Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Autopsy - Down Ballot Races

I didn't really want to get into this, but I have to. You see, any autopsy of the Clinton campaign is bound to discuss why the Democratic Party didn't have a good grasp on the Senate, and test the House. That was after all a major push for those who wouldn't vote for Clinton, the desire to see at least the Senate or the House come under Democratic Party control. Well, not the House, that is pretty much lost until 2020, but there was a strong push to weaken the GOP control over it.

Now, the problem is that the Democrats didn't do nearly as well as the GOP in the Senate or House races. You can blame Gerrymandering for the losses in the House races, but... Clinton failed to inspire people to come out and vote, and they DNC failed to properly arm people in Senate and House races.
Look, there were a lot of good candidates running their races in various parts of the country. Yet, when the presidential candidate is viewed as being week, or just bad, people might vote for the presidential candidate, then vote the opposing party into the House or Senate in order to stymie them. So, what I observed where I am is that those who voted for Clinton at the top of the ticket, voted for Republicans at the bottom. Others did not vote for president, but voted down ticket, which likely resulted in their ballot getting tossed. The results speak for themselves, the GOP has a majority in both houses and the Presidency. Along the way, no state houses or governors mansions flipped to the left. And we really needed to start flipping those state houses and governors mansions.

Everyone went through this cycle with their “eyes on the prize” mentality, yet the real prize would have been down ballot victories. As I have repeatedly pointed out the White House is a great thing to win, it is the “biggest” prize of them all in the minds of all the politicians and so many Americans, but with the current levels of dysfunction within Washington DC, the White House is largely unimportant. Yeah, the White House gets to appoint federal judges, and various other appointments, but without the approval from the Congress, guess what? Yeah, if we had the Senate we could have returned the favor for the stonewalling of Obama's nominees. If we could have gotten control of the House, we could have control over the budget. And Trump for his part could have done nothing except use the power of the veto, or otherwise went back to the drawing board.

But it didn't happen, the Clinton debacle of 2016 pretty much doomed down ballot candidates. We went from potentially taking the Senate back, and nearly enough Senators to be veto proof (with a few sane Republicans siding with the Democratic Party), to not having anything. The House, which some believed to be up for grabs, yeah that was pretty much dead before birth.
So what happened? How did the Democratic Party go from having control of the Senate, with a strong belief that the House was up for grabs to completely tanking. People didn't show up to vote, and some who did had their ballots tossed as invalid because of various reasons. The truth of it is, if you wrote in a candidate who was not registered in your state, your ballot was tossed. If you left the top of the ticket blank, your ballot was tossed. And at that point, your other votes were tossed. On a side note, I really wish all states would include an abstain from voting in this race box, or a no confidence vote in a specific race. It would mean that you could elect to not vote in a specific race, while having your opinion acknowledged, but still choose specific candidates down ballot.

Well the writing is on the wall now. Down ballot tickets suffer when the top of the ticket doesn't bring out the voters. A pro-tip here, when Democrats/liberals show up to vote, we typically win, at least when the playing field is level (IE: not gerrymandered to hell and back).