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The States


As I’ve stated before, state and local elections are arguably more important than national elections. Republicans understand this in ways that the Democratic base doesn’t seem to.

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  • The great thing about state governments is that they prevent one-size-fits-all government dictated by out-of-touch elites in Washington.

    Oh … wait …

  • Also, too: Don’t blame me! I voted for Jill Stein!

  • Anonymous

    Damn right. The Democrat voter base is largely (1) stupid, (2) poor, (3) lazy. I doubt if large number of Obama voters even know that things such as state governments and off-year elections even exist.

    • Philip

      These pancakes are quite delicious

      • Anonymous

        I haven’t heard of pancakes being given out, but Democrat organizers have been known to give homeless men some cigs and bum wine in exchange for voting for Obama.

        • Murc

          Why would they do that? It makes no sense.

          These Democrat organizers you speak of are already members of a party so small I’ve never even heard of any of their candidates. Trying to bribe voters to vote for the Democratic nominee rather than their own candidate would seem to be counter-productive.

    • Murc

      The Democrat voter base is largely (1) stupid, (2) poor, (3) lazy.

      I’m unaware of a political party by that name, so their base can’t be very large.

    • sharculese

      Seriously you need a less pathetic hobby.

      • The Dark Avenger

        Let’s say this “Republic” troll doesn’t represent the base, which expected Romney to win the last election.

    • Hogan

      Whereas large numbers of Romney voters not only know state governments exist, they know state governments can nullify federal laws.

    • socraticsilence

      You know who really enjoys Pancakes- Mitt Romney, he gets the White House to serve them everyday and thanks his lucky stars Obamacare was overturned the summer before he was elected.

  • Jameson Quinn

    The plan to gerrymander the EC may be beaten down for the moment, but old-fashioned gerrymandering is still very much a threat. We need to have a plan to take the offensive on voting issues. That means proportional representation and approval voting, along with easier voting and campaign finance tax rebates for individuals. (The latter could even be applicable for political blogs maybe). Problem is, these are all good for democracy but not so much for the Democratic party.

    • Anonymous

      You think any of those things are going to pass the state legislatures? AHAHAHAHAH! Keep dreaming.

      We’re holding onto the House for yeaaaars to come.

      • Jameson Quinn

        This is one of the tougher struggles, but nothing gives reason for hope like Jenbob’s taunts.

        • NonyNony

          I know, right?

          The trolls around here are mostly like anti-trolls lately. Instead of pissing me off, they actually make me feel better. Like when I think something is a bad idea and I see Bill Kristol come out in favor of it.

          • DrDick

            Indeed. Given that JenBoob has consistently been wrong about everything (Billy KKKrystol, is that you?), rants like this actually give me hope that things may work out alright.

      • sharculese

        Just like when Mitt Romney won the presidency in a landslide. I mean, I know I’m still shaken by that one.

      • Nevermind what I said about SuperPAC money and voter suppression laws – this particular rearguard action is going to hold forever!

        How long before JenBob is reduced to pointing out that he’s still allowed to hold the remote control in his living room?

        • Jameson Quinn

          You mean “it”.

      • socraticsilence

        I don’t want to engage but I do feel that someone should point out the downside of gerrymandering a bunch of 55-45 districts- when the tide turns (and even the dimmer members of your party are starting to become cognizant of this) you don’t have anywhere to fall back to.

        • Jameson Quinn

          That’s a ray of hope, but also remember that just the demographic tide isn’t going to close a 10-15 point margin by itself in a useful time scale. At best it’ll get half that. We must be handing the Rs anvils and getting out and working our butts off.

          Do you know the name of your nearest Republican state legislator and their opponent from last election? It’s maybe too easy for me to say from the sidelines here in Guatemala, but you should.

  • liberal

    How much of it is the Democratic base not “understanding” the issue, and how much is it Republicans commanding vastly larger financial resources?

    • LeeEsq

      I’m leaning towards Erik’s point of view about “understanding” than Republicans having vastly larger financial resources. Understanding isn’t the word I’d use though. Its more like American liberals ignore state and local government because it doesn’t fit into the ideology of American liberalism. American liberalism traditionally placed a lot of emphasis on making their reforms national rather thna local. Thats why more emphasis is placed on control of federal offices than local and state offices. Local and state government has been seen as a place where liberal policy goes to die.

