The American electorate will always prefer to vote for bullies over voting for cowards.
Americans don’t go for cowards much. Voters don’t come out to support the gutless. When you turn tail and run from a loudmouth bully, you lose all respect. The Democrats have only themselves to blame for their lack of support at the polls.
Everyone knew the Republicans would march lockstep to vote in the Midterms. This very site has been saying just that for months. This very column has been a series of pieces on why progressives and liberals will all need to get to the polls. All for naught.
As a boy, I was bullied frequently. I was small for my size and my family moved around a lot, so I was always a target. Know what other kids do when bullies are after you? Nothing. I had to find a way to fight back.
Only when I tried to stand up to them would I get any form of support from others. Maybe not every single time, but nobody ever helped me if I begged and pleaded for them not to hurt me. In fact, that made things far worse. I’d take a beating anyway, but now there’d be an audience, laughing and jeering.
You can’t ignore bullies. It’s a badly written myth that they’ll go away if you do. They always circle back around on you. Even if you beat them, they’ll come after you again. Especially when they have unlimited dark money poured into their voter-suppressed, gerrymandered campaigns. Election Day proved that.
Democrats failed to stand up to obstructionist bullies. Running away from their President and their successful policies painted them as cowards. And what do you know, voters stayed away. Nobody wanted to support someone screaming “I’m not with Obama! Don’t hurt me!”
The Midterms are historically bad for Presidents, yes. And certainly the media was already in the Republicans’ corner all year building up to Election Day, convincing voters, intentionally or not, that this race was already run. But the biggest factor was who wasn’t voting. Americans have become hugely apathetic about that right.
How apathetic? This writer composed two different articles about the importance of voting in the Midterms. One for this site, one for another. Neither piece found much traction. I had to beg colleagues to help share them.
The second publisher wouldn’t promote the voting piece on the grounds their audience would ignore it. That speaks directly to the issue. And they were right to ignore it as well. Why push an article that your audience isn’t going to click on? That’s bad business.
And so, after the election, memes and articles began popping up, chiding Americans for not voting. That was absurd. If people didn’t care enough to vote, there is absolutely no point in lambasting them for not voting. They won’t care about that either.
Hell, they won’t even see those memes regardless. Anyone who doesn’t give a shit about politics isn’t following the Facebook pages posting that stuff. It’s pointless and whiny and it’s just giving conservatives something to laugh at.
Americans, the majority of them, do not care about voting. This isn’t changing anytime. And they sure aren’t going to start caring if the choice is between a screaming Republican and a Democrat screaming, “Not in the face!”
None of us are perfect. We like to think we always do the right thing, but we don’t. We don’t stand up to bullies when we see them in action. We just keep our heads down and hope not to get noticed.
But here’s the thing; bullies count on you feeling intimidated. It’s a crude crowd control technique. To snap others out of it, you need to show them how to not be afraid. It’s a tough step to take, but it needs to be done. And when one person speaks out against bullies, others will follow, like a pebble starting an avalanche.
To inspire voters, you need to stand against your opponents. You cannot run from them, and you sure as hell can’t run from who you are. Show pride in yourself. Show spine. Resolve. Courage. These are the qualities that inspire voters to not only support you, but to turn out in droves. It will solve the issue of “messaging.” It will lessen the media stacking the decks against you. It will make opponents screaming lies and shifting blame less threatening.
Besides, look how quickly Republicans squeal when you hand it back to them. Rand Paul runs away from immigrant advocates. He actually runs away. When Paul got called on his widespread plagiarism, he whined and cried about wanting to duel people. The Democrats let him get away with it.
Chris Christie got kept on the ropes for months over Bridge-gate until Democrats wandered away. Christie was then found innocent by people working for Christie.
Republicans tried to smear the administration with a manufactured scandal about Benghazi, aiding terrorists in spreading fear and dividing America for 20 months. They were proven wrong, and Democrats just let them walk away.
Every time Republicans get held accountable, they whine and cry like a playground bully dumped on his ass. They love to dish it, but they have proven repeatedly that they can’t take it. They are nobody to be afraid of, and I for one cannot fathom how Democrats didn’t stick together and absolutely hammer the GOP. No smearing needed.
These should have been the easiest Mid-terms ever for Democrats to win. Those who voted Republican still don’t represent the average American, but they have the courage of their convictions, whether or not you agree with them, and conservative leaders inspire them. But they are still not representative of the majority of Americans. They’re just louder.
Don’t ever run away from Republicans again, Democrats. Instead, you must use your minority in Congress to learn how to face down a larger opponent. Practice every day. Prepare for 2016, take that field, and charge on to the next.
Grow spines, Democrats. Get your heads together. Pick yourself back up. Learn from your mistakes. Inspire us again. Get future votes out now. We will win again.
You’re supposed to be moving forward, not hiding in back. So get moving.