Wednesday, November 06, 2013

After The Scene Dies

Everyone wants to tell the story of Virginia. But there are two opinions which I believe sum up what happened last night in the Old Dominion. And both are stark warnings for Republicans.

First, well-respected University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato.
McAuliffe team beat the jinx with strong campaign + big financial edge + Cuccinelli's social issues. Oh, VA is bluish purple, too. 
I would add the lament of right wing pundits that if the shutdown didn't happen, we would have had five weeks of campaigning on Obamacare and its junk website. It might have made a difference, but elections are like ifs and ands and buts but with less chance of candy or nuts.

The key takeaway from Sabato's statement; big financial edge. Despite everyone, and I mean everyone, knowing McAuliffe is a slimier than the bottom of a pond experiencing an algae bloom, the money swung his way. Principles are fine but winning is better and money wins election.

Big picture analyses point to the Donkey in the room; Obamacare. Its relative absence as an issue in the early stages is credited for McAuliffe's victory. Its late appearance following the shutdown fallout is credited for Cucinelli's resurgence.

Both are right but Josh Barro points to a subtle nuance that should trouble every Republican currently littering social media with schadenfreude over website failures and cancellation notices.
Even in an election that the Republican candidate was deeming to be a "referendum on Obamacare," in a state where Obamacare is not popular, against a Democratic nominee whose key career accomplishment is unusual success at influence peddling, the Republican nominee lost.
Yes Barro ignores other factors but his point is salient; if scorched earth campaigning against Obamacare won't work in a state where the majority are somewhat against the program, where will it?

It is time for hard realities and hard decisions for Republicans everywhere (even in deep red states like Georgia).

Reality: you aren't going to repeal Obamacare. And it won't be because you never, ever win when it is put to an electoral test. It is because even you know the price of kicking 25 year olds and people with pre-existing conditions off their insurance is too high.

So it is decision time. Do you persist in another three years of self soothing primal screams and sniping at something you will never defeat? Or do you finally wake to a world where people elect pond scum because they can govern and decide that winning then the governing that follows winning are again appealing options.


Joe E said...

One important ingredient left out of the soup: the huge numbers of government workers up north, who tend to vote to protect the gravy train, and who were really miffed about the shutdown. Too many variables here. The ACA will either be a resounding success or the gift that keeps on giving. Pass the popcorn!

griftdrift said...

Probably right. Virginia's northern counties already lean Democratic. Putting their actual livelihood on the political stage probably did not help.

But here's the hard fact that you can't get around. They get to vote too. And politics gets really really simple when you get down to vote counting. If you continue to completely ignore, or worse openly antagonize large blocs of voters, you will lose.

As for the ACA, I doubt it will be that binary. It will be like everything else, adjusted and tweaked but never completely fail or be repealed.

As I said, I don't care how dyed in the wool wig tea party someone is, the political cost of repealing the sections EVERYONE likes is too high.

Chris said...

It's hard to draw too many conclusions from that Governor's race because both candidates have such serious issues. I know people think T-Mac had a close win, but I don't think he was ever consistently polling above 50, and if anyone fits the bill for a candidate that people are voting for but don't want to admit it, it would be the Cooch.

The AG's race is more instructive to me - it's basically a tie, I think likely the Democrat will get the sweep. I think there's always a good case for splitting the party control on Gov/AG since one is a watchdog and you want the other party policing the guy in charge. If being against Obamacare had any real legs, you would have seen it there, and you really didn't.