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As Goes Kentucky, So Goes The Nation?

Hardly.

Primaries are my favorite part of the election cycle. Yes, I’m a dork! And like every other dorky political junkie, I was watching yesterdays primaries closely. Here’s what happened in my estimation; nothing surprising.

I get that cable news has to make it all sound like we saw a stunning upset last night. Boring elections make for lower ratings, and fewer reasons to roll out the pundits. But nothing unpredictable happened yesterday.

Everyone is focused in Pennsylvania for some reason. To me, Pennsylvania was the least remarkable result yesterday. But the focus on Pennsylvania is a means to “scrutinize” the Obama administrations efficacy in getting people elected. Personally, I don’t believe that Specter’s loss last night had very much to do with Obama. I think that Specter’s chances of winning a democratic primary after switching parties was compromised right from the beginning. It just seemed like such a self serving maneuver. He was going to have a hard time overcoming that all along. I phone banked into Philly on behalf of the Sestak campaign. I was surprised at how many people had no idea who Sestak was, even a week before the election. Specter’s loss wasn’t about Obama, and it wasn’t about Sestak. It was about Specter. I believe that he lost because he couldn’t overcome the impression that he’s self serving, and because he fell victim to the anti-incumbent fervor that we’re seeing across the country.

The Mark Critz victory was no more a referendum against republicans than the Specter loss was a referendum against Obama. Mark Critz is the democrat that ran for Jack Murtha’s congressional seat in Pennsylvania. This is a decidedly democratic district that, for some reason, republicans thought they had a chance at grabbing. I have no idea what they were thinking! This is not a district that  republicans would normally dump money into. The fact that they did this time, tells me that they are completely out of touch with what’s going on in the country. Republicans lost a race that they never had a chance of winning. There was no “statement” being made here by the voters in that district.

The Rand Paul victory was the most interesting thing that happened last night, even though it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that was watching the polls. It wasn’t interesting because of the tea party angle (not to me, anyway). It was interesting because Mitch McConnell was the real loser yesterday. When the candidate backed by the leading republican in the senate loses in his own state lost by twenty four points, I’d say that a message was being sent. Mitch McConnell got spanked last night. I don’t know Kentucky politics all that well so I can’t speak to how much of this victory was a tea party thing, versus a “Ron Paul’s son” thing. But I do think that it’s clear that republicans are not happy with the republican party.

I feel like the republican strategy of obstructing and obfuscating is blowing up in their faces. They should have taken the 2006 and 2008 elections to heart and realized that they are a broken party. They should have rehabbed themselves by going back to the basic tenets of conservatism. They should have come up with creative solutions to remedy the enormous problems they created during the Bush years. And most of all, they should have done a mea culpa for having lost their way. They should have been working hard to show the American people that they learned a lesson and were prepared to massively change course. But instead of doing any of that, they chose to pretend that they made no mistakes. They adopted a strategy of waiting for the democrats to suck more than republicans have. They decided to do everything they could to make the democrats look bad, rather than to elevate themselves.

Mitch McConnell was one of the chief architects of this strategy, and I believe that Kentucky sent him a message yesterday. Maybe I’m being a sunny optimist here, but I feel like republicans aren’t happy with their party taking the “we may suck, but they suck more” approach.

I have to admit that I was surprised that Blanche Lincoln didn’t win last night. Not because I like her, I actually think she’s a flaming piece of crap. But she’s a “conservative” piece of crap, who is actually perfectly suited for the political landscape in Arkansas. I thought that she would win the primary, and then lose the general election.

Onto my prediction for November.

I do believe that democrats are going to lose seats. Historically speaking, it’s a foregone conclusion. But I don’t believe that democrats are going to lose control of either the house or the senate. The number of seats lost will ultimately rely on job creation. If Obama can create a million jobs between now and November, I believe that the total loss of seats will be around twenty. I think that if they create NO jobs between now and November, they will lose around thirty seats, which still keeps them in control of the senate and the house.

