Scenes From the Campaign Trail, 2010

One story, from August, sums up an entire election:

Leslie Pearce frowned as Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas entered the near-vacant Bandshell on Saturday morning.

“Here comes Suzanne. I’m going to hide under the table,” said Pearce, president of the Democratic Women’s Club of Volusia County. Pearce had organized the 10 a.m. rally for local Democrats, but didn’t get the turnout she wanted.

The crowd maxed out at about 30 when Kosmas spoke just before 11.

Kosmas, who is fighting to keep the District 24 seat she won in 2008, joked as she took the stage about the “throngs of supporters” she was about to address before railing against Republicans. […]

“We know that this is going to be a difficult time for us. That’s why we need you there,” Kosmas said before turning the stage over to Dan Gelber, a candidate for Florida Attorney General.

As Gelber finished his speech, screams of “Kraut dog! Somebody order a kraut dog?” reverberated through the Bandshell. The shouts came from a hot dog stand adjacent to the Bandshell. No one came forward to claim the hot dog. […]

Donna Garcia, who runs DJ’s Hotdogs and Sausages with her husband, John, said she wished someone had told her about the rally, but not for political reasons.

“I wish I knew. I would have opened earlier,” Garcia said, before looking over at a hot dog smothered in sauerkraut. “I also wish I could find whoever ordered that kraut dog.”

In the end, we were all left holding the kraut dog.

18 thoughts on “Scenes From the Campaign Trail, 2010”

  1. I’ve been thinking about this – objectively, Dems got killed this election. I mean, if you had told me in the summer of 2009 we were going to lose 60+ seats in the house, the governor’s races in Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Texas and Pennsylvania, the Republicans would retain all of their Senate seats and pick up seven more (including Scott Brown at the beginning of the year) by the end of 2010, I would have said – wow, what a disaster!

    Yet, maybe because we know it could have been worse (in the Senate and Governor’s races, anyway), many of us are suprisingly upbeat. Heck, DCCyclone, one of our best analysts and commentators, who’s posts were consistently depressing the hell of me over the past three to four weeks, has turned upbeat and optimistic after last nights results (and he makes good points about Republican underpeformance).

    It’s not just us – Jim Geraghty on National Review has been calling this the “feel bad landslide” for Republicans, owing mostly to victories like Reid’s in Nevada and Brady’s in Illinois.

    So before anyone accuses me of drinking too much of the kool-aid, I will say that IMHO this was a disasterous election for the Dems, mitigated only by a couple of unexpected victories in the House and the Senate. The next two years are going to suck, policy-wise, anyway. We need to do a lot better in 2012. I want to see signs of an economic recovery ASAP, or I’m going to continue to worry about the future.

    Okay, there, now we can go back to the unicorns and rainbows.  

  2. Rae Waters, an awesome Democratic State Representative in the southern flank of AZ-05 who appears to have lost her seat:

    There was a lot of money put into negative campaigning and a lot of lies against me…. They said I voted for Obamacare; I didn’t know that I was in Congress.

    Even if you voted against Health Care Reform, even if you weren’t actually empowered by the people to make a decision on it either way, you might as well have been the chairman of the death panel if you were a Democrat in a swing or conservative district.

  3. IL-Sen:

    Mark Kirk (Rep)         48.2%

    Alexi Giannoulias (Dem) 46.3%

    LeAlan Jones (Green)     3.2%

    Mike Labno (Lib)         2.4%

  4. When you have a toxic meme on your hands, pesky things like facts, charts, and graphs don’t matter.  People aren’t thinking with their heads anymore–especially if your political opponents are actively encouraging them not to.

  5. The lesson to take from this whole election is to get it right.  Tearing down your party’s leaders (eg. Pelosi and Obama) and bringing down his ratings, tearing down your party’s prevailing ideology and proposals while reinforcing the otherside’s views, obstructing your the president of your party and making him look ineffective, destroying your party’s message, and preventing your party from getting things done is going to kill you and drag down a lot of your party’s other members.  

    Not only will many voters take it out on you and your party directly, but the other party will smell blood and run far more credible, far better funded candidates than usual, which itself will bring down your totals.  Talking about pork and how “moderate” you are will likely not save you.  “Independent” members of an ineffective/unpopular party were generally not spared last Tuesday, nor were they in 2008, 2006, or 1994.  

    So, dear “moderates,” sit down and shut the fuck up.  You might lose if you vote this way or that, but you and your party will get clobbered if it fails.

  6. “Moderates” who count themselves as such based on “I voted against my party X amount of the time” are the cowardly type.

