Democrats And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (For Republicans)

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: Election day 2014 sucked elephant balls. It is saddling America with a Republican senate that is notable for being unproductive and adversarial. It’s new leader is a hyper-partisan, Washington fossil whose only agenda is obstructionism. One of its new members is an Agenda 21 conspiracy nut who carries a gun to defend herself from the government she now represents. Florida and Kansas returned to office the two least popular governors in the country. And the right-wing noise machine is going to be gloating feverishly for weeks.

But the real story underlying this election is one that the media will almost certainly fail to address. Despite the election returns, America hates the Republican Party and its policies. The turnout is estimated to be about 38%. That means that the GOP victory was achieved with a majority of a little more than one-third of the electorate, or about 20%. That is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Republican agenda.

Election Turnout 2014

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The demographic makeup of the voters this year was decidedly older and whiter. It was also more concentrated in the South which accounted for 34% of all votes. The rest of the country came in a substantial nine to twelve points lower.

Just two years ago President Obama was resoundingly reelected along with increasing the number of Democrats in both houses of Congress. The turnout then was 58%, or 53% higher than 2014. Exit polls show that both parties are underwater in voter approval, but Democrats are still favored over Republicans 44% to 40%. Exit polling also gives Obama a 41% approval rating, compared to just 13% for Congress.

On the basis of this fractured and biased sliver of the electorate, Chris Wallace of Fox News declared this morning that “The Democratic Party brand is damaged.” But further examination of the exit polls says that isn’t true. On virtually every policy question, voters sided with the Democrats. That includes ObamaCare, immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage, same-sex marriage, legalizing marijuana, abortion, and climate change. And when asked about preferences for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton is leading every GOP opponent (Clinton 42%, Jeb Bush 29%, Rand Paul 26%, Chris Christie 24%, and Rick Perry 24%).

2016 holds more bad news for Republicans and their new senate majority. The GOP will be defending 24 seats, as compared to only 10 for the Democrats. Nine of the those GOP seats are in states won by Obama in 2012. So are all of the Democratic seats. With a larger and more representative electorate it is almost a certainty that the senate will flip back to the Democrats. And with a popular and history-making candidate like Clinton that outcome is even more likely.

In the meantime, we can expect some epic battles to ensue. Although Mitch McConnell made some perfunctory remarks signalling bipartisan cooperation, his resume suggests a different course entirely. He told supporters last night that “Just because we have a two-party system doesn’t mean we have to be in perpetual conflict.” That coming from the man who presided over more filibusters than any senate in history.

But the battles will not be limited to those between the two parties. McConnell is going to experience some of the misery of John Boehner as he tries to herd the Tea Party contingent of his own party into some semblance of unity. Don’t expect Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or Mike Lee or Joni Ernst to fall obediently in line. In fact, Cruz is already announcing his intention to prosecute the President for many of the phony scandals for which the GOP-run House failed to find any wrongdoing. He told Fox News last night that…

“I hope we begin serious, systematic, sober hearings, examining executive abuse, regulatory abuse, lawlessness, abuse of power. Whether it is IRS wrongly targeting citizens or the debacle of Benghazi and four Americans who lost their lives and why more was not done to save them, or whether it’s the lawlessness that pervaded Obamacare as the president and executive branch has tried to pick and choose which laws to follow. I hope we see serious oversight on those fronts.”

That’s a path that leads to increased animosity and the “perpetual conflict” that McConnell says he hopes to avoid. But with Cruz and Paul and Rubio amongst those in his caucus who are contemplating a presidential run, can McConnell prevent them from hijacking the senate for their own purposes? And will their purposes include attempts to impeach Obama as some Republicans and conservative pundits have already advocated?

The next two years are going to be a bumpy ride for both parties and, unfortunately, the American people. There is much that we cannot anticipate at this time. What we can safely assume is that the extremist, Tea Party wing of the GOP will deliver some histrionics and hilarity. And Fox News will cover all of it as if it were sober statesmanship. So buckle up, folks. And be glad that the ride is over in only two years.

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20 thoughts on “Democrats And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (For Republicans)

  1. “Cruz is already announcing his intention to prosecute the President for many of the phony scandals for which the GOP-run House failed to find any wrongdoing.” The Democrats should have impeached GWB, but didn’t for fear of appearing divisive. Republicans just don’t care.

