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183 comments Comments

Mandate or Natural Realignment?
by DemFromCT
Wed Nov 3rd, 2004 at 16:04:02 PST

Let's add to the post-election literature and explore what was won... and what (else) was lost in 2004. The fact that southern states elected GOP senators is no more shocking than the idea that New England states may someday elect Dem senators to replace the last of the GOP moderates (assuming they, themselves, don't switch parties the way Jim Jeffords did).

And in 11 of 11 states, bans against gay marriages were approved. Put that together with the popular vote margin President Bush had in his presumed victory in the big race, and you have the makings of a mandate, right?

That is certainly the way you can expect it to be spun in the next few days. If it isn't put in the marching-to-victory frame by the Republican messagemakers over at party headquarters in the next few days, we can only assume someone is asleep and probably about to be fired.

But when you look at the results a little closer you see, well, not much really.

Here follow examples of negative coat-tails such as Bush running better than Martinez in FL, or just picking up a handful of House seats, mostly due to Texas redistricting. Here you have Oregon and Michigan accepting the anti-gay marriage  initiatives and rejecting Bush. Here you have Ahnuld and Rudy run counter to their parties and vice versa.

And what liberal media outlet would dare apply such a revisionist POV to the election? Why, the Christian Science Monitor, of course.

General 2004 :: Link & Discuss (294 comments)

Stand and Fight
by Meteor Blades
Wed Nov 3rd, 2004 at 15:04:27 PST

Happily the tide has turned and this afternoon there is more throughout Daily Kos about standing and fighting than about fleeing the country or kissing off politics forever. Not that any of us has doubts about the prodigious task that awaits us. Or of the darker forces we will face in the process, as galiel’s extraordinary Diary makes clear.

As hundreds of Kossacks have been saying since last night (and before), one of our first priorities will be to help transform as best we can the Democratic Party. Resistance there will be fierce, but with two lost elections, the business-as-usual crowd is vulnerable. However, as one who has long viewed electoral politics as a necessary component of progressive strategy but not the main arena of activism, I urge everyone to read all of Nation Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel’s piece I’ve heavily excerpted below:

Stand and Fight

Progressives, who were on the defensive two years ago, added millions of new voters as well, and tapped a new energy and activism that will last far beyond November 2nd. The extremism and incompetence of this rightwing cabal has sharpened our focus to a razor's edge. But for me, one of the fundamental questions about this campaign has been whether you could defeat a terrible but clear incumbent without a substantive policy alternative, and this time at least we couldn't. Kerry offered intelligence, a return to fiscal discipline, a bulwark against a rightwing court, and a health plan that few understood. He failed to use the moral message of "Two Americas" to erode Bush's edge. He mounted a late challenge to Bush's disastrous war in Iraq-- but he also talked about "staying the course." That wasn't enough of a coherent positive, populist or moral message to complement the impressive mechanics. We've got to build a politics of conviction, of passion and substance. It's there but it needs to be built and fought for. And the lesser lessons, if that's the big one, are:

1) People really are confused and manipulated (we have a mainstream media that continues to focus on irrelevant stories--Swift Boat, Rathergate and all the rest--abrogating its responsibility to focus on what's important and significant; and too much of it keeps giving head instead of keeping its head.) This makes an expansion of the progressive media echo chamber all the more important; And,

2) Neoliberalism is broken beyond repair and people need to be offered a real alternative not just despair at this point. This is truly a non-violent Civil War between those who think government is basically screwed up and that they're on their own, and those who believe....what exactly? We've got to be much clearer on the latter.

But this morning, we woke to a country at war with itself--as well as Al Qaeda. As America fights Islamic fundamentalism abroad, progressives are re-fighting the Enlightenment here at home. (The two new Senators from Oklahoma and South Carolina are leaders of our homegrown Taliban.)

This is war at a very deep level about how this country will proceed and this war isn't over, it's just renewed. …

The American Right understands we are two nations, and cares less about healing than about holding power. A Bush wins forces us to understand, in a very deep way, what that means for us and for the values and institutions we care about. Not that they are wrong, or rejected or weighed down by "identity politics" or some other rationale for surrender. But that they are in desperate danger and we need to start thinking along the lines of how to resist, delay, deflect, oppose and ultimately defeat the assault on our freedoms. As progressives, we will need to marshal at least as much dedication, purpose, strategic focus and tactical ruthlessness …

And we should be thinking about the indispensable work of resistance. We need to identify legislative and administrative choke points where Bush's initiatives can be blocked, and make clear to both legislators and their constituents that the days of go-along in the interest of non-partisan comity have to stop. …

In the end, this election is about what kind of people we are, what kind of country we'll be. Half of the electorate dissents from Bushism. The election still represents an expression of the strength of opposition to the radical and reckless course Bush has followed, despite the ugly campaign.

