A mixed-bag in America…
Paul Walter has some good comment on the recent round of American elections which were billed as a verdict on President Obama; mostly it seems by self-interested parties, ignoring the fact that while local elections do sometimes reflect national trends this can be to a greater or lesser degree. How else would those proponents of the ‘damming verdict’ school of thought explain the New York result where the Democrats usurped the Republicans in a seat that the latter have held since the Civil War?
Also, as is pointed out in the New York Times;
Two state governorships, one competitive congressional district and a scattering of mayors’ races, referenda and judicial contests do not constitute a fair national sampling of opinion.
The same article goes onto cite voter apathy amoung Obama’s base; not widespread dissatisfaction as the real cause of the loses. This is naturally going to be a problem for Obama and any politician elected on a tidal-wave of popular enthusiasm from people who traditionally do not vote. Cohereing this kind of voter into a soild core base that will actually turn out and vote for your party on a metaphorical windswept winters night is an entirely different from them being swept up in a one-off movement; especially when the figurehead moves from opposition to incumbent.
Constant activity needs to be replaced with something more and it should worry the Democrats that already commentators are saying;
To cut into a Republican wave in the midterms, the Democrats need to provide a national narrative — a big idea that resonates with both progressives and independents, showing that the entire country is all in it together.
At the moment the Republicans have a strong (even if it is reactionary) narrative that will defiantly motivate their core vote and get it out to vote. The Democrat’s need to energise their support and a vigerous counter-blast against the anti health-care tirade may well be the way to do that….