Mid-Term Elections: “Gloom and Doom”?

obama in shirtsleevesThe election night results brought forth a much expected outcome, a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and some “slippage” in Democrat seats held in the Senate. The reasons were several for the outcome, but it is not the end of the world. The Democrats (and everybody else) need to stop their snivelin’. Wipe your nose and move on with the outcome. What happened is a combination of historical politics, race realities, fear-mongering and voter suppression. Change is still in the air.

They (Republicans) know it, and we (everybody else) know it. It is not as “Doom and Gloom” as you think, and it really doesn’t bode well for the Republicans or Democrats rolling into the 2012 Presidential Election season. We just have to analyze this in proper context.

First and foremost, the President is NOT to blame – even though President Obama, as head of his party, has accepted the blame. The media is blaming the “Obama-backlash” as the primary reason for why the Democrats lost 60 seats in the House and six in the Senate. However, think of how many seats the Democrats would’ve lost if he hadn’t campaigned the last month before election? The Democrats would’ve have lost both chambers of Congress, and probably another 20 House seats. I’m convinced the President saved Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid’s seat (who everybody thought was gone). I know he saved California Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat.

You can point to those type of examples all over the country. The President played it right. He acknowledged that the American people are frustrated with the wait it is taking for the economy to turn around. What nobody is asking is, “Who could’ve turned around in two years the nation’s worst economy in 70 years?” The Republicans caused it and they know the American people didn’t trust them to do it because they knew they couldn’t, and the Republicans didn’t do much to help President Obama. Still, the President congratulated the Republicans victory on this night and stated that “the people had spoken.” What he should have said was some of the people had spoken. For he knew, like we knew (and Republicans knew) that he wasn’t on the ballot this year and the “change” voters, young people, didn’t turn out. Only 11% of 18 to 29 year olds turned out this election. The “pop culture” vote stayed home.

The black vote stayed home too, but for a different reason. Again, the President wasn’t on the ballot, and they too were frustrated with the economy as blacks are two and a half times more likely to be unemployed than their white counterparts and for twice as long. The change they expected has not come, and when white folks catch an economic cold, it’s full blown pneumonia for black America.

Instead of voting against the President, or voting Republican or Tea Party (really one and the same), they stayed home. In some instances, there was just no incentive to vote. For instance, according to a pre-election study done by the Joint Center For Political and Economic Studies, in twenty cities where the African American vote would likely influence the election outcome, 16 of those cities were represented by “Blue Dog” (Conservative) Democrats. Eight of them lost on election night. What incentive did Blacks have to vote when their choices were between a conservative Democrat and a conservative Republican? You’re absolutely right…none.

In many of these races nationwide, such as in California, the choices were so bad that those African Americans who did vote, held their noses while trying to support the President’s endangered policy agenda. It was an ugly election year, on more than one front, FOR EVERYBODY. But do Republicans expect these two segments of Obama’s enormous base to stay home in 2012? If they do, they had better wake up from their bad dream and slap themselves. The “Obama Wave” is waitin’ on ’em. The populous movement that ushered in Obama and the Democrats is not over. Just hibernating. They could only win a suppressed vote election. Every President loses seats in mid-term elections. It goes with the job. So what now? We wait and see how the Republicans play.

The good news is that they just can’t blame the President and the Democrats anymore. Now the Republicans have carved themselves a place at the table to play. Their obstructionist politic of the past two years is over. The American people want action and I believe President Obama is, on occasion, going to hand them the ball and see if they can score in the flow of the change game. All that “woofin’” the Republicans did over the past two years is going to be tested because Obama’s a “baller” and if you say you can play, here’s your chance…Politics is about cooperation and compromise.

The Republicans didn’t cooperate very much in the minority, so what is their expectation now that they are in the majority? They still need to work with the Senate and the President to net anything, in terms of policy, from this mid-term gain. They need to stop saying they’re going to overturn “Obamacare.” They couldn’t if they wanted to. And truth be told, a lame duck Democratic-controlled Congress could still do a lot of legislating in the last month of their session.

Anthony SamadMaybe the election results were the kick in the butt the Democrats needed to move off the dime. The voters have given them the “ultimate” deadline. They need to make use of it. Either way, we’re going to see just how well the Republicans “play with others” or if they try to tack the nation backwards, or move forward in a cooperative way to HELP turn the economy around. Divided government (each party controlling a branch of government) is an effective way to govern, as the parties check each other and hold each other accountable. That’s how I see it.

So now, the Republicans excuses are over. If there’s any “doom and gloom” to speak of, guess who’s gonna’ be right in the middle of it?

Antony Samad

Reprinted with permission from the BlackCommentator.

Published by the LA Progressive on November 12, 2010
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About Anthony Asadullah Samad

Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad is an author, scholar and the co-founder, Managing Director and host of the Urban Issues Forum. Dr. Samad's most recent book is entitled "Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom". His national column can be read in newspapers and cyber-sites nationwide. His weekly writings can be read at www.blackcommentator.com. For more information about Dr. Samad, go to www.AnthonySamad.com.