Already, you’re seeing two competiting ideas about why the Democrats did so well in the election. This argument matters, particularly within the Democratic party, because, once again, the
chicken shit loser centrist Democratic establishment is urging Democrats to move to the right.
The centrist argument is that this was a backlash phenomenon, and that Democrats shouldn’t behave like Democrats–by that I mean that the Democrats should abandon Pelosi’s ‘radical’ 100 hours. Because raising the minimum wage and reforming the House rules is just too lefty.
(an aside: Democratic congressman and head of the DCCC Rahm Emanuel is making this argument–and publicly stabbing Nancy Pelosi in the back not even 24 hours after the election. Virtually every candidate that Emanuel pushed on the Democratic party was defeated either in the primaries or in the general election. Why should anyone listen to this fucking moron loser? In a saner time, he would be pensioned off and let loose to try his hand at a productive career in milking chickens.)
The ‘netroots’/Democratic base/party rank-and-file (I’m not sure what to call us) thinks otherwise. Democrats were elected to behave like Democrats, not Republican lite. I think there’s some truth to both arguments.
In traditionally ‘red-state’ areas, there was a lot of anti-Bush backlash: look at the high ‘spoiler’ Libertarian vote in Montana, for example. Montana is 55% Republican. For Tester to win, many, many Republicans had to stay home or switch. I don’t think that will happen in 2008. The good news is that, in the Senate, in 2008, the Democrats are playing offense because most of the seats up for re-election are Republican. In the House, don’t underestimate the power in incumbency.
Along the coasts, especially in the Northeast, I think the ‘let Dems be Dems’ argument holds. Just as we saw the rise of the Solid South, so too, I think we’re seeing the rise of the Solid Northeast. Where it gets interesting is where the voting demographics are slowly changing. In the Southwest and parts of the Mid-Atlantic (i.e., Virginia), these areas are moving towards Democratic control. I don’t think this is backlash at all, but a change in demographics–voting age cohort being crucial here.
So I think both sides are right depending on where you stand, but if Emanuel is any indication, I fear they won’t stand together.
Update: I’ve been looking at the House results, and it looks like the Libertarian protest vote cost the Republicans three or four House seats.