I just don’t see a huge anti-democrat ground swell out there. Not because democrats have been great on anything, but because republicans haven’t done anything to make themselves more attractive to voters. I anything, they’ve dug their heels into their crappiness. When given the option of choosing between a heaping, stinky pile of turds and a slightly less aromatic and smaller pile of crap, you have to pick the lesser of two evils.

And sucking less is what will keep democrats in power or more accurately, in a majority state of powerlessness.

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Unacceptable!

I’m referring to the merry band of miscreants that we have to choose from this November. I don’t know about where you guys live (I’d love to hear your stories), but here in New York, we’re forced to vote for another crappy senator. It doesn’t matter who we vote for, they’re all crap.

Kirsten Gillibrand is very likely going to win the senate seat she currently holds because republicans have nothing, other than a former Chief economist for Bear Stearns. Yay for us! In one of the most liberal states in America, we get to pick between two conservative corporatists. Gillibrand has spent the past year trying to “left it up” in order to secure any votes in Manhattan, but she recently showed her hand by doing her part in eviscerating the financial reform bill. She’s getting a TON of money from Wall Street to fund her campaign, which means she takes marching orders from Lloyd Blankfein. She hasn’t even been elected to that seat yet, and she’s already made it clear that her interests trump those of New Yorkers and Americans at large. What is she going to turn into after she’s obtained six more years of job security?

The sad thing is that my situation in New York isn’t even the the worst of options that Americans must make. Poor Nevada has to choose between the very the ineffective pussy that is Harry Reid and the crazy chicken lady! Arizona gets to choose between the filthy, corrupt JD Hayworth and crazy, bitter John McCain. And let’s not forget California, another liberal bastion of America. You’ve got Meg Whitman, who somehow finds time to run a campaign between board meetings at Goldman Sachs and Carly Fiorina, who was paid $45M just to get the fuck out of Hewlett Packard.

Why is this happening to America? These are not candidates that anyone can get behind, regardless of party affiliation and political ideology. No true conservative can possibly find JD Hayworth palatable if they’re being honest with themselves. And Kirsten Gillibrand, the corporatist Annie Oakley should make any self respecting democrat wretch. If we voted our conscience and our real ideology, rather than being herded by our political affiliations, we would all see that none of these people are acceptable. None of them give a fuck about protecting our interests.

Both parties have completely gone to shit, and it’s not going to stop unless we stop it. Every time we vote for one of these assholes, we’re ensuring that the next wave of candidates that our party puts in front of us is going to be worse than the last.

I have found another Senatorial candidate to support here in New York. He doesn’t have a snowballs chance of getting the word out in the face of the big money that Gillibrand is getting from Wall Street, but I’m campaigning for him. If Jonathan Tasini can siphon off 10% (I know, that’s a lot) of the votes in the democratic primary, we can send a message to the DNC.

Sadly, I feel lucky to even have another option since that’s not the case in a lot of races across the country. My plan was to just go in and undervote, meaning that I will vote on everything else, while leaving my senatorial choice blank. Trust me, undervotes do not go unnoticed. Not voting at all is completely ineffective because it appears as if we just don’t give a damn.

I fundamentally believe that the only way to change the sad state of political affairs that we find ourselves in, it for us all to work for change within our own party. I don’t believe that democrats can fix the republican party or vice versa. But if democrats send a clear message to the DNC, they’ll listen. This will never be accomplished by holding you nose and voting for the piece of shit candidate that the party has put in front of you. It certainly won’t be achieved by drinking the party kool aid and convincing yourself that piece of shit isn’t a piece of shit, simply because they’re representing your party.

It’s our responsibility to find better candidates and to support them with our votes, our time, and our money. And if you can’t find another option, maybe you should run! I’m not kidding. But barring those two scenarios, I believe that an epidemic of undervoting would send a message to our parties. We have to stop tolerating the unacceptable.

I am never going to leave the voting booth with that feeling of needing to boil my body just to clean off the stink of what I was just forced to vote for again. Are you?

Please, feel free to share your crappy candidates! It’s hard for me to stay on top of local races across the country, but I an curious!

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