Unlike 1972, when Democrats were wiped out everywhere--in 2004 there is an emerging progressive infrastructure capable of standing and fighting. Progressives should build on those structures put in place in this last cycle and redouble their commitment to economic justice, peace and environmental movements that can make real change.

General 2004 :: Link & Discuss (302 comments)

by kos
Wed Nov 3rd, 2004 at 12:35:44 PST

It wasn't the war or the economy that killed us. It was the notion of "values".

Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the nation, yet Kerry was bad because he had "Massachusetts values" or other such nonesense.

We need to retake the language. We need to reframe the notion of "value".

That's why Obama's speech below is so brilliant. He speaks of God in a way that not just fails to offend this atheist, but inspires me. It's faith used for the purpose of living a good life, rather than faith wielded as a weapon against a whole class of people.

The wedges: gays, abortion, and guns.

Democrats have abandoned guns as an issue, and over the next three or four cycles it will prove an increasingly ineffective wedge. The NRA won. Good for them.

That leaves the two "faith based" wedges -- gays and abortion. And with great skill, the Republicans have equated those two issues with the word "value".

That's going to have to change.

Democrats :: Link & Discuss (658 comments)

Here's to hope
by kos
Wed Nov 3rd, 2004 at 11:05:50 PST

From the future of our party, Barack Obama:
I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents' dreams live on in my precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible. Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation, not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. That we can tuck in our children at night and know they are fed and clothed and safe from harm. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe or hiring somebody's son. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted--or at least, most of the time.

This year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up, to the legacy of our forbearers, and the promise of future generations. And fellow Americans--Democrats, Republicans, Independents--I say to you tonight: we have more work to do. More to do for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that's moving to Mexico, and now are having to compete with their own children for jobs that pay seven bucks an hour. More to do for the father I met who was losing his job and choking back tears, wondering how he would pay $4,500 a month for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits he counted on. More to do for the young woman in East St. Louis, and thousands more like her, who has the grades, has the drive, has the will, but doesn't have the money to go to college.

Don't get me wrong. The people I meet in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks, they don't expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead and they want to. Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don't want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or the Pentagon. Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. No, people don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. And they want that choice [...]

A belief that we are connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief--I am my brother's keeper, I am my sisters' keeper--that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.

Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America--there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America [...]

In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; the belief in things not seen; the belief that there are better days ahead. I believe we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity. I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair. I believe that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us. America!

It's why we fought this year, and why we'll fight next year. And the year after that.

You can read the full speech here, or watch the speech here.

Democrats :: Link & Discuss (180 comments)

Remember Goldwater
by kos
Wed Nov 3rd, 2004 at 10:19:11 PST

Don't ignore history.
In 1964, the Lyndon Johnson beat Barry Goldwater by 23 points. Goldwater managed to carry just 6 states and Johnson won the electoral college 486-52. But the conservatives didn't give up. They didn't spend a lot of time wringing their hands. They regrouped and fought back. By 1968, Nixon crushed Humphrey in the electoral college 301-191 and won the popular vote by a million votes. If you oppose Bush, now isn't the time to feel sorry for yourself. Now is the time to get to work.
Read my column today in the Guardian. I was barely awake when I wrote it late last night, so it may not be my cleanest work, but the sentiments are valid.
We put together an unprecedented ground operation, but it was matched by the zealots on the right. We experienced an explosion in the blog world and started a nascent liberal radio network, but our message machine was far outmatched by the rightwing noise machine (Fox News, the Washington Times, Drudge Report, Talk Radio, etc.) We put forth quality candidates in races nationwide, only to see most outclassed and outgunned by a GOP which ran on three simple tenets: God, guns and gays.

It's a bitter pill to swallow, but one that should hopefully lead to a brighter future. Bush owns his messes, and now he'll be forced to clean them up. He won't be able to hide behind 9/11 seven years into his term. Unless the Republicans can engineer a recovery of epic proportions, they will have a great deal to answer to in the 2006 midterms and 2008. And God help Bush if this nation suffers another terrorist attack.

