Full Dislosure: I’m a Democrat. I don’t mean that I vote for Democrats. Those are Democratic voters. I mean that I’m running for the Alabama House of Representatives District 47. I’m a Democrat Democrat. And I’m doomed. We are going to get absolutely dragged in every race from dog catcher up to US Senator. That’s not just Alabama either. We’re going to lose most swing states and purple seats. John Fetterman has a shot at the Senate in Pennsylvania, but apparently, he just had a stroke. Beto is within the margin of error in Texas but he’ll ruin that as soon as he jumps onto the counter at a local coffee shop and chants “fuck the police.” There are a couple of other promising races, but they’re all going to lose. I’m going to tell you why, and then I’m going to tell you who is to blame.
Put the L in Liberal
Why are Democrats about to take it on the chin? Critical race theory? Abortion? Disney? No, we’re going to get whupped because the President’s party always gets whupped in the first midterm. With the exception of Republicans and Dubya in 2002, the immediate wake of 9/11, the President’s party has lost tons of seats in every midterm since time immemorial. That’s just the way it is. With a lot of enthusiasm and good candidates, you can maybe staunch the bleeding, but they always get their asses kicked. The voters of the President’s party feel complacent and they stay home; the opposition party is mad as hell. The President’s party gets beaten up on. It’s really as simple as that.
The people who work for media companies that publish dozens of articles every day have to say something more than that, so they come up with a bunch of bulljive about how Democrats are screwing up the midterms. However, I live by a political axiom: what usually happens is usually what happens. I live by a second axiom: if it has never happened, it never happens. Usually, the President’s party loses in the first midterm. So, that’s likely what will happen. I mean, think about it, if Democrats are so feckless and useless, how did they clean house (and clean House) in 2006 and 2018? Republicans haven’t enjoyed the support of the majority of Americans since 1988 and they still manage to win majorities in state governments and the federal government. How could this be?
Because politics is largely out of the control of politicians.
It’s All Your Fault
Journalists won’t admit it because they make money from writing stories. Politicians won’t admit it because they like to present an optimistic face. Political professionals won’t admit it because they need jobs. The uncomfortable truth is that politics is largely beyond anyone’s control. Let’s do an experiment. Did you, my likely liberal reader, vote in 2018? Of course you did. You went and you checked Democrat all the way down. Some nice Democrat you’ve never heard of is a circuit court judge because you hated Trump so much. Buuuuut, did you vote in 2014? Are you sure? Maybe you were just chilling because Obama was president and you had work that day and it was raining and blah blah blah? Yeah, you weren’t very motivated because things were going pretty good and the news wasn’t really pissing you off, so you didn’t vote. You know who did vote, Republicans. They voted in big numbers and made Mitchell McConnell the majority leader. Then he stole a Supreme Court seat and rammed through two more and now Roe v. Wade is going away. That’s how politics work.
So, why is it that you’re so pissed at Democrats?
The “D” Is for Disarray
“Democrats in disarray” is beltway journalist shorthand for “this is all Democrats’ fault.” That’s the operating thesis of journalists in and around Washington DC. When things go well, they worry about how Republicans will use it against Democrats. When things to poorly, Democrats failed. Republicans are never required to govern. They’re just immovable forces.
Take a recent chyron I saw on MSNBC: Democrats Fail to Codify Roe. If you just read that, you’d think that Democrats had the singular power to codify Roe v. Wade and they somehow failed at it. That’s why casual Democratic voters are mad as hell. But that’s not really the case. 50 Republicans and Joe Manchin voted against it. Shouldn’t the chyron say “Republicans Succeed in Blocking Abortion Protection?” That’s never what the headlines say because Republicans aren’t a governing party. They’re just comic book villains. A comic book is about whether or not Spider-Man succeeds. The plot of the comic isn’t whether or not Green Goblin succeeds. He’s a mindless force of evil; the onus is all on Spider-Man.
So, why are Democrats going to lose? 1) The President’s party always loses. 2) They’re the only ones expected to govern. If things are going poorly, they governed poorly. Are there an equal number of Republicans and Democrats in the US Senate? Sure, but Republicans aren’t expected to govern.
I’m going to run this race, though. Maybe I’ll win, but likely, I’ll take an L. The headline will say “Democrat Fails to Win in Red District.”
Chicken Little Is a Democrat [Update]
Since I wrote this original article, Roe v Wade has been overturned. After that, Kansas held a referendum to outlaw abortion, which failed 60/40. Kansas isn’t just any red state, either; it’s Republican +11. That’s a huge shift in voting behavior.
Fivethirtyeight has all of the fancy numbers if you’re so inclined, but the takeaway is that the US Senate looks like a toss-up and the House is only leaning red. So, maybe the sky isn’t falling. After all, the sky is blue.