The national midterm results are so horribly bleak that I’m having a bit of psychological pain looking beyond the Pennsylvania news this morning.
But even within Pennsylvania, the Wolf win doesn’t even sugarcoat things enough, because Republicans actually added 3 state Senate seats and 8 House seats to their majorities.
Candidates who should have won easily in a race where the top of the ticket won by 10 points lost instead. John Kane, Josh Maxwell, Tim Solobay, Mark Aurand – what the hell!
I blame a few things.
Gerrymandering…I guess so. Republicans got to draw the state legislature maps, and that certainly made things more difficult.
But these are such low-dollar, unpredictable races, and wild deviations between the underlying partisan composition of these districts and actual election results are so common that this too-convenient excuse rings hollow to me.
I’m more inclined to blame the older white suburban men who were the important swing voters in the legislative races, and split their tickets between Wolf and legislative Republicans. I know guys like this, you know guys like this, and they’re the fucking worst.
Sorry, there’s nothing virtuous about ticket-splitting. It comes from a confused and immature misunderstanding of how legislative politics works, but these guys see it as a mark of chin-stroking, high-minded discernment. It’s disgusting.
The reality is that you can’t vote for two people who fundamentally disagree with each other on the level of values, and then expect them to govern well together. There’s no evidence from anywhere that actually works. It’s a fantasy completely untethered to reality. You’ve set things up for endless unproductive bickering, not compromise or moderation, because you’ve sent both sides a message that they have The True Support of the People.
The other thing to blame is the state Democratic party leadership. Really guys? 10-point margin – which none of the political consultants or campaign managers I talked to before Election Day imagined was possible – and you couldn’t get any pick-ups in either chamber?
I call bullshit. This proves we badly need a leadership change, and it’s gotta be new blood – we need to put people in charge who have up-to-date political organizing skills, know their way around data-driven campaigning, and can actually raise some goddamn money.
Heads have gotta roll.