Friday, November 05, 2004

The Long Full Circle

I'm tired of the republicans saying democrats can't reach out to the red state voters. The Republicans can't reach out to blue state voters either. Bush and Kerry could not reach out like Reagan or Clinton, hence the close numbers that don't offer any kind of mandate. Bush won this election like he's won every single election in his life - by a few percentage points. I think that speaks more towards how many people are willing to vote out of fear: just enough to put him over the top.

Below are two maps. One is the electoral map of 2004, showing the sharp blue state/red state split. The one below it is the sharp split of pro-slavery/pro-rights states from the Civil War. Did we come full circle or have we never changed? Lyndon Johnson, after signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, said he feared the democrats had lost the south for a generation.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Today's Theme Song

David Bowie: The Man Who Sold the World.

We Have Only Just Begun

Don't stop the fight! There's plenty of work to do and plenty of optimism to work for. Thanks to all of you out there who remain encouraging.

Josh Marshall,


Yesterday evening I heard various commentators say that Kerry's defeat would usher in a civil war among Democrats. Tucker Carlson said it would or should lead to a 'Goldwater moment' for the Democrats.

As I've noted above, I don't want to diminish the scope of what's happened. But a civil war over what exactly? Yes, some consultants will get a hard shake. And I'm certain there will be backbiting against Kerry (which I for one will very much disagree with.) But a civil war over what? The right and the left of the party were remarkably united in this cycle and managed to find points of compromise on key issues.

In some ways this would all be conceptually easier for Democrats to deal with if President Bush had managed a realignment of our politics in the post-9/11 world. But when I look at the results from last night what I see is that they are virtually identical to four years ago. Pretty much the same states going each way and a very close to even race -- though of course the president's 51% makes all the difference in the world.

As I said, if the Dems had been crushed, that would be one thing. If the American people were coalescing away from them, etc. But that's not what has happened here. In 2000 the country was divided into two (increasingly hostile) camps. And it's still exactly the same way. If anything it seems only more entrenched -- perhaps symbolically and geographically captured by the flip between New Hampshire and New Mexico from 2000.

The country is bitterly divided. And as much as anyone President Bush has divided it. But president Bush got 51% and if there's anything I've learned from watching him for the last four years-plus, it is that his team will take this as a popular mandate for an aggressive push for their agenda -- notwithstanding the profound division in the country or what has happened over the previous four years.

For the Democrats, what I fear most (and what I've privately worried about for months) is this: Energy cools after an election. That's inevitable. But organization and institutions can survive. And it is within institutions and organizational infrastructure that energy and power exist and persist.



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.

Meteor Blades,

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.


Oliver Willis,
Do you want to win in Congress?
Do you want to win back the White House?
Do you want to do these things by standing up for what youu believe and not moving to some mythical "center"?

After the Republicans got creamed in 1964, they built up institutions to incubate their candidates and build a majority. Groups like the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Media Research Center, etc. begat candidates like George Bush and media institutions like Fox News and The Washington Times.

I was stunned when I realized there was nothing like that on the left.

But there is now, and you can help them out.

Center for American Progress
Democracy for America
Media Matters for America
Campaign for America's Future
People for the American Way
American Civil Liberties Union

Get angry. Get sad. Get even.

Atrios, Eschaton:

I'm not all that interested in election post-mortems because it isn't important. People tend to take a loss like this as "proof" that their personal pet peeve about the campaign was correct, and too much discussion of it reinforces the tendency to try to keep trying to fight the last campaign. Elections are not deterministic things, and the binary nature of their outcomes tends to obscure the underlying complexity. What matters isn't what was done wrong, but what needs to be done right for the '06 elections.

Ezra Klein,

And, for now, we must admit that the superstructure the Republicans have spent 40 years building beat the shit out of the one we spent 4 years building. For whatever reason (call it the internet), we hadn't expected that to be the case. I highly recommend Paul Waldman's comments on this matter, because the sooner we admit this, the sooner we go back and build some more.

When I was at The Washington Monthly, we ran a feature entitled "What If Bush Wins", featuring contributions from leading political thinkers on the shape of this guy's second term. I found the feature vaguely offensive -- of course this guy won't win! -- but it's ended up being quite prescient. Of particular note is an entry by Todd Gitlin, which correctly predicted the outcome and provides the best blueprint I've seen for how we should respond. So today, on a really tough day, my advice for you to read it, print it out, make notes in the margins and tape it above your desk. We lost this round and I hardly need to tell you how bad it hurts. And sure, we deserve a couple days to heal (I'm going on a pre-planned trip to Santa Cruz tonight, where I'll relax with my girlfriend and blog very, very little until Sunday), but after that, we have to pick up off the floor and reenter the fight. Because if there's one thing I've understood as countless schoolmates -- both gloating and depressed -- have asked me what happened, it's that this wasn't a predictive exercise or some sort of enjoyable contest, this election was an attempt to forestall some truly bad things from being done to this country. We lost. But that doesn't change how serious our cause is, or how badly we need to win it over time. Come Monday, I'll be back in the trenches, and I hope you will too. After all, 2006 is just around the corner...

