Monday, March 31, 2014

What can the Dems do about 2014?

The Dems are facing a tough election this year, or that's how it looks at this point. Nate Silver is forecasting that the GOP gain a majority in the Senate. It might be the barest majority (just 51 senators) or up to 57. Or the GOP might not get the majority at all. What are the Dems doing about this?

In 2012, Democrats used a strategy of keeping quiet and taking victory from those right-wing crazies. Most of the GOP has learned from that, and they are toning down the crazy too, so the Dems are losing the advantage. They need other strategies, but it's not obvious to me what those strategies are. Here's what I've found from my internet searches:
  • Get minimum wage referenda on state ballots to drive turn-out.
  • Schedule symbolic votes in the Senate on wage issues. The bills won't pass, but will provide campaign fodder.
  • Vague attempts at ACA fixes that help vulnerable red state Dem senators (or might help them except it's so vague).
  • A strong get-out-the-vote effort that gets closer to presidential election numbers. The Dems didn't have this in 2010, and it would make a huge difference this year if they could do it.
I don't even think my usual prescription (make smart, centrist proposals) will work. The Congress locked into a two-year budget, so there's not much they can do about it. Any centrist proposals they make now look like 'too little too late.' Plus it will start an intraparty war, which can't help.

So I have no suggestions to help the Dems, and their own ideas don't seem enough (to me, at least). It's a grim picture, as this polling shows:
I think the Dems will lose the Senate this year. Furthermore, this shows how meager the Dem strategy has been for the past few years. It depended on the GOP craziness, and the GOP cooperated all too well. With the GOP playing it safe now too, they may have quite a big win due to midterm demographics and fatigue with the current regime favor them.


Extras. A Dem strategy blog: their round-up; a picture that's a bit brighter. Before it got complicated -- the outlook after the shutdown when the Dems could still count on GOP craziness. Even-handed analysis here.

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