Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Thoughts on Election Day: We are to Blame

Yes, we lost. There is no other way to put it. In Ohio we lost even worse the rest of the Country. Our state is headed for harder times, if the GOP does what they have done in the past. The problem is that they didn't say what they are going to do, which was the message they won on. A message of nothing.

The GOP won for many reasons.  Here is my list of what happened.

  1. Democratic Voters stayed home.  In the City of Cincinnati voter turnout in 2008 was 63.59%.  In 2009 the unofficial totals had the City at 39.47%  That is a drop of 24.12% or over 63,000 fewer votes. Some of these are Republican voters, but basic logic indicates that local Dems stayed home yesterday. I would extrapolate that across the county similar findings would generally hold true.  Republicans may have increase their votes, but Dems staying home was the reason for winning. On a side, for some unknown reason we had about 20,000 few registered voters this year than in 2008.  I don't see how that happens, since we had only 4,000 less in 2009 from 2008.  The only problem with these initial numbers may be in the number of provisional votes not included. When the final numbers are submitted, I will try and update the numbers and figure out why they differ so much.
  2. The GOP had tons of Money.  The Republicans have more of it and will do what every it takes to keep it.  That includes dumping money into every race. This money bought nothing but negative attack ads that were manipulations of reality at best or just out right lies at worst.
  3. Fear and Ignorance and Hate works.  When you don't have any ideas, run on fear and hate.  Other than slogans, I would challenge any Republican voter to list out 3 specific things that National Republicans are going to do, especially on the economy. They can't repeal heathcare reform.  They are lying to you now if they say they can.  Keeping the Bush Tax cuts going isn't much of a plan, since the Dems were going to do that for 98% of us anyway. I never heard the GOP offer an actual new tax cut plan, did they? How would they pay for it?  "Cut Spending" is a slogan, not a policy.  What are they going to cut?  What are they going to cut that will amount to anything substantial? What will this do?  Will this just shift the burden to states or local governments?  How will it affect society?  Voters just don't know anything about government.  They all too often vote based on ignorance.  That ignorance is manifested in a self-centered uninformed perception of how vague slogans will affect them.  Taxes, government, jobs.  People really don't understand how these things work and they equally are ignorant to history.  If one more person actually thinks President Obama passed TARP, I think I may vomit. Throw in a fear of Mexicans and Muslims, and you have winning platform.
  4. The Right Wing Media control the Agenda and the Rest of the Media don't cover government. FOX News and Talk Radio are completely biased media outlets.  Calling FOX News the conservative Pravda isn't just blowing smoke.  I question anyone's honesty if they claim otherwise.  I must assume they don't watch the station.  Talk Radio has been this way for 20 years, so no big surprises there.  The rest of the media just doesn't cover government.  Sure they cover the political races and arguments like they are sporting events, but they don't cover government. They don't cover the details of legislation and when they do,.  When they do, and that is far to rarely, they don't do it good enough.  How do we know this? When the public is so vastly misinformed about the details of the laws put into affect, they can be no other reason but the lack of proper reporting and coverage and the HeathCare Reform law is the classic example.  Sure, the media says they can't make the public read the details out there, but where do they get the misinformation from and how are they consuming it readily? If right wing media outlets are feeding lies and misinformation, it is the duty of the honest media to make the facts the center piece of their reporting and make it news when propaganda outlets pretend to be news outlets. Also, the rest of the media let the Republican's carry on in this election cycle with little critical questioning on their lack of detailed plans.  Sure, we heard about scandals, but that is all we get.  We don't get actually detailed plans or platforms, we just get infotainment.
  5. We are lazy.  Yes, basically all of us are lazy.  We are too lazy to vote and too lazy to be informed enough to know when a politician is lying to us, We are also too lazy to actually consume quality news media, and instead only really care about Reality TV or Glee or Football games.  We are too lazy to talk to our family, friends, and neighbors and both correct them when they are mistaken about an issue or encourage to (or even shame them to) vote.  We no longer value learning, we have stopped wanting to know about things, especially those unsexy and boring things, like budgets and taxes and human rights and peace treaties and the freedom of (and from) religion.  When is the last time people actually read the U.S. Constitution? Can people look up what Socialism actually means, instead of just using it as a slur?
The causes of this loss are wide spread, but the solutions are rather simple.

  • More people need to vote in EVERY ELECTION
  • More people need to not take what they read, hear, see at face value and consume their media more wisely.
  • People need to stop being afraid of everything.
  • People need to care about other people at least 50% as much they care about themselves.
The interesting part to me going forward now will be watching Republicans cheer and claim massive victory.  Again, I'll let them have their fun for a while, but they really are not in a good position.  When you claim a mandate, you get ownership of the Economy.  So, it is time for them to govern.  It is not time to run around attacking people who disagree with you anymore, it is time to start making sense.  If Republican don't make sense, they are going to lose. A minority of the country elected quite a few extreme candidates who if they make good on some for their promises are going to make fools out of the GOP leadership. The first bit of sense the GOP needs to understand is that they can't make any law without help from the Democratic run Senate and the President. The second bit of sense they need to understand that governing doesn't mean just saying no, it means running the country.  The GOP has been refusing to help run the country since Obama took office.  It is time they start carrying some of the burden.  If they do, and actually work with the President and the Senate, they may keep some of the new congress members elected, past the 2012 elections.  If not, we will see gains back the other way, when the Dems push to keep the White House.

I am very fearful for what will happen over the next two years.  I don't see the GOP willing to govern at this point.  I see them out to keep power.  Keeping power is not the same thing as governing, something I hope the few rational Republicans left can understand and communicate to their party's leadership.

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