News & Politics

Aren't You Glad You Didn't Move to Canada?

There's room in this country for optimism, after all: Here are six good things that the elections have brought us.
Yes, we can win when we stay and fight for our country. There is much, much work to do before we truly win back America, but this feeling should remind us that it can be done.

Some observations on this major triumph:

1. I wrote earlier that the dynamic of the midterms was two years of complete failure by conservative Republican government versus the stereotype of Democrats as soft on national security.

The stench of failure was stronger than the false stereotype.

That doesn't mean the stereotype of Democrats is gone. (It hasn't, and we still have to work to do to get rid of it.)

But it does mean that Americans have begun to seriously question how strong on national security Republicans really are.

And that made it too hard for them to effectively play the fear card this time.

2. Any notion that Democrats won because they ran a field of candidates who lean right on social issues is bunk (as both the NY Times and the Washington Post suggest, apparently following the lead of Rep. Rahm Emanuel.)

Yes, there are candidates like Sen.-elect Bob Casey (PA), Rep.-elect Brad Ellsworth (IN) and Rep.-elect Heath Shuler (NC) who are anti-abortion.

But Sen.-elect Sherrod Brown and Sen.-elect Claire McCaskill support reproductive freedom and won in Ohio and Missouri. Rep.-elect Harry Mitchell is pro-choice and beat prominent conservative Rep. J.D. Hayworth in Arizona.

And South Dakota voters rejected a statewide ban on abortion.

(Montana's Jon Tester, who is leading as of this writing, is pro-choice too.)

It's not a problem if the Democratic Party embraces candidates with differing views on moral questions. (It has never been a problem that anti-abortion Harry Reid leads us in the Senate.)

It is a problem if the party wrongly believes it must do so, and must marginalize liberal moral values, in order to win -- because that attitude will fracture the party and compromise core principles.

And it's a really big problem if these guys don't help the Democratic team stop Bush from shoving our judiciary even farther to the right-wing.

3. The GOP's race-baiting anti-immigrant ads did not save the day for the Republicans in the short-term, but will harm their efforts to build support with Latinos in the long-term.

4. Voter turnout was strong enough to overwhelm a flawed election system and Republican gerrymandering.

5. The election system is still flawed. Now we are in position to begin reforming it for real.

6. Dubya has a press conference after election day at 1 PM ET. As I wrote earlier this week, there is no time for a breather. The next round starts now
Bill Scher is the author of the new book, Wait! Don't Move To Canada!: A Stay-and-Fight Strategy To Win Back America. He will be continuing his book tour in Oregon, Seattle and NYC this month.