Behind the Rout: Two Seminal Events

At the bottom of this post are links to several articles on why some won, some lost, plus first class behind-the-scenes reporting from journalists allowed inside campaigns. They are well done, well written, entertaining, and an accurate picture of the ugly side of politics.

In this post I write about what has largely been ignored.

Two Seminal Events behind the Rout in the 2014 Midterm Elections


Harry Reid’s Democratic Senate, a do nothing Senate.

The seeds of the Democratic disaster were sewn by Harry Reid a long time ago when he chose to make the Democratic Senate a do nothing Senate.

The Senate went three years without passing a budget. There were no votes to fix, mend or fine-tune Obamacare despite the disastrous rollout. The House sent the Senate 340 bills, including several passed with bi-partisan support. Reid stubbornly sat on them. There was no energy bill. Not even a feeble attempt to fix the tax code. No votes on the Keystone pipeline. Nothing to jolt an economy that isn’t working for a lot of the 99%. (Obama can cite all the stats he wants. But if Americans don’t feel a ‘recovering’ economy, good stats are irrelevant.) Too much of the floor debate time was spent haranguing about the Koch brothers instead of conducting the nation’s business.

Thus, when Democrats running in red states desperately needed proof that they had deviated and differed from the unpopular policies of an unpopular President they had none. Nearly every incumbent Democrat had to defend voting with the President 97%+ of the time because Reid never gave them the opportunity to separate themselves from the Administration.

Which brings up the second seminal event of the season. The President uttered a profoundly stupid comment in a Chicago speech in early October, and his one line nationalized the election. Although he claimed to have been taken out of context, the press reported Obama’s words as “Make no mistake. My Policies are on the ballot.”


That line was in the ads of Republican candidates within 24 hours. What Obama said crystallized the choice facing the nation. The breeze that grew to a gale began the minute those words left the President’s mouth.

Article: What comes of the opportunity the GOP has been given is now up to the GOP.


Next week. Why framing the debate will always be more important than those fancy GOTV toys.

In the meantime, below links to some of the best articles about the election, the hopeless challenge faced by Democrats, the limits of technology, and a few other brilliant pieces of first class journalism. If you are a political junkie grab a coffee, click the links and enjoy the next hour.

Yup, It Was a Wave
Battle for the Senate: How the GOP did it
How the Democrats Lost the Senate
Why the Democrats Lost
Chastened Republicans Beat Democrats at Their Own Ground Game
For Midterms, Betting on Feet and Good Apps
Tech tally: What campaigns learned in 2014
G.O.P. Ads Chase Voters at Home and on the Go
Democrats Learn Tough Tech Lesson
What Happened to that Democratic Turnout Machine
Teachers Unions Flunked Their Midterms
Inside Mitch McConnell’s War
The Colorado GOP Mailed It In-But Won
How Larry Hogan won in Maryland
Wendy Davis Lost Badly. Here’s How it Happened

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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