How 2014 Could Be Bad (and even Horrible) for Progressives

womenteaparty-e1373885283175Election Day November 2nd, 2010 seems like just last week to me. On that day, Tea Party-backed candidates completed a stunning takeover of Congress, snatching up 60 seats as well as winning 24 of the US Senate races. Of course, they did it in part thanks to the Citizens United ruling, which allowed unlimited corporate donations to “super PACS” that were then used for a flood of advertising for some incredibly radical (even by GOP standards) candidates like Allen West or Daniel Webster. My current state of residence, Louisiana, was a prime example of complete Republican dominance in which 5 out of 6 races were won by an almost 2 to 1 margin. Even in more moderate areas, candidates like Sharron Angle put up strong challenges to incumbents as the Tea Party tsunami rolled across the United States.

So, how just 2 years after electing our first African-American president did we suddenly find ourselves with a Congress so unproductive and packed with people who embraced political views reminiscent of 1950’s McCarthyism? We know that Citizens United allows for unlimited political donations, but last time I checked – despite accusations from both the left and the right of election and/or voter fraud – one person still equals one vote. It wasn’t so much that the now rapidly eroding alliance of the radical right and country club Republicans had all the money they could possibly spend on political advertising – it’s that we got complacent and even apathetic.

In  2008, young voters didn’t just turn out, they swarmed the polls to vote for Barack Obama.

In the last three general elections – 2004, 2006, and 2008 — young voters have given the Democratic Party a majority of their votes, and for all three cycles they have been the party’s most supportive age group. This year, 66% of those under age 30 voted for Barack Obama making the disparity between young voters and other age groups larger than in any presidential election since exit polling began in 1972. (Source)

In 2012, that number dipped to just 60%, indicative that younger voters were somewhat disenchanted with politics after 4 years and not getting all of the “Hope and Change” they imagined they were going to get. Two years earlier in 2010, they barely bothered to show up at all. The result of that was painfully obvious as Tea Party candidates swept into state offices as well and quickly pounded their agenda into law. As one example, between 2011 and 2013, more anti-choice legislation was enacted at the state level than in the entire past decade.

Far too many people think that by simply voting once every four years, they’ve done their civic duty – and then they wonder why we have a hopelessly gridlocked, partisan Congress. If we want to change this, we must drive home the fact that every single election matters, not just the presidential one. We have to educate voters that “clicktivism” is no substitute for actually getting out and participating in the political process. Simply sharing political blogs, petitions and memes on social media is only a part of the picture, not all of it.

2014 could be a very, very bad year for progressives – or it could be a very, very good year for us. The outcome rests solely on our shoulders.


Facebook comments

  • Jim Bean

    How ironic is it that the liberals who despise the Tea (Taxed Enough Already) Party are being hit with the biggest tax increase in history by the anti-Tea Party President they elected?

    • TrickledownFrown

      ” the biggest tax increase in history ”
      Get that info from faux “news”?

      • Jim Bean

        factcheck. org

      • surfjac

        The link is broken…how about explaining “tax”? You pay a tpremium for health insurance so I don’t have to pay when you use the ER as a PHP or can’t pay ‘cuz you got no money or insurance OR you pay a penalty which you don’t have to pay yet, or could deduct from a refund….I don’t see tax anywhere…where is that? Please, explain.

      • Barbara Ann

        FAUX? What the hell is that ? Oh you mean FOX……..The cable news network who has been Number 1 for years….beating MSNBC and CNN combined . Learn to spell, F-O-X spells FOX. There you go! All better !

      • Frank

        Faux as is false as in unable to register their company as a news network they had to do it as an entertainment network because they don’t report news with any amount of facts.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Don’t THAT just about tell the whole story?

      • Stephen Barlow

        Wow! You mainline that junk!!!!

    • Stephen Barlow

      How is denying unemployment benefits a ‘tax’?

  • surfjac

    I honestly believe that had the President and the DOJ gone after bush and the war criminals as well as the criminals on wall st., the dems would have won the House and not lost in the Senate. People would have responded positively (well, smart people anyway) and our reputation as a “nation of laws” would have been reinstated.

    • Stephen Barlow

      I think you are right. The rage against the system would have had an outlet in the Dimon’s, Paulsen’s etc. As it was, the Citizens United propaganda machine Nazified commercial politics and with no one really fact checking any choices before they voted (or chose NOT to vote) in 2010, The rage turned on the guy who accomplished 100 priorities, but didn’t punish the ‘bad guys’.

      I mean even Mozilla walked! Proving Obama as cronied up as Bush was with Enron and Abramson and Libby.

  • Barbara Ann

    Let’s be clear. Obamacare, you know that damn piece of garbage that EVERY Democrat voted for and EVERY Republican voted No on? It is going to KILL OFF the Democrat Party. What asses the left were to shove something like this down our throats with sleazy back room deals and pay offs. We knew it was going to be this bad . Every day until the election we will be hearing more stories of people being turned away from care, the high costs, the waits, denials etc. Republicans don’t have to do anything but sit back and watch the curtain come down.

    • Stephen Barlow

      I think, as 2-6 million people in the first 90 days already think, that this redistribution of healthcare is going to END the Republicans. If ONLY the Democrats had a brain…. (sing the song from Oz)

      They would POUND the reality of Rebuplican obstructionism, Government shutdown, Debt ceiling extortion and 1% growth/99% FLATLINE 24/7. Just play Republican soundbites from those who are guilty and never let up from July 4th to Nov 2. Make them OWN their corruption and make American voters CHOKE on all things GOP.

  • Stephen Barlow

    The voter apathy that sandbagged the President of hope has been reaping what it sowed. But since more ignorance is taught in schools than functional Civics… The rest of us have to suffer the consequences of the lack of student and minority votes in 2010 and 2012.

  • republicans are evil

    the reason is simple. People believe what they are told on TV and if they read it on the internet, they believe it even more. the problem with this country besides being ruled by an overly corrupt government, is that our citizens are lazy when it comes to researching information. too many people feel content to allow their decisions to be made for them. I know so many uniformed people that truly believe that what they are being told on faux news is true. the reason why nothing gets fixed in this country is because the informed are always at odds with the ill informed and misinformed.coupled with the fact that less than half the country shows up to vote, and boom you have a disaster. un-education and misinformation are the enemy of progress.