Debacle: An Election Night Recap.

WELP. That happened.

  1. Overall, Republicans won the U.S. Senate and gained in House seats.
  2. In Virginia, Mark Warner, the most popular politician in the Commonwealth for over a decade, needed the Fairfax Connection (Fairfax County votes are always counted last, which always manages to put Democrats over the top in tight races) to remain in the U.S. Senate, narrowly beating former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie.
  3. In Maryland, former State Secretary of Appointments Lawrence Hogan shockingly trounced Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown by nearly 10 points to become the state’s governor-elect.
  4. In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker similarly cruised to re-election over businesswoman Mary Burke.
  5. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott, who was once thought to be guaranteed an eviction from the Governor’s Mansion, survived against former Gov. Charlie Crist, running for the first time as a Democrat.
  6. Illinoisans will have a governor who thinks that the minimum wage should actually be lower than it is now.
  7. In Massachusetts, a Democrat lost statewide. Which must mean that Martha Coakley ran for something in this Year of Our Lord 2014.
  8. In Alabama…..HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

These seem really “bad”, because “Democrats” “lost”. Which is “important” so that our country does not go “backwards”. However, juxtapose that against these:

  1. Minimum wage increases passed in Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota, raising it to between $8.50 and $10 per hour.
  2. San Francisco went one step farther, and increased their minimum wage to $15 an hour.
  3. Massachusetts passed a ballot initiative that would allow workers to earn up to 40 hours of sick time per year.
  4. Missouri rejected “merit pay” for teachers.
  5. California reduced most nonviolent crimes to misdemeanors, meaning that state residents will be less likely to see the inside of a prison. Additionally, they approved a massive water infrastructure bond.
  6. While Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have won re-election, a record number of people voted on the Green Party line, pushing it above the “Working Families” Party on the ballot for the next four years.

Seems weird, right? Minimum wage laws passing in states that were simultaneously going deeply red? Missouri rejecting the tying of teacher pay to evaluations? How is this happening?

I had a friend from my MPA days at Mizzou calling for Democrats to run “more Blue Dogs” and more “moderate” candidates. He’s a great guy, but I have to advise him to see the U.S. Senate election results in Georgia and Kentucky, as well as the gubernatorial elections in Texas and Arkansas, for the verdict on that notion. Gov. Pat Quinn signed a massive statewide pension “reform” that directly hit public sector employees and retirees…and then signed another one for Chicago; he lost. Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke outsourced jobs at Trek Bicycle; she lost. In 2010, the Democratic members of Congress that had the best showings in tough districts were the ones who defended the Affordable Care Act, as tepid a reform as that has been. Shockingly enough, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), who steadfastly defended his votes in Congress on issues such as the ACA, cruised to an easy victory against Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land in that state’s open U.S. Senate race. U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL-MN), who defended his record in Congress and went on the offensive about the reasons that businessman Stewart Mills III would be a bad deal for the people of the 8th District, beat back millions of dollars in one of the most expensive Congressional races in the state’s history.

The last thing America needs is more Democrats that will serve the needs of Wall Street and the most reactionary forces in our society; the working class is abandoning the party in droves because they are largely doing that already. The working class is tired of being told that they are the problem, rather than unrestrained capital. So when a Republican comes around and makes folks feel that they matter, regardless of whether it is on inane issues like guns or religion, they will choose that person over the focus-grouped Democrat every single time.

Simply put, Democrats need to find their soul. Or at least whatever is left of it after a generation of trying to be better neoliberals than the Republicans.