Wednesday, November 3, 2021

About last night


 - by New Deal democrat

I was going to write about motor vehicle sales (not good), but FRED is down for maintenance. I might put something up later whenever the site comes back online. 

In the meantime, because a few people have asked me offline what I make of last nights results (at least in Virginia), so herewith is my take.

Virginia turned out about exactly how I expected. The RWers are as pi**ed as progressives were 2 and 4 years ago, so they were going to turn out more. And as soon as McAuliffe dissed parents’ right to have a say in the education of their children, I knew he was sunk, and would probably take down the rest of the ticket.

But here is the more extended discussion. There were a few main factors, uniquely local, overlaid with a typical off-year electoral trend.

There were two national factors:

1. People are motivated much more strongly to vote by anger over something that they feel has been taken away from them, than gratitude for something they feel has been given to them. This is basic human behavioral wiring. That’s why the out-party typically does well in off year elections. And courtesy of Fox and Facebook, RWers were thoroughly wound up. Which is why NJ is also so close. (Dems will have the same incandescent rage - regrettably - one year from now after the Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade.)

2. Manchin and Sinema have done some real damage to national Dems. Here Biden is, going on one year in office, and he still can’t get his main agenda out of Congress. This is similar to 2009-10 and Obamacare, when centrist Dems like Baucus and LIeberman slow-walked it nearly to death. It is also similar to what happened to the GOP four years ago, when Trump failed to get a repeal of Obamacare through the Congress. Trump had among his worst ratings ever right after McCain’s thumbs-down.

But there were several decisive factors unique to VA:

1. McAuliffe’s gaffe at the last debate saying parents shouldn’t have any control over their childrens’ education. Even if you think that statement is true, it was a disaster to say it. A million parents heard “F*** you, we’re going to control your children.” Up until that statement, all the polls showed McAuliffe ahead (despite the background national issues above, and including Afghanistan and whatever other extraneous event you want to include. McAuliffe was still winning). As soon as that statement got publicized, his polls all tanked, and continued that way.

2. McAuliffe ran Hillary’s 2016 anti-Trump campaign, and got Hillary’s 2016 result. This is in contrast to the last two off-year elections, where Democrats ran against the votes cast by GOP legislators in the Statehouse. And none of the candidates touted the good things Statewide Dems had done for people in the last 2 years.

In short, take away the gaffe, and run a campaign focused on the State, and VA Dems might have overcome the adverse national trends.