    To be a true moderate, one actually has to have convictions.  And to be a successful politician, one has to be able to convince one’s contituents that one has these convictions, and should be trusted with representing ‘eir constituents.

  7. If the Democratic Party does not learn from history, they are doomed to repeat it.  They should have figured out 10 years ago they would benefit from a preferential voting system.

  8. PPP mentioned that the progressive anti-alexi vote was split between the libertarian and the green.  If the green candidate was off the ballot, they probably would have voted libertarian.

    I don’t understand this strange self-destructive third party impulse that infects liberals, but it’s there.  Something like fusion voting helps with that problem, allowing them to satisfy the obsessive compulsion to vote third party without actually hurting their own cause.  It is the only treatment available to treat this terrible “must vote green party” disease.

  9. And that the votes were important and still they voted 3rd party.  Voters know how the system works.  AG lost this race and no changing the voting system or anything else wouldn’t have changed that…and shouldn’t have either.

  10. If a preference ballot was held and 67% of the non-major party voters ranked Giannoulias above Kirk, he would have won.

  11. To be a true moderate, one actually has to have convictions.

    That is what pisses me off most about moderate/conservative Democrats (if there are any left), there is no issue where they actually side with us en masse.  It was almost as if they set us up to fail because they disagreed with us on EVERY issue which makes it impossible to set up, I guess, the echo chamber of agreement to make voters think, oh, they did that and got it done and claim it as victory, well then it must be good.  (There was a Mitch McConnell NYT interview where he said this same thing, we try to filibuster everything because when we give them bi-partisanship, it looks they scored a victory.  That small business bill was just fucking ridiculous.)

    And if this election showed anything it should say that people do not understand policy.  A TARP bill that now is the equivalent to six months in Iraq in cost and  that can be attributed to SAVING THE WORLD ECONOMY (yes, I am yelling, I am naturally an extremely loud talker), wtf?  The polling that showed the country decisively against the public option but very favor of a government provided insurance plan individuals can pay into, come on.  The country wants the government to do more to fix the economy and yet votes for the party proposing for government to do less?  As I’ve said before, this election is purely political as Obama sucks at being in an executive position and is much more apt to being a Senator.  Policy isn’t a factor whatsoever, because if it was, the Democrats would be celebrating right now because we saved the god damn economy with our our awful socialism.

    And everything Unknown said above is completely dead on.  I’d really love to get into personal opinions on the whole thing involving Pelosi and Obama but for topical reasons, I’ll save it for ramblings when Im drunk and bitching to my roommate.

    While I may sound like a tea-bagger, Im not.  They care more about ideological purity, I care about winning.  A Democratic Party saddled with people who stab you in the back and who go to the press with problems with legislation instead of their majority leader is not a party that is going to be effective at messaging.  Time to move on, rebuild, and get that solid liberal majority.  A growing Hispanic population, lessening religiosity in younger people and the percentage of people with college degrees is going to doom the GOP eventually.  TX is on a steady path.

  12. …because right now we do need to cling on anything to remain upbeat.  Particularly since we all know two years in politics is an eternity but…

    …saying we could’ve done worse because we won a few close seats against bad candidates while otherwise being slaughtered is false hope.  Let’s take 1994.  We lost 2 more senate then, but more house seats now.

    Like now we won a few house races narrowly.  For example Blanche Lincoln won only 53 to 46.  Though a lot of the REALLY close calls went for the Republicans.

    In the Senate it was much like this year really.  Chuck Robb had no business winning re-election but was saved very very narrowly by the awful candidacy of Ollie North.  And Diane Feinstein lucked out when rather than facing probable certain winner Campbell instead got arch-conservative closet case Michael Huffington who she defeated by a very thing margin.  Frank Lautenebrg only BARELY won re-election because the New Jersey Republicans selected someone way too conservative for the state.  Those were the extremely close ones.

    Then you had Edward Kennedy who was on the ropes but came back after a viciously brutal campaign against Romney where he made Romney’s mormonism THE issue.

    We pulled some nice victories back then.  But there was no reason to feel good about 1994 and celebrating a Kennedy managing to get re-elected in Massachusetts is a pretty low threshold for exuberation.

  13. Mormon theology until fairly recently held a fairly racist view towards African-Americans including denying them the right to join the priesthood until 1978.  The Mormon Church also rather than admit themselves and their founders were racist used a fair bit of intellectual gymnastics to explain it all away rather than say they were wrong from the start.

    Ted Kennedy made an issue out of Mitt Romney’s failure to “condemn” the Mormon Church.

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