Independents, Elections, and the Mad Biologist's Pentultimate Political Theorem

I always say, that when it comes to policies, people have to like this crap. That is, your policies have to make people's lives better. And they don't want to hear about the methodological details, the ins and outs. Like most people, when their cars breakdown, they want to take it to the mechanic, get back, put the key in, and have the engine turn over. Most don't care how the car was fixed--they don't care about that (some do, and that's ok too). With that, I bring you Blue Texan who reminds us of this (italics mine):

But more broadly, the notion that Democrats lost the 2010 midterms because liberals weren't clapping loudly enough isn't supported by the evidence. Democrats lost because they lost independents by 15 points, and independents don't care what liberals think.

So why did Democrats lose independents?

Because the economy hadn't improved enough because the stimulus bill was inadequate. It didn't help matters that the Affordable Care Act was stripped of its most popular feature or that HAMP was a total failure or that the Democrats punted on immigration and host of other progressive goals -- but it was mostly about the economy.

The lesson, then, is not that liberals need to be better partisan cheerleaders, its that Democrats need to deliver -- especially when they promised CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN -- and when they don't, they lose elections.

People in the middle don't wanna hear "hey, it's slower-than-ideal, but..." when they don't have jobs and they're losing their houses.

It's that simple.

Middle class people are getting desperate--and one's desperation increases as you get older, by the way. They needed help now. And thanks to Obama's unwillingness to campaign for good policy, as well as the corporate Blue Dog Democrats (the Republicans are a lost cause), we didn't get the policy we needed.

People have to like this crap.


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Here is a story in a nutshell, the full story is a little more nuanced but I reckon this would pass muster as a concise account.

Here in Australia the Labor party [roughly equivalent to the US Democrats] was the government at the time the GFC hit.
They set out to stimulate the economy with a series of measures all of which were big budget, rapidly put into action and wide ranging in scope.

They worked.

The Australian economy slumped, as did the rest of the world [USA/UK Europe?Japan et al] briefly, growth down, unemployment up, but then rapidly plateaued and improved.
The most dramatic improvement and least decline in the developed world.
Unemployment decreased, positive growth was achieved, consumer and business confidence positive.

Fast forward a year or so.

By that time the following had become fixed in the minds of the Australian public.
1.The stimulus was unnecessary.
2.It was wasteful and inefficient [despite numerous academic, corporations, in depth independent commissions saying that was not so].
3.The resultant deficit budget was economic mismanagement [despite praise from numerous authoritive sources both national and international, even the IMF] and would saddle ordinary folk with an intolerable burden [despite the fact it was one of the lowest debt to revenue budgets in the world].
4. Various other allegedly nasty impacts.

The Prime Minister of Oz was sacked by his own party in the face of terrible opinion polls and a couple of months later the party was lashed at an election losing many seats and a 5% swing in votes against it, the result being that it survived only with the assistance of a handful of 3rd party and independent politicians and is now a hamstrung minority government.

People had jobs and kept their houses.
Why then did so many turn against the govt [and the PM] who had 'saved' the nation and delivered rapidly what was proposed?

Media distortion.

Now I'm not arguing against Blue Texan but pointing out that even if the US govt had acted efficiently and rapidly things may still not have turned out rosy at your mid term elections.

By hannah's dad (not verified) on 16 Apr 2011 #permalink

We'll see how Australia is doing when its real estate bubble finally bursts.

hannah's dad @ # 1: Media distortion.

Very sad to hear. Y'all should get yourselves some of that Fair 'n' Balanced⢠journalism that has made the USA what it is today.

Oh wait...

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 17 Apr 2011 #permalink

@hannah's dad

Funny, I thought you guys had managed to kick Murdoch out. Evidently not . . .

By Tiercelet (not verified) on 18 Apr 2011 #permalink

hannah's dad: That's a similar response faced by many public health agencies following the A(H1N1) 2009 pandemic. A number of European governments opened investigations into the WHO's (which, to be honest, was far from ideal in its response to the developing pandemic) handling of the pandemic, because ... gasp ... millions of people didn't die!