Forget Hillary Clinton For Now, Democrats Need To Be Ready For 2014

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Many Democrats are pretty bullish on Hillary Clinton’s prospects for winning the White House in 2016. They have reason to be enthusiastic. Public opinion polls consistently show Hillary Clinton trouncing her hypothetical Republican opponents nationally and in every swing state polled. In addition, she appears to be competitive in states like Texas, Louisiana, and Kentucky, where Democratic presidential candidates typically perform poorly. Should she run in 2016, she would without a doubt, be a formidable candidate and the odds on favorite to win the presidential race. However, she has not yet announced that she is running. More importantly, regardless of whether Hillary Clinton chooses to run or not in 2016, Democrats still need to focus their immediate efforts on the 2014 elections.

Alex Sink’s loss in the special election in Florida’s 13th congressional district should serve as a reminder to Democrats how critical turnout is in this non-presidential year. She lost by just over 3400 votes out of the nearly 185,000 votes cast. The problem for her is that turnout was well below the 340,000 votes cast in the same district in 2012 when Barack Obama was atop the ticket. Turnout drop off in non-presidential years happens for both parties, but Democratic turnout typically drops off more sharply than Republican turnout. In special elections the drop off is magnified even further.

Political pundits tend to exaggerate the significance of this one single special election, suggesting it is a national referendum on Obamacare and a harbinger of doom for Democrats. While such statements are grossly oversimplified, Democrats also should shy away from making excuses and instead work to make adjustments to their political calculus to avoid disaster in November. Excuses like blaming the loss on gerrymandering or voter suppression, do not answer why turnout dropped in half from 2012. Nor do they explain how a district that Barack Obama carried narrowly in both 2008 and 2012 should be considered a favorably gerrymandered seat for the GOP. The bottom line is Democratic turnout could have brought the victory home, but not enough Democrats turned out to make that happen.

In 2013, Democratic candidates in state and federal legislative districts, on average, performed well below Barack Obama’s 2012 numbers, underscoring the Democrats problem in off year elections.  Although Democratic presidential candidates have won the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections, midterms were disastrous for Democrats in 1994, 2002, and 2010. If Democrats seek to avoid another disastrous year in 2014 they need to mobilize Democratic constituencies to vote in numbers close to the numbers they are able to activate in presidential years.

Take for example young voters. In 2008 and 2012, voters under the age of 45 years old made up around 46 percent of the electorate. In 2010, they were only 36 percent of the electorate. Similarly, minority voter turnout also dips during non-presidential years. Non-white voters were 28 percent of the electorate in 2012 and 26 percent in 2008. In 2010, that percentage dropped to just 23 percent of the electorate. While not all old white people vote Republican, when the electorate skews older and whiter, the GOP has a demographic advantage.

If Democrats wish to neutralize the Tea Party’s ability to harm the country, they cannot afford to wait until 2016 to mobilize. Democrats need to energize young voters, minority voters, and all voters this year. Control of the U.S. Senate is at stake as is the future of the country in critical races up and down the ticket.  Hillary Clinton can wait for enthusiastic activists to join her campaign if she runs in 2016. However, America can not afford for left-leaning and centrist voters to wait until 2016 to get involved. 2014 is an election year. If Democratic voters sit on the sidelines again this midterm cycle, it will be a repeat of the 2010 disaster and Democrats will suffer the consequences for their inaction. Educate, mobilize, and when the time comes, get out and vote like your life depends on it. Because in many ways it does.

21 Replies to “Forget Hillary Clinton For Now, Democrats Need To Be Ready For 2014”

  1. I’m ready to roll ”wit” this! I’ve been waiting every since that jerkoff, snyder pulled that BS in Lansing over the ”right to work” SCAM! I’m driving the 90 miles plus one way to see this AS$HAT gets booted!! and hell yeah! I’m taking some BOND money with me! because of course being black automatically means I’m a target for challenging the RWers! bring it!! if you see a tall, chubby black guy with dreadlocks getting maced by police, it’s probably me lol

  2. I have heard it articulated that if we lose the Senate and do not regain the House, Hillary will run on the ‘I can fix it all’ platform, distancing herself from Obama and pretending she can bring home the Congress, too.

    It’s a variant on the old DemSoc meme of ‘let it blow up and we’ll fix it’ mentality. Never has worked in the entire history of humankind. Never. First – define “we”. Progressive Caucus members comprise under 15% of Congress at any point, so that’s not gonna work.

    But here is the worse part- you deliberately blow the 2014 races and move this nation deeper into the muck of stalled government, you do actual HARM to those already abandoned or kicked to the curb by the GOP. You REALLY think they’ll vote for the person who let that happen? Seriously you think WE won’t primary someone who let that occur?

    It’s all of us or it’s none of Hillary. If you are not totally devoted to the NATIONAL well being and work your butt off this year, we won’t forget…

  3. Well, being very cynical here…wouldn’t it work in the Clintons’ advantage to have the Senate and House under Republican control in 2015 and 2016?

    That way, they could make this president one heckuva lame duck president, and hamper his progressive agenda from going further – one that Clintonites might not actually agree with being that corporations don’t like policies that don’t favor them exclusively, and the under-reported coziness that the Clintons have with Corporate America can mean that Hillary Clinton might NOT want to continue with President Obama’s progressive agenda.

