 4) The Democrats in Congress and the White House have governed more like Republicans than Democrats. They can't seem to get even a strong public option through, even though that is a compromise from what the overwhelming majority of Americans want, Medicare for All (the dominant single payer proposal in the US).

sinister clownWhen you take Democratic oriented independents, left independents, and registered Democrats, you have some people who have been seriously demoralized by the behavior of the White House, the Congressional leadership, and corrupt Phonycrats like Max Baucus whose elective offices have been treated as if they were up for auction on EBay. Look at the core Democratic/liberal constituencies that have been ignored or screwed over big time.

- The Peace Movement

- Abortion Rights Supporters

- Liberal Activists

- Organized Labor

- Human Rights Activists

- Marijuana Legalization Advocates

- The Poor

- The Middle Class

- Supporters of State/Church Separation

- Advocates of Economic Justice

Queers have done a bit better, getting passage of hate crimes legislation. But, we had to mount a national march, protest an HRC dinner where Obama was speaking, and go ballistic on the blogs to even get the Democrats to acknowledge that we exist.

Under these circumstances, it isn't shocking that many voters who turned out in 2008 stayed home in 2009. The pools of independent voters in the two years were in no way comparable.

Yet, the corporate media make an apples to orgasms comparison in order to justify their claim that the Democrats actually need to move to the right. Of course, the corporate media always tell the Democrats to move to the right regardless of election results, while never telling the Goppers to move to the left. But, what is bizarre is that the post election shift in the House healthcare debate indicates that the Democrats are actually following this crazy advice.

The GOP style governing by the "Democratic" leadership is causing other problems for the jackasses. People who are frustrated and demoralized are not volunteering for campaigns. Also, liberal donors have had to put resources into ads against corrupt Phonycrats like the appalling Max Baucus, money that could have gone to helping Democratic candidates. Many of us are refusing all DNC, DCCC, and DSCC donation requests as a matter of basic ethics.

If the Democrats don't get their heads out of their posteriors and move to the left, many of their voters will stay home in 2010. Much of the donor well will run dry for the Democrats in 2010 unless things get better. This will put the GOP in a position to pick up seats, in spite of that party's many weaknesses. Democrats need to govern in a way that brings real, positive change.

A lot of this goes back to the corporate shills' distortion of the 1994 GOP election results. Bill Clinton, a rightist Dixiecrat pushed through a more draconian version of the military ban and corrupt trade deals like NAFTA while taking very little positive action on issues Democrats care about. Core Democratic constituencies stayed home in response, and the corporate media spun it as the nation shifting to the right and embracing the values of the GOP.

photo of a deranged looking Bill Clinton

Many Democrats are stupid enough to believe that spin to this very day. If they don't wake up and listen to their own voters, history may very well repeat itself.

Photos: See-ming Lee 李思明 SML
veni markovski


  1. Amen. When they act like Republicans, it pisses us progressives and liberals off and we go and vote for actual liberals and progressives. The reason the Democrats came back to power was because they were led by Howard Dean, a certified liberal who was unashamed to be who he was.

  2. Found this quote today: It reminded me of you: "Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers". - Jimmy Breslin



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