#950 – Dick Bernard: The 2014 Election sine die; 2016 ahead

A few days ago a friend from college days sent me Bill O’Reilly’s U.S. Citizenship test. The admonishment: “Take this test. DO NOT CHEAT!!!!”. There are 25 questions. Passing is 15.
I follow directions. Like my friend, I got 24 right. Your turn.
Election night was not an easy one for someone like myself, self-described moderate, pragmatic, liberal Democrat who truly admires President Obama.
Living in Minnesota took a bit of the edge off, since Democrats did pretty well, though they lost their majority in the Minnesota House. Last night was no fun.
But, I’m not a short-term kind of person (“quitters never win”), so I awoke this morning, ready to learn from yesterdays experience and to go to work.
There will be endless analysis of what and why of November 4. I’ll keep mine short.
For the long, daily, version I always like the summary of daily happenings at Just Above Sunset, a retired guy blogging in Los Angeles. Here’s the overnight edition. About half way down he cuts to the chase.
Watching politics pretty carefully, as I have for many years, there is a repetitive theme to the Republican “pitch” especially in these perpetually angry Newt Gingrich and “Tea Party” years which began about 1994. The message is very heavy on fear, loathing and rugged individualism (never mind that only a tiny few of American individuals manage to grab the brass ring of individual victory, even temporarily.) But these stock messages sell pretty well.
It occurs to me that these are the easy routes we mostly like to take. But then these entail “no pain, no gain” or similar descriptions of taking risks and going to work to solve things.
It is simpler to be against, than to be for. To be for something, means you have to do the hard work to reach a goal. It’s more than just a single action.
In recent years, the Democrats and President Obama were punished mercilessly for “Obamacare”, which in the long run will be one of the finest accomplishments ever. They risked on other things as well. In Minnesota, they were harpooned for such needed actions as authorizing and funding a long-needed Senate Office building (aka “Taj Mahal”). Made no difference that the building was known to be needed for over 30 years, and got costlier every year, it took huge courage to pass it in any form at the legislature last year. They knew the punishment that would follow.
Remember President Johnson and his assorted civil rights initiatives back in the 1960s, when the south was mostly Democrat, and more racist than today’s Republicans to which most of those Dixiecrats all fled? It was at the signing for one of the Civil Rights Bills that Johnson said that his action would lose the south for the Democrats for a generation.
Or remember Medicare, 1965, which a large portion of the angry white Republican electorate now considers an entitlement, but seemingly cannot stand the idea of extending the idea to the rest of the population.
President Obama took the necessary risk in 2009; the Democrats who supported him knew the consequences.
Under the new regime in Washington, it will be all politics all the time between now and 2016.
The Republicans now do not have Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to kick around, since they control both chambers of the Congress, but neither are veto proof. The GOP has ridden the blaming horse all too long….
Start by taking Bill O’Reilly’s little quiz, and resolve this moment to get more involved in politics than you’ve ever been before.

from Bruce F, Nov. 5: I don’t think O’Reilly could pass this test.
The Republican message is fear based, but those hardworking blue collar people that vote for it are voting on the hope that their hard work will pay off. It’s subtle and complicated, and Democrats don’t get it.
There are myths at work with ingrained values attached to them. Those voting Republican are more value based voters than Democrats. As far as I can tell, voting is an emotional experience. The Republicans have learned that lesson well.
Take ObamaCare, as an example. It’s presented by Democrats as a universal Heath care that will provide better coverage, while lowering industry costs, insuring everyone regardless medical history. The supporters of the plan have many facts & attributes that should make it, politically, an easy sell. When voters are polled, they like the pieces of it.
The Republicans attack it as a big government freedom robber. Freedom from big government is a value by which people vote. Thus Obamacare is a political liability.
The Democrats could neutralize that freedom attack by appealing to the value of freedom rather than using a fact based approach. For my money, Obamacare increases freedom providing voters freedom from inadequate healthcare, freedom from potential bankruptcy that will help the blue-collar worker pick up their boot straps and become self-sufficient.
But the Democrats refuse to pander to values to win elections. For me it’s a bias that shows a lack of understanding of how the political mind works.
I read yesterday that Ralph Nader has called for Pelosi, Hoyer, and other top Democratic Party leadership to step down. I agree.
As a side note, you must agree that none of the major issues of our time were discussed by the two parties in this election.
As far as what happened in Minnesota, here is my take:
It could be worse…it could be Wisconsin.
Six years ago Franken won by a few hundred votes. Four years ago Dayton won by a razor thin margin. Last night they both won by substantial margins. MN still has just 3 Republican US Reps. The direction, even with the turn of the MN House, is toward a deeper blue.

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