Matthew Yglesias over at Vox wrote a story today that should be a sobering reminder to us all that Democrats are in big trouble. Leading off, he recognizes President Obama’s accomplishments, but then warns us that all it has done is create an “atmosphere of complacence.”
Sure, in the face of incredible opposition from Republicans who have tried to blockade him on so many issues, Obama has managed to claim a lot of credit for leading the country out of the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. He can also claim credit for the Affordable Care Act and the ability for all Americans to get married, but there is so much more that could have been done – if Democrats had simply showed up to the polls in 2010 and 2014.
I’m sure that there will be some people who angrily comment and blame gerrymandering, along with other Republican dirty tricks, for the low voter turnout in those two elections. The thing is, you can gerrymander the hell out of congressional districts, but you can’t do that with the United States Senate – and that was turned over to Republican control in 2014 because Democrats didn’t get out and vote.
Senator Mark Warner barely won his reelection campaign in my home state of Virginia, and that may very well be due to the 53,102 people who voted for Libertarian candidate Robert Salvis instead of the GOP nominee. Virginia isn’t that much of a conservative state these days, nor is Colorado where a Republican also managed to take a Senate seat.
Democrats aren’t just complacent, they’re smugly and wrongly assured of their success in 2016 if social media postings are a gauge of what’s going on. Pretty much all I’m seeing is comment after comment and post after post about how Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders is going to pound Donald Trump or Ben Carson in the presidential election. The odds are stacked against a Republican presidential nominee, but as we’ve seen with President Obama, a president is limited in what they can accomplish if they don’t have Congress on their side.
As Yglesias points out, Republicans control the majority of state legislatures and governorships around the country, and a lot of it has to do with left-leaning voters not turning out. Even the solidly blue state of Illinois currently has a Republican governor, as does New Jersey, as well as Maryland.
Across the United States, right-wing conservatives have declared war on a woman’s right to choose or a worker’s right to unionize. While many Democrats have created petitions like demanding the FCC revoke Fox News’ broadcasting license and lamented these actions on social media, the right has marched on with their agenda because people have mostly failed to show up at the polls.
Unless this trend reverses, we will see more attacks on voter rights and more draconian legislation, especially outside of the liberal strongholds of California or New York. This isn’t cynicism, this is a cold, hard fact.
Let’s use a sports analogy to summarize this: It doesn’t matter how horrible the other team is, if your team fails to show up and participate, your opponent wins by default. Unless we commit to voting in every election, not just every four years, the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party will continue to force their agenda down our throats – and we’ll have nobody to blame but ourselves.
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