But best of all, we'll continue to see this great resurgence in progressive activism - the kind not seen in American politics in over a generation. None of these new activists heeded the call to arms only to abandon the fight today. We are energised, and will continue to fight for a better future for our country.

This exactly what the Goldwater conservatives did in 1964 -- work to build that very same conservative machine that has propelled Republicans to electoral dominance.

Democrats :: Link & Discuss (372 comments)

Kerry has conceded
by kos
Wed Nov 3rd, 2004 at 08:14:46 PST

It's over.

For now.

General 2004 :: Link & Discuss (785 comments)

Terry out. Get Howard in.
by kos
Wed Nov 3rd, 2004 at 08:11:18 PST

The McAuliffe reign has ended in disaster, with the Democratic Party in worse position electorally than when he came in as Chair in February 2001. We have lost seats in the House and Senate, and failed to cleanly take out the Worst President Ever.

While McAuliffe was an artful fundraiser, the party continued to lack the ability to develop a clear message or properly frame the political debate. And it's been killing us.

Even if Kerry can pull off the victory, it's clear the Democratic Party as currently constituted is on its deathbed. It needs reforms, and it needs them now. Quite frankly, the status quo simply won't cut it.

Howard Dean for DNC Chair.

In the House, the two Louisiana runoffs will determine whether we broke ever, or lost up to two seats. Jim Bonham and Bob Matsui failed to even make meager gains. Thrown them out.

Keep Nancy Pelosi, however. She has proven adept at taking tough stances while herding an ideologically diverse House caucus.

In the Senate, we're likely at 55-45, losing five seats unless something changes in late counts in Florida and Alaska. While I didn't hate Daschle the way some did, I did think he was compromised as Senate Majority Leader given the electoral challenges of representing ultra-conservative South Dakota. The GOP may have helped strengthen the Dem caucus in the Senate by ousting Daschle, which should bode well in the battle for the Supreme Court.

Dick Durbin for Senate Minority Leader.

Democrats :: Link & Discuss (360 comments)

Count the votes!
by kos
Wed Nov 3rd, 2004 at 06:53:48 PST

It's not over in Ohio. As this email notes:
Bush is currently leading in Ohio by 136,221

If there are 250,000 provisional ballots outstanding.  The highest number I've seen.

And 90% of those ballots are good, as they were in 2000.  That leaves 225,000 votes.

If 85% of those ballots prove to be for Kerry, about the number that Gore got in 2000.  That leaves us with 191,250, giving us a lead of 55,029.

If there are only 200,000 provisionals, following the same calculation would leave us with a lead of 16,779.

If the provisional ballots are only 175,000 that leaves us with a deficit of -2,346 that will leaves us in a position to get an automatic statewide recount.

Or, to put it another way, an automatic recount is triggered by a margin of 0.25% or between 13,000 and 16,000 votes.

Now Republicans will likely whine about lawyers and litigating the election and shit like that. Just note that Republicans are just as quick to resort to the courts when they feel the integrity of the electoral process is in danger.
Democrat Brian Higgins is the expected winner in NY-27 with 51% of the vote (132,999 Higgins, 129,159 Naples), however a late night legal manuever by the Republicans will delay the victory as Republicans presented a restraining order to stop the counting of ballots in the race.
Making sure the will of the people is represented, that every vote is counted, is paramount. If it takes lawyers and judges to arrive at a conclusive answer, then so be it.

General 2004 :: Link & Discuss (230 comments)

'Don't Mourn, Organize' continued
by DemFromCT
Wed Nov 3rd, 2004 at 06:36:01 PST

Meteor Blades' piece is getting full, and not everyone's computer does well with 500 comment threads.

Though I can't match his eloquence, I agree entirely with his sentiments. As bitter as the morning may feel, there will be things that need doing today, tomorrow and beyond. MB and I are both old enough to have lived through Nixon's re-election (and Reagan's before he became a saint)... and though the Dems will need to shake themselves up, so will a second Bush Administration, should it happen. And they and the media will need watching more than ever.

The fading signs in windows and on cars says "United We Stand." That's true, whether in opposition or in victory. We knew the work was only starting even if Kerry won, and we knew it wouldn't be easy, quick, or final. It's still true, only more so. Life's work is never 'done'; there's always something else that needs improving.

We'll have to revaluate our tools, our  goals and our strategy (not necessarily in that order). That work begins today and goes on until we improve the outcome. Given this administration's track record, the need (and the openings) will be there.

