06 November 2013

Virginia -- a warning against complacency

Why a warning, you ask?  McAuliffe won, didn't he?

Yes, he did, and that's undeniably good news.  But he won by just 2.5%, a far smaller margin than the polls predicted.  And that was against an opponent who is extremist even by current Republican standards (to say nothing of the nuttier-than-a-squirrel's-larder Lt. Gov. candidate) and was underfunded and the Libertarian Sarvis took 6.6% of the vote and Virginia is practically the epicenter of the War on Women and it was just three weeks since the shutdown / default hostage drama poisoned the Republican brand.  Had the Republicans chosen a better nominee, or had Sarvis not been in the race, the outcome might well have been different.

In one way, the close margin helps us.  The fact that Cuccinelli did better than the polls predicted enables the teabaggers to avoid the lessons they need to learn.  They feel vindicated in denouncing polls as "skewed" (yes, a year after Romney's defeat they're back to that again) and in rejecting establishment Republican warnings that extremists are losers.  They'll press on with the infighting, radicalism, and general craziness which are trashing the party as a whole.  (As an aside, a primary in Alabama saw the first post-shutdown test of strength between teabaggerdom and the establishment; the establishment guy won, but only 52.5%-47.5%.)

But we can't count on races to go our way because Republicans will implode (though they will, here and there).  Polls today are no guarantee of winning the House in 2014.  We're fools if we think Wendy Davis isn't an underdog in Texas.  We dare not even assume the Presidency is in the bag for 2016, though we clearly have the advantage there.  Every election has to be fought as if we could lose, because we could.  And FFS get those ACA website glitches fixed, yesterday.  Pointing out that Medicare Part D had an equally rocky start is not going to cut it.  The Bush administration is not an adequate standard of competence -- just as not every Republican we run against is going to be as out-there as Cuccinelli.

8 Comments:

Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Words of wisdom, Infidel753. The cons are already crowing about how close the election in Virginia was, in order to make their defeat less painful.

I think they'll have to lose more elections before they learn anything. Or are they capable of learning at all?

06 November, 2013 06:41  
Blogger LadyAtheist said...

McAuliffe had his own baggage, but I agree, it was closer than it should have been. Also, consider that the shutdown affected a lot of Virginia residents personally. They should have been hopping mad!

The difference between Northern Virginia and the rest of the state is like the North vs. the South. Turnout in the North is the key, and I say that as a former Northern Virginia resident!

06 November, 2013 08:03  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Shaw: It's not going to be easy. The only lesson they seem to have learned from last year is that Romney wasn't teabaggish enough and they need a genuine crazy person next time.

Lady A: It's true that McAuliffe wasn't such a great candidate either. And I knew the outcome would depend on turnout in NOVA vs, ROVA -- luckily there are NOVA-like enclaves developing in several Southern states these days.

06 November, 2013 08:50  
Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

Well said. I am very glad that McAuliffe won; even with his baggage, he's still a helluva lot better than Cuccinelli. But like you said--this is no time to rest on our laurels. 2014 is going to be important (hell, EVERY election is important), and there needs to be a laser-like focus on it.

Even if the GOP is dying, it's still thrashing around in its death throes, and can still cause a lot of damage. I only hope that liberals and progressives who are upset at the Obama administration for various reasons can wise up and realize that the only way for progress is to make sure that the GOP are soundly defeated at the state, local, and federal level.

It's a hope, but...

06 November, 2013 09:05  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Marc: Luckily I think most liberals understand that now -- while we should fight like hell for what we want within the Democratic party, for the actual elections we have to stay united even if we aren't getting everything we want (who ever does?).

As for what the Republicans are learning, see here (starting around comment 300 or so) and here. They're all still in "this proves the truth of what I was saying all along" mode, with no one actually changing position, and consequently still very divided against each other. Something we should be glad to see, but not emulate.

06 November, 2013 09:36  
Blogger Dave Miller said...

Maybe we should look at it like this... McAuliffe was a horrible candidate. Perhaps had the Dems fielded a good candidate, ala Warner, the Dems would have won by 10 points.

I do think the closeness of this race will be a gift to the Dems as the Tea Party again will not get the memo that it really is not the messenger, as they have claimed over and over.

IT"S THE MESSAGE! We've heard it guys... we just are not buying it.

On a somewhat related note, in Alabama, the losing candidate in a GOP runoff in his concession speech, told the winning GOP non Tea Party candidate that he will never vote for him in the general election.

As his supporters cheered...

Could someone, anyone define an extremist conservative for me? Anyone...

06 November, 2013 16:36  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

I also agree and have been sounding the alarm elsewhere. But I wonder if the voter purge had anything to do with the closeness. 40,000 votes is a lot of votes.

On the other hand, I read an article in the NY Times (I think) that voter turnout was lower than expected there.

Whatever, it all indicates we have our work cut out for us for 2014 and that we can't afford another 2010.

07 November, 2013 02:58  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Dave: Good point -- McAuliffe wasn't our side's best candidate either. The party needs to avoid candidates with questionable backgrounds.

The teabaggers certainly think it's the messenger not the message -- they think all they need to do to appeal to women and Hispanics is to run some female and Hispanic candidates with the same old platform. I see that over and over.

That Alabama item is good news -- that sort of division and bitterness in the enemy camp is exactly what we want to see.

Leslie: The Jim Crow revival in Republican-controlled states is an outrage and the Justice Department needs to keep after them for it. At the very least it needs to be well publicized so that it provokes a turnout backlash in every election.

07 November, 2013 04:29  

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