Wednesday, November 03, 2010

2010 Campaign Post-Mortem: Yep, it was The Fox Election

-- by Dave

There's going to be a lot of finger-pointing today. I've already given you my two bits' worth. Above all, I think these results tell us that Democrats have once again failed to understand the value of controlling the narrative -- or at least not letting conservatives control the narrative:

I blame the geniuses in the Democratic Party -- both in the White House and elsewhere -- who failed to establish firmly the narrative after the election that needed to be hammered home daily and relentlessly and fearlessly: that Americans had repudiated conservative rule because it had manifestly proven itself a failure. Instead, Democrats thought "bipartisanship" was more important. Sure it was.

This clearly was The Fox Election. This was a political victory entirely engineered by a fake "news network" that in reality is a relentless and powerful right-wing propaganda machine. Democrats need to wake up and figure out how they're going to beat it.

Larray Sabato last night on Fox did point out that there was at least one real upside to all this: The Blue Dogs are now almost entirely extinct. And good riddance, frankly; a more progressive caucus is more likely to be able to establish and elucidate a more progressive agenda.

But amid the carnage, there are some good, positive lessons for Democrats -- especially in Nevada, where Harry Reid pulled out a convincing victory with the help of Democrats' most stalwart friends: labor unions and Latino voters. Remember that pollsters like Rasmussen had Sharron Angle ahead for most of the closing weeks of the election.

What turned the tide? Angle's vicious Latino-bashing attack ads attempting to smear Reid as soft on "illegal aliens."

The results speak for themselves:

Latino vote for Senate
Harry Reid: 90%
Sharron Angle: 8%

Latino share of voters: 12%
Latino contribution to H. Reid: +9.8

That fine Tea Party approach to immigration didn't work out so well:

Reid’s turnout efforts focused strongly on the Hispanic community, a key swing demographic in Nevada elections. Early polling suggested Hispanics wouldn’t turn out because of frustration with the economy and a lack of movement on immigration reform.

A Republican operative even aired an ad explicitly telling Hispanics not to vote.

That, coupled with Angle’s inflammatory ads using images of Hispanic youth dressed as gang members drove some Hispanic voters to the polls.

“That was the final straw,” Gilberto Ramirez, a Reno concrete worker who recently obtained his citizenship and voted for the first time. “She was depicting me as a gang member. I served seven years in the Marine Corps.”

Well, we predicted this. The question now is whether or not Democrats will learn from this: It pays to stand up for something and do the right thing. Being a strong progressive earns voters' respect and ultimately their votes.

I'm not holding my breath.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

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