Posted by osum on:
Coakley loses in MA and everyone wants to know why. More importantly what are the lessons for any 2010 candidate (at every level).
Many democrats (think Obama) isn't progressive enough. Change (of politics as usual) has not happened. 2 wars remain, bailouts of corporations have occurred, and people have tangible items that symbolize a recession- whether they are foreclosure notices or unemployment benefits- people feel this economy and the politics of the previous administration (of 8 yrs) and it's failure and the immediate failure of Obama to make it all "puppy dogs and rainbows as promised." I have to be honest and tell you I have tuned out a little (and only have been following this election perfunctorily).
What I hear though of all the different analysts are many rookie mistakes. So, please just remember to take note since a bad Jan election is always a good warning to avoid a bad November.
1. Coakley's campaign didn't define the issues- Please define your issues. A campaign must know what they want to put forward, and how they are different from their opponent in a way that it will matter to the voters, this is how campaigns are won.
2. Coakley's campaign didn't define their opponent - I understand that Brown defined himself as an Independent (that voted w/Reps 90% of the time, until last year when he voted with Reps 96% of the time)-Average Voters (as much as I love it when they vote) for the most part are not as enthralled as my peers and I with data and facts. (I was briefly in Law School, where we often discussed the Reasonable Person - which doesn't exist- likewise, we must target campaigns to the Average Voter- whom also doesn't exist). Voters will hear the information (or spin) fed to them, if it's a lie from our opponent or massive spin as in this case- we must call it out- people will listen, and evaluate and come to a decision, but if facts aren't dispelled, people will not have that info to inform their decisions. (trust me, most aren't sitting there at their jobs, fact checking ads they heard on their drive to work!)
3. They didn't go in all the way for the general (Coakley "was on vacation 3 wks/20days" before the election.) - Apparently the Coakley campaign put most of their effort toward the primary (against other Dems) instead of going all out for the general. Now, this one, gets me big time!!! What good does winning a primary do you if you aren't going to show up and show out when it matters?
4. Female independents- Please pick a target demographic that has strength in numbers not some obscure demographic. What matters is strengthening your base and adding to it, but I cannot believe that Kennedy's seat (won by reelection in 2006 with almost 70% of the vote) had female independents as the largest demographic to target.
5. VOTER TURN OUT/ grassroots activism- I did not receive messages for action on facebook until today. Yes, facebook is not the "end all and be all", however a campaign created by grassroots seeks to get out as far and wide as quickly and actively as possible. Democratic campaigns need to be able to better plug into a network of activists nationwide- It is the only way we can continuously win. (Thinking of Maine- Prop 1 in 2009- which, while it didn't go as we hoped, it was still well known and worked for by progressives nationwide)
Admittedly, I was nowhere near close to knowing all the ins & outs of this race, but it is true that times are rough for Democrats and we are going to have to fight hard for every re-election seat in 2010 that is a partisan race. My experience in 2009 (working on a sales tax campaign) and chatting with my colleagues, tells me people are angry at the national politics and translating that directly to their votes in local elections, so unless you are a Dem who has been a VERY GOOD elected, then you probably should worry. I think it is fair to say, as I believe, mediocrity is the first of all evils, and voters are ready to toss out -given uncertainty of the time and unexceptionalism- any democrats who have been outstandingly mediocre- as they probably should but not as a knee jerk reaction, but rather logically and for better, more values committed candidates- (though often they don't run to oppose mediocre candidates in fear of splitting the base vote). Recently, Gov. Bill Ritter (D) and Senators Byron Dorgan (D) and Chris Dodd (D) have said they will not run for re-election in 2010. As Dems, we must focus on supporting good candidates to replace them and work hard to make sure that our numbers hold and increase in the Senate and the Congress.
Locally, we need to rally around those that hold or could win seats that are invaluable (hint, if a democrat has it, it's valuable to hold- if we don't it is valuable to win). Rumors have it that a certain former Republican Supervisor (Firestone) is thinking about running in California's 23rd Congressional district (currently held by Lois Capps). We have the 35th state Assembly seat that must continue to be held by a Democrat, and we also have Supervisorial elections (2nd District) and even Goleta council elections that we want to win for Dems. So let's learn our lessons or relearn our lessons, quickly and decisively and get to doing the hard work that is necessary to make sure we will not wake up in a state of dismay on November 4th, 2010.