When we were kids we thought we knew how to get what we wanted from our parents. There was a standard sequence to our requests. First we would use logic followed by flattery, and if all else failed we turned to emotion and guilt. We knew that if we got to the emotion and guilt stage, things had gotten desperate. It would go something like this: “ If you get me the new bike you won’t have to drive me everyplace and my friends will know you are the coolest parents ever.” Now time for the emotion and guilt. “Come on, please, please! You don’t want me to be the only one of my friends without a bike do you?” You get the idea. Some of us were better at it than others, but we all tried it. It seems that the GOP strategists have determined that it is worth trying this time-honored and sometimes successful strategy in 2014, and perhaps again in 2016. However, before we laugh it off as just one more desperate move by the GOP, let’s remember that some kids did get the new bike.
As Democrats we can disparagingly and disdainfully recount the GOP’s attempts to make one issue after another their recipe for ultimate Republican dominance and success. First it was the economy and jobs. Well, that didn’t work as proven in the 2012 election. But even before we could celebrate the success of the improving economy the GOP latched onto the Affordable Care Act as the ultimate evil. Furthermore, its disastrous roll-out fed this narrative, providing it with nutritious tidbits to blast all over Fox News. Yet, the ultimate numbers by the March 31st deadline made Obamacare another non-issue. Never to be outmaneuvered or troubled by the facts, the GOP continued to cite the economy and the Affordable Care Act as Obama failures, but continued to beat the Benghazi drum as a backup issue. It seems however, that now the GOP is ready to bring the Benghazi tragedy front and center, in view of the fact that they realize the other two are fading quickly. The establishment of a Select Committee to investigate Benghazi by Speaker Boehner, despite the bipartisan report issued months ago, appears to be an act of desperation. But remember, while we may see through this childish and time-worn ploy, they may get their bike.
The greatest danger in the midterm elections is that the Democrats miscalculate the GOP threat because of their tactics. All of the numbers, in part due to the gerrymandering successes of the GOP in 2010, show a potential Democratic disaster. While it is clear that there is little chance the Democrats will gain a majority, let alone seats in the House, the Senate is where the real danger is. It is very possible that the GOP can win the necessary seats to take over the majority in the Senate. The way to prevent that is to make sure that the Democratic electorate is mobilized and gets out the vote. A GOP-controlled Senate would endanger all that is important to those of us who are Progressives. It would put into play voting rights, abortion, immigration, issues of war and peace, the “safety net”, and on and on. In addition, it would effectively shut down the Obama Presidency leaving him little chance of any legislative success, and attempting to reverse those he has had.
For months I have called for us all to work to get out the vote. The 2014 midterm election is every bit as important as any Presidential election to our future, and the future of our children and grandchildren. Let’s not let this opportunity slip away.