MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was on Meet The Press today, where she explained how the media got the 2010 election narrative about Democrats staying home all wrong. Maddow said, I think that the initial diagnosis that Democrats don’t care… that they weren’t going to be able to get off their hands and actually get out to the polls this year has turned out to be a little bit of, a little bit wrong.”
Here is the video from MSNBC:
Maddow explained how the media diagnosis of apathetic 2010 Democrats is wrong, “I think that the initial diagnosis that Democrats don’t care and were going to be–weren’t going to be able to turn out, that they weren’t going to be able to get off their hands and actually get out to the polls this year has turned out to be a little bit of–a little bit wrong. We’re seeing the high Democratic numbers in terms of early voting, for example. But, you know, it was less than two years ago that this country turned out and elected Barack Obama by seven points, by 10 million votes, and it was–for the second straight election, elected a hugely greater number of Democrats to Congress and the Senate than they did Republicans, and that was less than two years ago.”
She continued, “I don’t think the country has changed that much. We, at that time, in 2008, saw people screaming about the president’s birth certificate and imagining everybody was a Muslim and fainting at the sight of Sarah Palin. I mean, those people existed in 2008, as well, but they lost. And so I think that the narrative has been very exciting on the Republican side, but I don’t think the country has changed as much since 2008 as the narrative would suggest.”
I think the media did get it wrong. They bought into and pushed the Republican narrative that Democrats were angry with Obama, and for this reason they were not going to come out and vote. If the storyline were to hold true then the Republican victory in 2010 would be a vote against Barack Obama. A local midterm election would be given a national context. According to the media, voter anger was supposed to carry Republicans to a sweeping victory, but as the remaining days of the campaign come and go; races around the country aren’t following the script.
Instead of being angry at Obama, Democratic voters have been rallied by their president. According to the media, this wasn’t supposed to happen, but apparently someone forgot to tell Democrats that this isn’t 1994 again. With a little more than a week to go, the expected GOP tidal wave is looking more like a basement flood. Republicans will probably pick up the House, while the upper floors of our governmental system will remain in Democratic hands.
As Rachel Maddow said, the country isn’t all that different in 2010. In fact, one of the problems for Democrats is that is almost exactly the same as 2008. The only difference being that this year Democrats don’t have a unifying candidate or message as they did two years ago. It is a bit mind blowing that with the economy the way it is, it is possible that both the House and the Senate could remain with the Democratic Party. If Democrats can keep the momentum going, the media will have a different story to tell on Election Night. It would be a tale of how the Republican Party turned what looked like a certain victory into a stunning defeat.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association