Bloodbath post-mortem

This has been The. Worst. Election. Of. My. Lifetime. Worse than 1994. Much worse than 2002 or 2004. I didn't think it would be this bad. I truly believed that more of the first-time voters from 2008 would show up again. Sadly, this 'enthusiasm gap' was all too real. Damn shame.

  • Davis becomes the third incumbent Justice in Michigan history to lose re-election. It now appears that incumbency does not carry with it the same advantages that it did just four years ago.
  • Republicans swept the statewide education board spots for the first time since 1984. (Dems swept them in 1986, 2006, and 2008, while 1988-2004 each side won some seats).
  • Even Colleen McNamara - who won her seat on the MSU Board in 1994 of all years - has lost.
  • Their 21-seat gain in the state House is the biggest for any party since... actually, I don't even have a clue when.
  • There will be more Republicans in the State House and the State Senate than at any time in at least 20 years (and probably much longer).
  • This marks the first time since 1994 that Democrats have not been able to flip a single US Senate seat from red to blue.
  • There will be more Republicans in the House than at any time since Truman's first term (when my parents were not even a year old).
  • Democrats have held at least one of the top four statewide offices (Governor, LG, Secretary of State, AG) since after the 1948 election. Not anymore.
As for why this all happened, it can all be summed up in three words: Turnout, turnout, turnout. Of course, there are a myriad of factors that go beyond turnout, but let me just say that turnout was horrible where I lived. It was 48% in Kent County, vs. 60% in 2006 and 53% in 2002.

And most of the drop-off is from Dems staying home. Republicans didn't getting many more votes than they usually do. For all this talk about how Snyder apoparently appeals to moderates, indies, and Dems, he's only getting about a quarter million more votes than conservative hero DeVos. Eileen Weiser didn't get many more votes in her election to the State Board of Education than she did four years ago.

My read on the election is that it wasn't about Republicans being more energized than before, though that was a bit of a factor. It wasn't about independents and others changing their minds and voting for Republicans two/four/six years after voting for Democrats, though a few probably did. It was about too many Democrats not voting, period.

Too many Democrats/Obama supporters have become cynical about the process. "Where's my change I voted for?" they wonder, and they see no reason to vote - so they decide not to.

It really comes down to that age-old problem Democrats have had: Messaging. Republicans kept consistently hammering home the message of lower taxes, less spending, less government, and more jobs. And while my belief is that 'less spending' and 'more jobs' are two ideas that conflict with each other, we all know that it doesn't really matter in the minds of John and Jane Voter.

There's lots and lots and lots of blame to go around. Certainly the President himself is partly responsible, but I'm more apt to blame certain people in his administration for not showing him a better way (since a President is VERY busy and can't do it by himself). Rahm's departure last month was a start.

You know what they say: Lower turnout favors Republicans. And "bad politicians are elected by good citizens who don't vote." That's what happened here.

There are still more of us than there are of them, but too many of us stayed home. Hence, this bloodbath. I believe we will look back at this election as a 'low water mark,' if you will. I don't think we will have a worse election than this for many years/decades. Hopefully we can learn from this, figure out what to do next, and do our best to swing the pendulum back our way.

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