Thursday, February 12, 2009

What the American People have to say about bipartisanship

Many people are quick to point out that Democrats make the mistake of thinking that “the facts speak for themselves” and therefore the facts should make peoples decisions for them. Experts make it clear that in fact (pun fully intended) people make their decisions based on emotions. They point out that Republicans won elections during the 1980’s and 1990’s by appealing to emotion and that Democrats lost by counting on the facts to speak for themselves. Be that as it may, it is still important to pay attention to the facts and learn what they have to say. So, let’s take a look at some facts from the 2006 and 2008 election cycles.

The American People speak loudest through elections. In the 2006 election cycle the American people sent a strong message regarding their opinion of the Republican Party by handing the Democrats a clean sweep of the Republicans.

In 2006:

Democrats gained 6 Governorships by defeating 1 incumbent Republican and capturing 5 previously Republican held open seats.
Republicans gained 0 Governorships.

Democrats gained 31 US House of Representative seats by defeating 22 Republican incumbents, taking 8 previously Republican held open seats and 1 previously Independent held open seat.
Republicans gained 0 House seats.

Democrats gained 6 seats in the US Senate by defeating 6 Republican incumbents.
Republicans gained 0 Senate seats.

A complete sweep of this sort had never happened in the history of American electoral politics. Republicans did not win a single seat held by a Democrat. Not one. The American People took control of the US House away from the Republicans and gave it to the Democrats. The American People took control of the US Senate away from the Republicans and gave it to the Democrats. The American People took control of the majority of the 50 state Governorships away from the Republicans and gave it to the Democrats. At the State Legislative level Democrats also had sweeping victories taking majority control of several state legislatures but it was not quite the complete shutout seen at the federal and gubernatorial level.

In the following election cycle of 2008 the American People continued with the strong, loud and ought to be clear message they are sending (shift to present tense intentional) to Washington by virtually duplicating the clean sweep of 2006 with a resounding victory for Democrats across the board.

2008 was a Presidential election year. The American People took the Presidency away from the Republicans and gave it to the Democrats by electing Barack Obama to be the American People’s President of these United States of America with over a 9,500,000 vote margin. This translated to over a two thirds margin in the electoral college. A dominating, landslide victory for the Democratic candidate.

This margin completely swamped the combined margin of the previous 2 Republican Presidential victories combined. George Bush’s electoral vote margin was a slim 5 in 2000 and a larger 35 in 2004 for a combined total of 40 electoral votes compared to Barack Obama’s single election margin of 192 electoral votes. An almost 5 to 1 ratio. The popular vote is even more demonstrative of the American People’s opinion of the Republican Party. George Bush won the 2004 election by roughly 3 million votes and, you may recall, lost the popular vote in 2000 by roughly a half million votes. This combined 2.5 million votes is again swamped almost 4 to 1 by Barack Obama’s 9.5 million vote victory.

But wait. There’s more.

Also in 2008:

Democrats gained 1 Governorship by winning 1 previously Republican held open seat.
Republicans gained 0 Governorships.

Democrats gained 21 US House of Representative seats by defeating 14 Republican incumbents, taking 12 previously Republican held open seats.
Republicans defeated 5 Democratic incumbents. 4 of these were seats Democrats had won from Republicans in the 2006 sweep. Only 1 was from a long term Democrat and that was the indicted William “Cold Cash” Jefferson for whom Democrats did not turn out to vote.

Democrats gained 8 seats in the US Senate by defeating 5 Republican incumbents and taking 3 previously Republican held open seats.
Republicans gained 0 Senate seats.

The combined two-cycle total is:

1 President
1 Vice President

7 Governors

47 US Representatives
14 Senators

Let’s look at what the American People had to say from another angle:

-1 President
-1 Vice President

-7 Governors

-47 US Representatives
-14 Senators

It is admirable that the newly elected President Barack Obama wants to heal the divisions in this country. It is important that these divisions be healed. It is also admirable that he is reaching out to Republicans and attempting to include them in his administration and in discussions about the direction of the country under his stewardship. And it is admirable that he has made a point of reaching out to segments of American society that consistently voted for Republicans during their narrow victories in the early part of the decade and remained with the Republicans during their crushing defeats in 2006 and 2008. This is important and I hope he continues to do it.

However… the American People have made clear that they have rejected Republican policy and Republican governance. Resoundingly so. The newly elected President of the United States of America has been given a mandate his predecessor never had. His mandate is the same as his campaign theme…


The newly elected President and 111th Congress have been in office just under a month now. The Republicans that remain in elected office in Washington have made it clear that they intend to obstruct the agenda and mandate of the Majority Democrats to the best of their ability. This was made no clearer than their lock-step NO vote on the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan in the House. Zero Republicans voted in favor of the bill even after Democrats agreed to drop certain provisions important to Democrats and the American People. Both Republicans and Democratic Leaders should make note of that 0 number. The American People elected 0 Republicans the last two election cycles. 0 Republicans voted in step with the Democrats that the American People did vote into office. Be assured that the American People are well aware of the relation between those zeros and their relation to the coming 2010 mid-term elections as well.

Democrats in the US Senate, US House, and the White House have a strong and unequivocal mandate to govern as Democrats. While they should continue to reach out to their Republican colleagues in an effort at re-creating the bipartisanship that once governed this nation effectively this must not be done at the expense of heading the voice of the American People and advancing the Democratic Agenda that the American People overwhelmingly voted for in 2006 and 2008.

It is admirable that President Obama has nominated multiple Republicans to serve in his cabinet. It is particularly remarkable that they have included such Republicans as Judd Gregg. The news that Mr. Gregg decided today that he simply could not work with the President should not come as a surprise to anyone. His views have always been too the far right fringe that the modern day Republican Party holds. There are very few “moderate” Republicans left in elected office these days. Perhaps 3 total. Mr. Gregg’s inability to work with the President during this time of economic crisis is akin to the Republican House caucus voting against the American People’s economic recovery act. There can be no mistaking where the Republicans priorities lie. They are lock-step with the hard line far right fringe agenda that the American People have so overwhelmingly rejected.

Thank you for trying Mr. President. But it is time to move on to accomplishing what we sent you to Washington to do. You have a lot of work ahead of you and no time to waste in doing it. There are plenty of highly qualified, capable Democrats that are more than willing to roll up their sleeves and work hard on advancing the agenda We the American People elected you to put into action.

This is a cartogram of what America looks like. We are not a Center-Right nation. We are not Red and Blue.


To see more please see this Scientific American article.

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