VikingSpirit finally grasps why Ken Blackwell went down in flames.

One of the major reasons I think we lost on national, state, and local levels is because of our party and many of our candidates embracing the religious right and extreme views on social issues. Some great exampes are Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania, Jim Talent in Missouri, and Ken Blackwell here in our home state of Ohio.

He goes on to explain a few positions (stem cell research and gay rights, specifically), and the close ties to the Religious Right, that has cost the party moderate voters. And he’s right. Let me explain how.

  • Only 35% of independents feel gay people should be denied legal partnership recognition.
  • Independents support federal funding of embryonic stem cell research 54% to 34%.
  • Just 34% of independents would categorize themselves as “pro-life”. And of all voters, they feel it’s a national issue (rather than a state-by-state one) 55% to 39%. Independents tracked Democrats almost exactly in opposition to the South Dakota abortion ban (27% for, 67% against).

But, it’s not just those “religious right” issues. Americans support liberal ideas for competent government too:

I could go on, but do I really have to? Americans clearly prefer the liberal vision of competent, responsible government that serves the people who elected it, rather than an elitist government that caters to special interests.

It’s just a matter of finding competent salesmen to counter right-wing propaganda. Barack Obama looks promising on that score.

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  • I’m not saying that’s the only reason Ken Blackwell went down. Granted, I think it was part of the reason, but I believe a bigger reason was the poisonous political climate for Republicans statewide, which was mainly due to the follies of Bob Taft and Co. Also note that I didn’t cite abortion as one of the reasons we went down.

    Another thing-many of the Democrats that got elected to Congress and the Senate this year aren’t what I would call ‘Liberal’ Democrats. Many of them are moderates, with Jim Webb and Heath Schuler being great examples. Liberal ideas didn’t win this election for the Democrats. The Democrats won because of the incompetence of the GOP.

    Some of the House seats the Democrats won are also going to go right back into the GOP column in 2008, with Mark Foley’s old district being a great example. Negron should win that district pretty handily next election.

  • Brian

    We agree that the ever-tightening bonds between the Religious Right and the GOP is a major factor in some losses this election (most notably Krazy Kenny). We also agree that it’s not the only reason – corruption played a role, very strongly in some races (OH-18). And, yes, some seats will flip right back (OH-18?) next time they are up for election.

    However, my bigger observation is that Democrats could forge a rock-solid majority if they could just figure out how to convince moderates that what they, as voters, value matches largely with what liberals value. One reason is that Democrats have been terrible at clearly articulating their values (I’m looking squarely at you, Kerry). Another reason is that the GOP, and conservatives in general, have been stellar at “running interference”. Just look at how they’ve poisoned the word “liberal”. Or convinced people that the flat tax or abolishing the estate tax are good ideas (despite the fact that voters feel that wealthy people don’t pay enough in taxes, and those ideas would shift the tax burden downward).

    I should add, my movement from libertarianism to liberalism mostly came about when I began to understand that the propaganda about liberals is mostly untrue.

    Democrats/liberals need candidates that can authentically talk about their vision for America. That’s why there is so much enthusiasm for Barack Obama, despite his relative inexperience compared to many other likely Democratic candidates for President.

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