Wednesday, February 26, I received a very concerning, albeit not surprising, email from the New York Times. It was a Times report on a recent poll conducted by the paper in conjunction with CBS. The poll was a precursor of the upcoming 2014-midterm elections and measured various respondent reactions to both parties and, at this point, whether the Republicans or Democrats seemed to have an edge in the minds of potential voters.
Not to keep you in suspense, the Republicans, identified in the article as being a “deeply divided party”, carried the day. Before I get into particulars, let me address the issue of “deeply divided.” While Republicans may carry on the charade of being split between the so-called moderates and the surreal Tea Party contingent, that division is for public consumption only. On election day, it evaporates.
Not to worry; ALL Republicans embrace radical and vicious politicized and stressful attacks on the President and the likes of his agency heads and attorney general to the extent that, in AG Eric Holder’s case, he was hospitalized for three hours Thursday with shortness of breath and a fainting feeling in what appeared to be an anxiety attack. Racism is, of course at the core of the senseless Contempt of Congress nonsense against Holder. Then there’s the Tea Party-driven bigotry of the GOP’s legislative discriminatory voter repression of most blacks and immigration repression of most Hispanics. Gays and poor people are especially reviled by the party.
Amidst all this hate, Republicans remains unerringly infatuated with the enormous multi-national corporations of uncompromising greed that seek out red states with zero money for their poverty level residents, but billions to throw at low-wage, part-time hiring, mass polluters who know a sucker state when they see one.
Some of the most disquieting ‘canary in the coalmine’ poll numbers you should be worried about include those of independent voters who will determine this year’s outcomes. Independents have no use for Barack Obama.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a perfect example. The president has made enough concessions in that vital piece of health care legislation to render it virtually unrecognizable. The courts, in appearing to hand down a rare “liberal” decision on ACA, actually contributed to one of the more negative aspects of the plan in allowing the states to tell the feds to ‘kiss my grits’ when it came to expanding Medicaid, thereby disqualifying millions of our poorer citizens, especially in racist red states, from acquiring health care coverage and most likely killing many thousands as a consequence.
There’s also the matter of online health insurance marketplaces or exchanges. Over 20 states have opted to run their own rather that entrust the dreaded Federal Government with the task.
Another poll response worthy of our attention is the fact that 63% of those polled think America is on the wrong track. I would have been included in that 63% had I been one of the 1,644 individuals contacted.
A majority agreed with what is essentially the Democratic platform: Address the concerns of the middle class, let illegal immigrants stay in the country and, yes, increase taxes. That same majority wants even more cuts, however. I guess the sequester and a couple of multi-trillion dollar budget-busting agreements over the next decade to “cut spending” isn’t good enough. Don’t you just love the idea of living in a no services and a ‘barely able to breathe’ no regulations society? The Koch corporate crowd can’t wait, though they’re pretty much there already. See the remaining poll results here.
Most of the people contacted between February 19-23 said they weren’t paying much attention to the upcoming election. Yeah, that’s who you want to influence future voters. Disconnected, uninformed, vacuum-headed types who know infinitely more about Molly Cyrus, Justin Bieber, the Kardasians and Juan Pablo than they do about their own government.
Be that as it may, just enough of their ilk may vote most state and national Republican House candidates in, and heaven help us, turn the U.S. Senate into a Republican majority, thereby ensuring years of continuous gridlock government and worse yet, the actual passage of
some of their idiotic bills that will make life barely tolerable for thinking human beings.
Here are two reasons why that political calamity could easily become a reality.
Laziness and fear. A recent example of how lazy many Democrats are (at least in my part of the country) was graphically illustrated in an attempt by MoveOn, with a whooping 8 million members, to turn Democrats into something other than couch potatoes. MoveOn presents repeated numerous opportunities to make progressive voices heard in Washington. And many of these opportunities require little effort. To wit: There is currently a bill, H.R. 3899 called the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014. It’s even somewhat bi-partisan; something that happens about as often as a Haley’s comet sighting. Ari Berman of “The Nation” has an excellent summation here.
H.R. 3899 is not perfect, as the Berman piece will attest, but 14 Democrats so-sponsored it, including veteran civil rights warhorse, John Conyers.
MoveOn asked members to visit the home offices of their elected Representatives and express support for the bill. I called one of the local offices of a Republican Representative and on the appointed day of action, they’d not been visited by anybody. That’s laziness.
The second threat to a successful 2014 political outcome is fear in the form of lack of candidates. I know my state is blood-red South Carolina, but there are major wins to be had for progressives. There’s a big Democratic Party push to register voters and get Democrats to the polls, but with no local candidates to vote for, it’s a moot effort.
On a state level my county has 4 state Senate districts. Three are shared with other counties. There are 3 Republicans and 1 Democrat represented in the state capital of Columbia. In the House, there are 8 House districts. A Democrat represents only one.
Of the seven South Carolina Congressional Districts, one House seat is held by a Democrat. That’s it for both the House and Senate. Five Representatives have no Democratic competition. Senator Lindsey Graham has 5 Republican opponents in the primary; there are 2 Democrats in the Senate primary.
To the party’s credit, 3 candidates have announced for the special election against DeMint’s replacement, Tea Party Tim Scott for the other Senate seat. The real action is for State Superintendent of Education. The current head, Mick Zais is retiring this year. A total of 8 Republicans have signed on for the primary. I mean, who wouldn’t want Howard Rich’s campaign money? Two Democrats are taking the primary plunge.
Still, there are a lot more state candidates running than on the local level in general. The State Democratic Party apparently has given up in the smaller races in Repubican-dominated counties. Red now, red forever, I’m guessing. They’ve certainly offered no help to our area in finding candidates and the Chairman is sitting somewhere in China as the final March filing date approaches though the trip is a virtual secret.
For Democrats, there’s a lot of work to be done. The first obligation is to ignore the phony gloom and doom coming from the right-wing media.