Rachel Maddow Explains How the Media Misdiagnosed the 2010 Election

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.

11 Replies to “Rachel Maddow Explains How the Media Misdiagnosed the 2010 Election”

  1. I am kind of happy that the direction of the country is so low compared to Bush numbers at 71%. Certainly 59% is not good but lets face it, its a decent average considering what the numbers have been over the years.

    I truly wonder what our elections would look like if the news media kept its mouth shut until election night. It would benefit both partys.

    I hope the Dems keep control. We cannot chance having any of these tealoon fries in office. It scares me that anyone could even vote for some of them.

    And better, I want to see Boehner spend more time in the bar.

  2. A basement flood! I love that analogy.

    As you know, I’ve been saying this for months, well – one and a half years – that the media is full of baloney re Democrats and Obama, and that they parrot the GOP talking points and ascribe meaning to polls that are inaccurate and unproven. As usual, listening to the pundits talk about the “mood” of the country is a waste of time.

    Is the country “angry”? They weren’t angry until the Tea Partiers started hooting and hollering about losing power (translated into Far Right Whining as “Big Government”). Before that, the people were scared. They are still scared. The economy sucks. They need to feel like the people in charge are hearing them and helping them and that this will not last forever. Instead of helping the people, the GOP has spent the last two years ginning up fear for the sole purpose of getting elected in 2010 and obstructing Obama’s agenda (aka, the people’s agenda since he ran on these issues).

    The people are not idiots. The idiots get all the screen time, but they are not the majority of this great country. The media can’t afford to acknowledge this, because fear doesn’t bleed like rage does. Rage sells.

    Here’s the shocker: The people still believe in this President. They know he is not perfect, but they also know he is a decent, smart, calm man who is doing all that he can to steer this country out of the ditch the Republicans drove it into. They may not come out and vote in droves like they did in 2008, but they still support this President.

    If the GOP isn’t careful, they might start supporting Obama MORE simply due to the GOP’s constant demonizing of him. So how about that Clinton redoux, media? :-)

    Great post, J. As you can see, this issue really gets to me. They sell this crap and people start parroting it like it’s how they feel when it’s not. Sometimes I wonder if the entire world has gone mad. Can’t they see how they’re being manipulated?

  3. I doubt Boehner will spend less time at the bar if he becomes Speaker — after all, the GOP is hell bent on proving Government doesn’t work, and their first line of attack re this is to be incompetent at their jobs and appoint even more incompetent people to take money (welfare) from the people whilst they golf and drink the day away. Sure, Dems are far from perfect, but at least their ideology isn’t counter intuitive to their jobs. You have to believe your job matters in order to do it reasonably well. We’ll have a drunk as speaker, so it will be a reminder to be grateful that Bush was only a dry drunk.

  4. Any liberal would have to be a flaming idiot to withhold his vote from the Democrats in an election where the Republican party is so dominated by extremists. I can understand feeling disappointed in the Democrats, but handing power to far-right crackpots who want to ban abortion for rape victims and make “God hates fags” the national motto on the currency isn’t the answer.

    Fortunately, what enthusiasm has failed to accomplish, fear may be doing. The Republicans have very likely teabagged away their hopes for a blow-out victory by nominating all these nutcases. With O’Donnell they threw away what had been a sure-fire win; with Angle, Paul, and Miller they’ve turned what should have been easy wins into nail-biters. And teabaggers gone rogue could cost them up to twenty House seats.

    The certain loss of one Senate pick-up and the likely loss of three more, plus the loss of up to twenty House pick-ups, is highly significant in the current circumstances. I’m not ready to write off even control of the House yet.

  5. All the news channels referred back to the 1994 congressional election ….sixteen year ago but none looked at the 1998 Congressional elections where Newt Gingrich, FoxNews et al were all predicting big wins for Newt and the Republicans….well, what
    happened? The Republicans took zero new house seats and in fact lost 5 seats that they had held….in disgrace for his failure to deliver, Newt Gingrich quit his job in the congress and went home to Georgia to masterbate to pictures of Ronald Reagan for 3 years.

  6. I wonder if this might be a replay of a past pattern that showed itself with Ms Clinton, and then Mr. McCain. They were up against Mr. Obama, he kept his cool, and even appeared to be unadvisedly non-combative, even as he went about his business. Both opponents ended up making fools of themselves, and losing out.
    I am hopeful that this pattern is playing out again. The Republicans have certainly looked collectively like a out of touch, ideological purists tilting against the Obama windmill.

  7. So calm down, youngsters. This is not the time to panic, for there is nothing to panic about. It’s time to get to work! Put on your helmet and tighten your chinstrap. Grab tight your standard, work hard and hold fast. You march with over one hundred forty million strong.

    You march with strength.

    You march with hope.

    You march, my brothers and sisters, on the moral side of history.


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