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Why were the Democrats defeated? And make no mistake about it – this wasn’t a win for Republicans; this election was an anti-Democrat vote.
The Republicans only prevailed because the various tea party movements didn’t coalesce into a third party. If they had, the Republicans would not be enjoying their new-found majority.
I’ve been listening to how various Democrat leaders are explaining the results of Nov. 2 and the way they seem to see it. It was the poor economy that drove the voters to turn them out. That was certainly a big part of the vote, but it misses the point.
It began with TARP, a program that many Americans saw as rewarding irresponsible financial institutions at the expense of taxpayers.
It was followed up with a stimulus bill and a budget that greatly increased the scope and reach of government. This drove the federal debt to unprecedented levels, while doing little to promote private-sector growth. Then after all that, Congress and the White House put all their time and energy into passing a massive and incredibly unpopular health-care bill, while doing little to address heavy and persistent unemployment.
So yes, voters were upset, but that wasn’t the problem. If that had been all it was, Democrats would have lost seats, maybe even the House, but not nearly to the extent that they did. No, their greatest sin was how they treated the electorate while this was going on. It was there that they planted the seeds of their undoing.
Folks began speaking out, voicing their concerns about where this spending was taking the country. They worried about how this would be paid for and what it would mean for their children and grandchildren. Sooner or later, this bill is going to come due and they wanted Congress and the president to slow down and reassess what they were doing. But instead of listening and at least acknowledging their concerns, Democrats reviled them as unpatriotic, racist and lunatic Nazis.
Later, when senators and representatives were confronted during town hall meetings last year, they turned a deaf ear to the protests. Rather than recognizing these events as the wake-up call they were, politicians instead became defensive and went on the attack. That was their ultimate downfall; it’s one thing to demonize the rich or “fat cat” businessmen, but when you demonize me, you shouldn’t be surprised if I take it personally.
Democrats won 54 House seats between the 2006 and 2008 elections. Two years later, they’d lost all of those and a few more for good measure (John Spratt comes to mind). Worse, for Democrats at least, the pickup of Republicans in the state houses and governor’s mansions will make it that much harder for them to recover going forward.
If Democrats want to know why they lost, it’s this: They were elected to serve the people, not the other way around. They lost sight of this fundamental principle and paid a huge price for their arrogance.
Ralf Thompson is an Indian Land