Seeing as I was jetlagged and sleep deprived last week on Election Day — though I made it to the polls anyhow — I was in no mental condition to post any sort of postgame analysis then, nor for a few days afterward (especially given that it was Launch Week). Now that I’ve had time to recover and process a little —
I have mixed feelings. On the local level, I’m very, very glad that Carl Paladino did not become New York’s next governor. The last thing this state needs right now is a rabid dog at the head of its executive branch — especially a rabid dog who’s cheerfully racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, and just an overall thug. I’m not all that thrilled with Cuomo, though, except in that he’s not Paladino. Cuomo strikes me as a conservative in liberal clothing, and there was nothing especially innovative or interesting about his platform. In fact, there were quite a few pieces of his platform that I found outright alarming, like his determination to refuse desperately-needed funding for schools at a time when New York’s schools are just barely, finally, becoming functional after decades of dysfunction. This strikes me as dangerously short-sighted given that NY is struggling to win business from states with better-educated populations. But then, Cuomo’s not trying to appeal to progressives like me; he’s going after the so-called moderates upstate — who are far more right-wing than moderate, and whose solution to every fiscal problem seems to be “cut taxes and cut spending! We fear change!”
But then, this has been my problem with the Democrats down the line, throughout the past two years. At a time when the Republicans are doing their damnedest to cater to their irrationally angry base of old white people, the Democrats have essentially told their base to quit whining and be happy with what they’ve gotten. Which is substantial, I’ll grant. But there have been so many efforts on the Dems’ part to take a “centrist” position on many issues — scare quotes included because that position isn’t exactly at the center anymore; there is no progressive left with any power — in order to appeal to those same angry old white people, and that makes no sense. Those aren’t the people who put them in office. So the Democratic base is justifiably frustrated, and I don’t blame those people for staying home on the big day.
I’m not a Democrat, note. They’re far too right for my tastes. If anything, my political positions align more closely with socialism than anything else; I would much prefer to see us adopt some of the better features of the European system of governance than our current two-party*, corporate-run oligarchy. That system isn’t without its flaws, but then, no system is flawless. It’s just a question of which flaws we consider acceptable, endurable, as a society. And personally? I’d be willing to pay higher taxes in order to have a bigger social safety net against unemployment, poor health, homelessness, short-sighted educational goals, and the like. If we made a better effort to solve the problems of the many in this country, I would begrudge the wealthy few their insanely huge concentration of wealth far less. They have to give poor people something, dammit. They can’t have it all.
But I digress. Regarding the Tea Party victories that have occurred — I’m not really worried about those. Those winners will quickly make themselves unpopular by pursuing agendas that the majority of the American public doesn’t want; they won’t last long unless they smarten up. What does scare me, though, is the number of Democrats who are now starting to sound like Tea Partiers, having apparently decided that their failure to energize the liberal base that elected them somehow proves that the party has become too liberal. Or something, I don’t know. It’s hard to parse because it makes no effing sense. Scratch that; it makes sense given how many Democratic politicians are serving other masters besides the voters who put them in office. And like I said, that’s what really scares me.
What also scares me is the number of states in which Republicans or Tea Partiers have undisputed control of the redistricting process. Because that has disturbing long-term implications, especially given the potential for misuse.
So my feeling right now is worry, and generalized disgust — at the Dems’ stupidity, primarily, rather than the Repubs’ or Teeps’ victories. Some of this was inevitable, I know; it’s normal for midterms to function as a sort of referendum on the President’s job-so-far. The House was always expected to flip, and it could’ve been much worse. But it could’ve been better, too.
*I’m not yet ready to consider the Tea Party a permanent addition to our political structure. They’re making too many stupid decisions for me to believe in their longevity.