Andrew Sullivan,
ACCOUNTABILITY: Here's an email with which I concur entirely:

I didn't vote for Bush for lots of reasons. But it seems to me that maybe the result, much as it was not what I wanted, will be good for the country. We are in the middle of a war whose outcome is very much in doubt. We have a fiscal policy that may or may not prove successful. Issues that have seemed remote to many like abortion and the Patriot Act's definition of rights and privacy are likely to become more immediate over the next few years. Had we changed leadershop now, it would have been difficult to assign accountability, for good or bad, for these policies and decisions. I always feared, in fact, that Kerry would have had little chance of success in the face of a conservative chorus of "everything was going in the right direction in Iraq when we handed it over to you". Whatever the result, over thee next few years we all will be better able to asses the success or failure of many things that are unfinished now, and hold one team accountable.

Exactly. My main fear with a Kerry victory was that the hard right would never have given him a chance in the war, and would have savaged him as commander-in-chief in order to pave the way for a victory in 2008. Ratcheting the country back to fiscal sanity would also have been a thankless task. Now, Bush will face the consequences of his own policies and we will be able to judge him on that. He has no excuses any more. I hope he succeeds in Iraq, in reforming social security. But no one should give him an easy pass if he fails.

On the Brighter Side: The Bush Nightmare II

I feel like my fellow Americans, out of fear and misunderstanding, have played right into the hands of our enemies by reelecting an icon of hatred. The American people have been strait up lied to and yet they feel comfortable enough to reelect a president that doesn't respect us.

Well, the brighter side is that now I'm forced to continue this blog. And so are the rest of you. I was worried if Kerry won, I would lose the momentum to continue blogging. It's so energy-draining and time consuming. I just wanted Kerry to win so I could stop my hair from turning gray and I could at least take it easy for four years and spread out my focus a bit. That isn't gonna happen and I predict full salt-n-pepper helmet for me by the age of 32.

The other bright side is, in four years we liberals and moderates will be stronger and more organized. I do fear our country will be divided for much longer than four years. It could be decades. The fever in this country has not been raised to a high pitch - yet. The country didn't explode in 1964 when LBJ was reelected. We burst out four years later. For the love of my country and the people in it, I hope we get to purge our country again.

The most anticipated best-case-scenario is that Bush FINALLY takes accountability for his mistakes and blunders. If Kerry won, he would have most certainly been blamed by the right for not succeeding in Bush's mistakes. Cheney's energy task force will be revealed soon. The rest of the 911 Commission report will be released. If jobs aren't created and the economy keeps taking a dump, at least Bush will take the wrap.

And finally, Bush won't be campaigning this term. He actually can spend time governing, which in a way I'm releaved for. He's free to make mistakes or make champion policies. Based on the last four years, I'm gearing up to get really screwed. Our country could very well be burning in flames sometime over the next four years and the only thought I have on that is that I will have the ability to say, "told you so."

Bush won't go down in history as a Reagan. Get ready for LBJ II.

Update: This from Kos:

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.


I'm going to bed now...and I'm hoping the world turns right-side up when all the ballots are counted.

Monday, November 01, 2004

And the dam bursts

I called it months ago, when more "reasonable" people said it would be close.

Months ago.

It is now less than 9 hours before I vote and 30 hours before we get the "results" from the networks....

And I still say, Kerry wins with 350 plus electoral votes and Virginia is the big shocker.

So funny to see the hesitant, the shy, fumbling their way towards the inevitable...

Kerry wins and wins big.

Trouble Voting?

Thanks to the friend who found this for me, here is additional information about the 1-866-MYVOTE1 number:

Description: 1-866-MYVOTE1 is a toll-free telecommunications system that allows voters who are experiencing difficulty in the voting process to record (in English or Spanish) a brief statement of their problem, and transfer, at no cost, to their local county/municipal board of election. Voters can also call the Voter Alert Line to find their polling location. The Voter Alert Line is up and running, and thousands of calls have already been processed.

InfoVoter Technologies’ MYVOTE1 Voter Alert Line (1-866-MYVOTE1) will be operated from the National Constitution Center on Election Day, November 2, 2004, from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
NBC News' Natalie Morales will report on information coming through the Voter Alert Line from the Constitution Center, as well as Cristina Londono from Telemundo, NBC's Spanish language network, with additional coverage from locations around the country. The nationwide broadcasting of the Voter Alert Line analysis is part of “Making Your Vote Count,” one of the centerpieces of NBC News' Decision 2004 political coverage. NBC 10 will also feature live coverage throughout the day and Renee Chenault-Fattah will co-anchor Election Day newscasts from the Constitution Center.

The Voter Alert Line is funded by a range of non-partisan organizations and academic institutions including: The Common Cause Education Fund, The University of Pennsylvania Fels' School of Government, The Reform Institute, and The Hispanic Voter Project at Johns Hopkins University. The National Constitution Center is a partner in this consortium.

National Constitution Center
525 Arch StIndependence Mall
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Denise Venuti Free

Go Packers!

It's official. The Packers beat the Redskins yesterday - Bush is
going down. Since 1936, if the Skins lose the last home game before
the election, the incumbent party loses; they win and the incumbent
wins. Kerry's a shoe-in.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Vote or this is the message for all of us Nov. 3