      • John

        Well-educated voters who know about that kind of thing are not the kind of voters who don’t show up at midterms.

        • Njorl

          I moved 14 times in the first nine years I was eligible to vote. I lived in 3 different states, 5 different counties and 10 different congressional districts. It’s hard to develop an interest in local politics under those circumstances.

          A lot of young voters go through similar situations, switching schools, switching jobs etc.

    • NonyNony

      How much of it is the Democratic base not “understanding” the issue, and how much is it Republicans commanding vastly larger financial resources?

      Without getting too much logical fallacy on myself, if it’s the latter then we are well and truly screwed and have no recourse. So we should go ahead and work as if the former were true, at least until we have actual evidence that the whole thing is pointless and we should just give up until capitalism collapses on itself (again) and needs liberals to come in and rescue it from itself (again).

      But honestly – most Democratic voters I know think that state government is a corrupt cesspool that can’t be cleaned up and only the Federal government has the power to come in and clean it up. If today’s “progressives” took a page from the Progressives of the early 20th century – who took state government reform and anti-corruption efforts incredibly seriously – there would be a lot of benefit even with the money advantage that Republicans have.

      • State governments, are, indeed, corrupt cesspools, as is the federal government (it’s just a different kind of cesspool).

        Do conservatives and the GOP have a money advantage over liberals and the Democratic Party? Yes. But, at the moment, I only see one team (conservatives/GOP) employing the strategy of a full-court press.

    • The influence of money, especially at the local level, is often overstated. I’ve seen plenty of local politicians with a massive monetary advantage fail. People can overcome these things, if they bother showing up.

  • Murc

    Aren’t we just sort of straight-up at a disadvantage here because of geography?

    The big empty square states are filled with Republicans. There aren’t a ton of people in Wyoming but those guys are always gonna vote red. Or, to take a local example… I live in Rochester. Rochester is pretty blue. But it’s one city in one country. It is surrounded by six other counties that don’t even come close to equaling its population, but those counties and the towns in them are blood red. And in terms of numbers of townships and county boards, there’s just… more of them.

    I’m less concerned about how MANY local and state elections the Democrats are paying attention to than I am with how many PEOPLE are involved. The Democratic machine is hardly quiescent in NYC, Rochester, and Buffalo, for example, which around here means they’re active at a local level in the areas that compromise the vast bulk of the population of this state.

    • Marc

      That’s purely the result of how the districts are drawn. Ohio is instructive: there are three state house districts per state senate district. Right now it’s typically arranged to have three “democratic” house districts clumped together for a very safe democratic senate seat and two republican ones with one democratic one for safe republican districts. You could arrange other permutations that would be equally balanced, or the opposite.

      Metro areas have conservative exurbs and rural areas and liberal core areas; there are a lot of ways to combine these as well. There is nothing intrinsic to geography that favors Republicans even if you don’t draw crazy districts. (The sparsely populated rural areas are as partisan as the cities, just in the opposite sense.)

      I don’t think this is long-lived, however. The Republicans won in 2010 because people thought that the state parties were different from the national one, which is historically true. That’ll be a tough sell for the next couple of cycles, and in many states (like Ohio) it’s the statewide office winners who sit on the reapportionment board. In others you can use initiatives for non-partisan redistricting, which is very popular. I’d bet against Republican control of district drawing in the next cycle, and if they try to pull crap like geryymandering the electoral college they’ll see new districts drawn mid-cycle via referendum.

  • I’m not sure it’s so much not understanding but more not doing anything about it. A lot of people like to spend a lot of time talking about national politics. Some volunteer sometimes. Much fewer people seem to get involved in local politics.

    It’d be useful if you had posts talking about this in less abstract ways, like encouraging people to become a PCP for their local party or telling people what local projects you’ve been working on.

  • Tom Fitz

    scanned the comments very quickly, didn’t see my thoughts reflected. I don’t think the issue here is “the base”, I think it’s “the DNC leadership since Obama kicked Dean to the curb”. That is all.

  • Gepap

    turnout at the local and state level tends to be atrocious, and the majority of the votes in those elections come from the demographics that vote most often, and the reality is that older white people (the bulk of the Republican base) are the most reliable voters. Most news outlets barely cover local or state politics, so even though local and state representatives are the main policy makers for most people, the general electorate thinks its all about Congress and the President. And of course as others have noted, younger people are more mobile and might not make the same connection to their present location that long-time immobile residents have.

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