    Allowing Republicans to take control in both the House and the Senate will work out just fine for the Clintons on two fronts:

    1) stop the progressive Obama agenda;

    2) fire up the Democratic Party voters in 2018 so that an eventual President HRC can toss out the Obama agenda (the most progressive since FDR) and bring things back to pro-corporate, DLC level.

  4. If voter suppression, the dismantling of rights for everyone but the rich and the phony scandals to smear President Obama don’t inspire democrats to vote and bring a friend to vote too, maybe they should pay attention to the fact they are doing everything they can to nullify our vote. Play all the talk from officials who call President Obama lawless a dictator and say he should be impeached for everything he does or they make up out of any situation. The talk of impeachment won’t be just talk if they take over the senate and keep the house they will go for it. Because by god they will steal the election anyway they can. These people are sociopaths who only care about self-grafication.

  5. If you’re not wise to the deep political science the Kochs and others buy–top shelf smarties which often do get psychology and reverse psychology right, then you won’t be even thinking about Hillary Clinton at all. She is beatable. I have no doubt there are millions of right wing dollars already spent on trumpeting her as the defacto candidate and everyone should just genuflect to her. It’s TOO neat. I’m no puppy and the Hillary hate in the 90’s was palpable. Even on the left people didn’t trust her because her family is republican. I’ve seen her as the Koch Bros. red herring since 2016 started being discussed. The media is not trustworthy. One infects the other. As a person who watches, reads, and writes on the subject daily, except for her notoriety as wannabe first lady POTUS and ambitions person to go through whatever rounds to achieve that, I have not a single clue of what her message is. Zero. And did I mention zero. She’s the Emperor in waiting and the most beatable.

  6. You are very correct!

    One of the biggest disappointments regarding the Dems is their spinelessness and complicity with the TGOPs proven by their silence.

  7. I think if the rethugs take the senate in 2014 we can forever forget about immigration, the hispanics should get out to vote this year, also we can look for the rethugs trying to cut medicare, social security and of course the ACA. There will be no foodstamps for the hungry, no public schools and no taxes for the corporations (who already pay next to nothing) we will be fracked all over the country – if anyone saw Rachel’s report last night on how North Dakota was covered with radioactive waste and they did not know what to do with it. It is a nightmare.
    We have to get people out to vote.

  8. true, true statement Jo. “because they will steal it any way they can” they have done it before and will do it again, if people do not get out to vote.

  9. There was a time when posters got notification when their posts were replied to on this site. Why has that changed?

  10. There is one way for the Democrats/progressives to win in 2014 or 2016. Dump the identity politics the left wing has clung to since The Sixties and go for the jugular (income inequality) of the 1%. This is a winning strategy. The time is right. Just do it.

  11. We need to retain the Senate. Go after the House without trepidation. On the Ed Show last evening he did a dynamic presentation of the “positive effect” that the ACA is having on the overall economy with the reporter from the Los Angeles Times who did the story. We don’t hear this in the MSM. Dems need to get this out to the public. The Republicans are smug, they have the backing and lies of Koch & Co. We have strength in numbers.
    Our focus now is and both Clintons know this is 2014. They will be out helping during the election.
    Our country is not a theocracy. What is happening in the statehouses across our country is important to all of us. But, we must educate, rev up and turn out the vote in every election.

  12. “Democrats need to energize young voters, minority voters, and all voters this year.”

    Great advice. Now, do you have any advice on how to get that done? Youth turnout and minority turnout in 2008 and 2012 were explicitly linked to Obama. Never before have the Dems or anyone been able to turn out young an minorities in those numbers.

    So, short of having Barack Obama on the ballot every year in every state, how do you propose increasing those turnout numbers? Tons of phone calls, door knocks, targeted vote by mail pushes, letters in the mail…all are being used. If you have some kind of constructive advice on how to actually enhance our techniques, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, this kind of “we need to get young people to vote” rings as hollow as it is.

  13. We don’t really have strength in numbers as compared to the Republicans. I mean, best case for us, it’s like 53 to 47%…best case. And yes, Dems need to get the message out there, but we don’t own Fox “News” and we, as Dems, just aren’t willing to tell the big, sensational lies that will get us the same sort of ratings.

    So, I will say it again, do you have any ideas on how to do this? How do we get the message out there when we’re being drowned out by big money? I guarantee the Dems are doing tons of press releases each day, and that their message is being picked up pretty often, but our ideals simply will not allow us to do what would have to be done in the media to actually counter the radio and tv news monopoly that is Fox News.

  14. Great question. One thing these dummycrats can do is take a lesson from the Presidents playbook and bypass the village. They don’t watch the Sunday gabfest or network news. Go to social media, Jon Stewart etc… Go to the music festivals that each state has that the young attend. To hell with gravitas and saying what the village idiots wants to hear. Go directly to where the future is at

  15. We need to get off of our butts and vote in 2014. If the American Taliban (aka Republicans) take over the Senate, all efforts will be on behalf of corporate interests and the Koch boys.

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