  2. I am curious, as you dont cite sources, where did you get the data for this statement:
    On virtually every policy question, voters sided with the Democrats. That includes ObamaCare, immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage, same-sex marriage, legalizing marijuana, abortion, and climate change.

    And which year was this exit poll taken? I have a hard time believing that voters sided with dems about the Affordable Care Act – as that is what the act is actually called, not Obamacare. The ACA is one of the primary reasons Obama’s approval rating has plummeted.

    • He says that kind of stuff a lot – he once provided “supporting” sources that the public actually likes the ACA from CNN that made absolutely no sense – and it required manipulation of the numbers that was complete nonsense. But if he using the ballot initiatives that were enacted in this election – they did get approved generally – and they include minimum wage increases, back ground checks in Washington state, stuff like that.

      Beyond that, he has never been able to accept rejection by the voters – go back and read how he defended the president’s approval numbers against the republican numbers and how that somehow would mean something it doesn’t. He is doing his best to put a positive spin on a devastating outcome – the public dislikes the president more than it dislikes the republican party – that is the most amazing thing you can take from this election.

      • Steve, you continue to make an ass of yourself virtually every time you post here. Above you say that my sources were nonsense, but then you admit that my claims based on other sources (ballot initiatives) were true. You seem top just like to bash me without any evidence whatsoever.

        You also say that I can’t accept rejection by the voters, which means that your reading comprehension skills are non-existent (check out the very first line of this article). Plus, the vast majority of voters did not reject anything. They didn’t vote. And the ones who did expressed support for liberal issues in the exit polls.

        And if you can’t even accept that fact that the public dislikes congress/Republicans more than it dislikes the President, you’re simply delusional. Every poll has shown that for years.

    • I didn’t provide a source because exit polls are so widely available. But if you want one, here is one from Fox News. It shows:

      On immigration – Offered a chance to apply for legal status: 57% yes / 39% no.
      On same-sex marriage: 48% yes / 48% no.
      On legalizing marijuana:: 49% yes / 47% no.
      On abortion: 52% yes / 43% no.
      On whether climate change is a serious problem: 57% yes / 41% no.

      On ObamaCare the numbers closer, but within the margin of error with 46% saying it was about right or didn’t go far enough and 49% saying it went too far.

      On minimum wage the conclusion is based on initiatives that passed by large margins in four red states that elected GOP senators.

      • So, for clarification purposes, you are asserting that the majority of people support these issues, based on exit polls of 38% of the population? And when you look at the numbers you cited, of the 38% the issues seem fairly evenly divided, with the ACA getting the slight majority in the “against” category at 49%. I apologize, I havent been following the exit polls, I dont have the time. I am usually researching the laws themselves. 🙁
        I have been following Obama’s rating though, and the reasons behind it. Two years in, and the ACA is not nearly as effective has hoped and it will prove to be a huge burden on the deficit. They should really have called the the Accessible Healthcare Act. It has become easier for Americans to access healthcare plans. But it has certainly proven itself to be quite the opposite of affordable. Sorry for the side rant.
        Anyway, thanks for the link. I will check it out. As an aside, and not to be rude, but I will also check alternate sources. Fox News isnt always the most unbiased. 🙁

        • Really? You think the numbers on immigration, marijuana, abortion, and climate change are evenly divided?

          You’re right about the skepticism of using exit polls as representative of the population at large when only 38% voted, but for consistency I used the numbers associated with the election. If you look at national polling on these issues I think you’ll find it even more supportive of the liberal position.

          You’re also right to be skeptical of Fox News. Not only do I not think it’s rude, I think it’s wise. FYI: The exit polls are provided by a single firm to all the news nets and other media. But that doesn’t mean Fox wouldn’t fudge them.

  3. You make the assumption that non-voters were not aware that Republicans had a chance to take over the Senate, thus this equals no mandate because these non-voters were completely unaware of the ‘stakes’. Is it at all possible that the (assumed) democrat non-voters were unhappy with the senators and representatives they originally helped elect, and sent a message to relay that via non-participation in this cycle?

