We supporters of Barack Obama just won a major election and we are all feeling confident. We should, Obama definitely won a mandate when it comes to raising taxes on the rich, along with passing a comprehensive immigration policy. Then we managed to hold our majority in the Senate and we added two seats, with two Independents caucusing with the Democrats.
However, let us not get too comfortable because 2014 is just around the corner, as far as elections go. Some Republicans from the far right are not going to give up. Some even believe that this last election had to be fixed in some way, and that we Democrats were the ones who suppressed voters, not they.
Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate who lost the election to Barack Obama by a clear margin, discounts his loss in the election, to the president giving gifts to certain minorities.
What we are seeing is a slow buildup of voices from the far right who will surely begin another campaign of disclaiming Barack Obama’s right to the White House and to the presidency.
We must not forget history, and I am referring to recent history — Election 2010 when Republicans enjoyed a large turnout because of fear and anger over ObamaCare. Democrats really messed that one up, so did Obama, as far as I am concerned. The health care law was a good idea but promoted lousy. We allowed the Republicans to get control of the message and we did not make enough effort explaining the plan.
Message is important. As long as we make it clear to the American people what we are doing and what we intend to do for the future, we will always win. Some members of the Republican Party like to use a tactic they have become quite adept at — fear. Let us not forget how the Bush administration used fear and drove us into Iraq. Then again, fear was used after the 2008 Presidential Election: By scaring people over the health care mandate and the so-called death panels, which motivated many voters to get out and vote in the Midterm Election.
President Obama knows how to get out the vote but he is not running for election in 2010. He is also got a more important job to do; bringing in the harvest that his policies has promised to do, which will surely help the 2014 Election.
It is up to Democrats to get busy and get out the vote. Here are some of my suggestions on how they might get there:
- Find a solid message that shows where Democrats are going to go with their policies for the next two years and beyond. If the economy continues to improve as it has been, that alone carries a lot of weight with the American people, who wants results.
However, watch our back door because some Republicans will try finding a way to take credit for that success.
- Compromise; make it clear to the electorate that our government has reached a hand out to the other side. Undoubtedly, more Republicans are willing to sit down and talk than they were before the election. Perhaps some actual good can come from it as long as our elected leaders do not go overboard. There some things even the most reasonable Democrat will not give up.
- Light a fire under Democratic voters and independents. Find important issues, such as social issues and civil rights issues that Republican candidates are talking about at every level.
It used to be Republicans used wedge issues, such as abortion and gay rights to fire up their base. Now Democrats have the upper hand because of public support changing hands over time. Remind voters that the Republican Party still has prominent members and candidates for office who have views that are far to the right of average Americans.
Surely, comments from certain candidates , like Rep. Todd Akin’s comment concerning women being raped and their bodies’ shutting down to prevent pregnancy — pure lunacy — and Indiana Republican senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s remarks about God intending pregnancies from rapes — they will continue.
Republicans will always give us good material to work with if we just use it well. Issues concerning race, immigration, women’s rights, and gay rights — the possibilities are endless to choose from when Republican lawmakers or Republican candidates start to open up their hearts and their mouths to the American public.
- Spend more effort making sure all voters have valid IDs, much more than an effort to block them. This is a losing battle for Democrats as far as I am concerned. Republicans have a tight case for IDs I think, as long as they can show a reasonable implementation period, and not use it to change the results of one particular election, evidentially by the timing of their efforts, such as was the case with the 2012 Election.
Valid ID requirements to vote will eventually protect Democrat votes also. We should put whatever efforts we can into seeing every voter has proper identification by 2014.
Other voter suppression efforts by Republicans, such as shorter early voting and fewer voting machines in heavily populated areas; are things we need to fight tooth and nail for as that interferes with our right to vote.
- Most importantly, give the voters what they want. Work to fix the Fiscal Cliff that is facing us now, which is the first priority of Congress, and the sooner, the better. We do not need it to be kicked down the road; we need a fix and a good one. This can be an excellent opportunity for this nation if our Congress does not mess it up, again.
Obama should stay firm on ending the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 but there has to be some compromise on the social programs and we Democrats are going to have to accept some cuts. I think any cuts should not affect those at the bottom. You cannot cut Social Security payments to someone whose entire income is their Social Security check. Neither can you expect those same people to pay more for their Medicare.
I think our problems are small and if these programs were cut in a balanced way, average Americans would only see a slight bump in the road yet keep the programs solvent for many years to come. What makes them seem so large is our Congress unwillingness to tackle them, as we have elected them to do. Those big issues are always politically risky but true politicians should take up the mantle without wavering, and realize that history will always honor those who took the risk and saved the day.
Mid-term elections sometimes seem unimportant to many voters and usually does not carry as much enthusiasm as a presidential election. Republicans will find a way to stir up their base for a heavy turnout in 2014 — you can count on it — and so should we.
A congress entirely controlled by Republicans would mean an uphill battle for President Obama and Democratic lawmakers. If we are to win the 2014 election we need to hit the ground running, or we will assuredly wish we had.
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