General 2004 :: Link & Discuss (157 comments)

'Don't Mourn, Organize'
by Meteor Blades
Wed Nov 3rd, 2004 at 03:10:13 PST

OK. I read thousands of comments and dozens of Diaries last night and this morning. And you know something? I’m going to forget I read most of them. Just erase them from memory along with the names of those who posted them. Chalk them up to adrenaline crashes, too much rage and reefer and booze.

Because what I found in my reading was a plethora of bashing Christians, bashing Kerry, bashing gays, bashing Edwards, bashing Kos, bashing America and bashing each other. As well as a lot of people saying they’re abandoning the Democrats, abandoning politics, abandoning the country. This descent into despair and irrationality and surrender puts icing on the Republican victory cake.

Why were we in this fight in the first place? Because terrible leaders are doing terrible things to our country and calling this wonderful. Because radical reactionaries are trying to impose their imperialist schemes on whoever they wish and calling this just. Because amoral oligarchs are determined to enhance their slice of the economic pie and calling this the natural order. Because flag-wrapped ideologues want to chop up civil liberties and call this security. Because myopians are in charge of America’s future.

We lost on 11/2. Came in second place in a crucial battle whose damage may still be felt decades from now. The despicable record of our foes makes our defeat good reason for disappointment and fear. Even without a mandate over the past four years, they have behaved ruthlessly at home and abroad, failing to listen to objections even from members of their own party. With the mandate of a 3.6-million vote margin, one can only imagine how far their arrogance will take them in their efforts to dismantle 70 years of social legislation and 50+ years of diplomacy.

Still, Tuesday was only one round in the struggle. It’s only the end if we let it be. I am not speaking solely of challenging the votes in Ohio or elsewhere – indeed, I think even successful challenges are unlikely to change the ultimate outcome, which is not to say I don’t think the Democrats should make the attempt. And I’m not just talking about evaluating in depth what went wrong, then building on what was started in the Dean campaign to reinvigorate the grassroots of the Democratic Party, although I also think we must do that. I’m talking about the broader political realm, the realm outside of electoral politics that has always pushed America to live up to its best ideals and overcome its most grotesque contradictions.

Not a few people have spoken in the past few hours about an Americanist authoritarianism emerging out of the country’s current leadership. I think that’s not far-fetched. Fighting this requires that we stick together, not bashing each other, not fleeing or hiding or yielding to the temptation of behaving as if “what’s the use?”

It’s tough on the psyche to be beaten.Throughout our country’s history, abolitionists, suffragists, union organizers, anti-racists, antiwarriors, civil libertarians, feminists and gay rights activists have challenged the majority of Americans to take off their blinders. Each succeeded one way or another, but not overnight, and certainly not without serious setbacks.

After a decent interval of licking our wounds and pondering what might have been and where we went wrong, we need to spit out our despair and return – united - to battling those who have for the moment outmaneuvered us. Otherwise, we might just as well lie down in the street and let them flatten us with their schemes.

General 2004 :: Link & Discuss (615 comments)

One more thought
by kos
Tue Nov 2nd, 2004 at 23:24:27 PST

The more I think about it, the more pissed off I am that the networks are calling Ohio when the state is still clearly undecided.

The odds may be slight, but this is Democracy. Let the fucking votes be counted.

And if the votes say Bush won, then great. Call it then.

But there is no reason to do so when the outcome is still so clearly in doubt.

General 2004 :: Link & Discuss (484 comments)

Final thoughts (for now)
by kos
Tue Nov 2nd, 2004 at 22:20:30 PST

The networks have essentially called this one for Bush. There are still votes to be counted, and Kerry better not get it in his head to concede before all of them are counted.

The networks won't decide this election as they did in 2000.

Once the votes are counted, and the final result is determined, then we can talk about what we need to do.

I've always said today was merely a battle in a long war. The GOP built its electoral dominance over 40 years by building a massive, well-funded message, training, and media machine.

We started putting ours together last year.

You all have much to be proud of. But please don't think your job is done, or that your hard work was all for naught. It's not, and it wasn't.

This is just the beginning, not the end. Regardless of who takes that oath next January we still have a war to wage. We won't wage it with violence, but by building a solid foundation for a new progressive movement.

Update: The margin in Ohio is now under 100,000 votes. This one is not over. Kerry campaign statement:

“The vote count in Ohio has not been completed. There are more than 250,000 remaining votes to be counted. We believe when they are, John Kerry will win Ohio.”
Lawyers are heading out to Ohio to demand a fair count.

General 2004 :: Link & Discuss (551 comments)

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