    • I made no such assumption. My conclusions are based on real data that shows that the non-voters were predominantly from demographic groups that generally support Democrats. There are always some people who deliberately sit out an election to send a message, but there is no evidence that they exist in significant numbers.

      • One also has to look closely at the demographics. Take NY, my state, for example. If you look at the county level, NY is a red state, except for NYC. In the gubernatorial election, the dems claim landslide victory, but the republican candidate was only just over 500,000 votes behind. That’s not a lot. But 5% of our populace voted green party.
        In my personal experience, the people I talk to in my daily life all say that they are too apathetic to vote. Most of these people are middle of the road and are more likely to vote democrat. Very few young people vote. At my polling location, at 35, I was the youngest there. Too few women vote. It’s mostly older, white people that are voting. I dont think it has anything to do with whether a candidate is democrat or republican. I also dont think it has anything to do with voter fraud or supression. I think Americans are fed up.

    • I think that it would be ‘safe to assume’ that Democratic non-voters are and remain unhappy with the allotment of senators and representatives they originally helped elect. 7734, I voted and I was very unhappy with the choices I had (Florida Voter..we will screw up any election, just try us).
      Of course it appears also very safe to say that voter turnout in Mid-Terms is pathetic at best. Was this a referendum on our dislike of our choices or just the usual voter apathy? I go with apathy. I’ve talked with a few people who have all said that they don’t follow local much less national politics. So what should be expect?

  4. The number of filibusters by McConnell were not only the most in history but there were just about as many, if not more, as all filibusters(since 1789) in U.S. history. Let that sink in. I like how the President reminded us yesterday he heard the roughly one-third of voters who voted in this year’s election but he also heard the two-thirds who did not. That seemed to go over everyone’s head (at least I heard no comments on it). In other words he was re-elected two years ago by a much larger electorate and by just as big of margins and as mentioned in this post, his approval is 3.5 to 4 times higher than Congress. The Republicans had a good night but this is by no means a mandate. You only get those in Presidential election-years.

  5. Obama should have charged Bush and Chaney with war crimes. By not doing so the Republicans consider the Obama administration weak and a push over. It is honorable on the part of Obama and the Democrats not to take this path but sometimes on this Earth the honorable path in politics is not the effective one or best solution. Mitch McConnell set the stage of hate and the dysfunctional congress when he instead of respecting the new president he proclaimed that we will do everything to make him a one time president and the pseudo conservative radio/TV placed their stamp of approval on McConnell’s statement.

    • If Obama had moved on charging Bush/Cheney with War Crimes then that would have opened every administration that followed to the same fate. Only Party would have staved off indictment.

  6. Noticed that nobody has really pointed out the dismal failing of the democrat party and it’s progressive wing to get folks (kids?) to the polls. If you assume the next generation has any interest in environmental concerns, wealth disparity, or foreign relations you have not been paying attention.

  7. Rachel, you forget an important point….the spineless Dems alienated themselves from the good O has done, because they are as incompetent and glued to corporate $ as the Repubs. Gotta love E Warren and B Sanders, tho. Now, THOSE ARE TRUE PATRIOTS…The only thing keeping this country ‘FUNCTIONING’ is CORPORATE GREED AND INFLUX OF THEIR MONEY, and the APATHY of our own citizens. NOW we all get to reap the shit coming down the road…You are so intelligent, Rachel, yet you sometimes sound like a leftist Rush….NOT GOOD.
    Just now ·

  8. Nope, I do all my research. I just have yet to have one hardcore Obama supporter answer that question. Like you, they get all huffy and start insulting. It’s an honest question. I would like someone to tell me why it is they think Obama is such a good president. And I am asking you to set aside your ideals, set aside your anger and frustration that comes when discussing politics and give me one example. That’s it. Maybe Mark, you arent as much of a journalist as you pretend to be. You certainly get way, way too defensive and angry when anyone even comes close to questioning you.

    • Wow. If you do your own research why did I have to Google Obama’s accomplishments for you? Why did you make me cite a source for the widely available exit polls that all networks use? These are things you could have easily found yourself if you really cared.

      And I’m getting huffy? Because I answered your question? And gave 50 examples rather than just one? Seems to me that you’re the one being angry and defensive. I’m rather enjoying myself.

      BTW: When did I pretend to be a journalist?

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