It is Thursday night, at 10:24, and I am watching Lawrence O’Donnell. He and his guests are discovering the one responsible for the disaster on Tuesday night. It was, he says, the Democrats!, and specifically the Democratic leadership, who set the strategy for the party in the Congress. Simply put, the Democrats ran from Obama, and that meant, they ran from all the successes of the last six years, and so a voter, looking for a reason to choose between this Democratic candidate and that Republican candidate, couldn’t think of a reason to make his choice but speeches by the candidate! I wonder if they can be serious, here. Make your choice of where to vote on the basis of political speeches?
I don’t think I have ever listened to a political speech in my entire life and then made up my mind to vote for that person on the basis of that speech.
I read. I watch TV. I know the histories of the two political parties. By the time I actually am close enough to see and hear a candidate, I am months past the time when hearing him was going to affect my choice of candidate.
But then I realize I am different from a lot of people. Before a single candidate has been chosen, I already know the parties’ philosophies on most issues. I don’t need to hear a candidate to think, “Hmmm. This one might be good.” I already know that if this one is a Republican, then his economic proposals are going to be a disaster for the country. And i know that the Democratic candidate is going to have a better plan for immigration. I also know that this country was built on immigration—all of us, except Native Americans, are immigrants—and so any proposal to seriously reduce immigration is a serious proposal to reject out nation’s history. What we are. So I don’t have to do much when the candidates begin to sort themselves out. He’s a Democrat—check. He accepts or pushes issues from the Democratic playbook—check. He speaks well—that’s a plus. Well, you see how this is going.
Now, if a voter tries to make up his mind in the last weeks of the campaign on the basis of what the candidate is saying, he is very very likely to get it wrong.
You have to educate yourself. You have to read books. You have to watch intelligent TV. You have to learn who lies to you and who doesn’t. You have to educate yourself on the policies of the two parties. Which ones are successful when adopted and which ones are dismal failures. And if, in 2014, you make the mistake of thinking that the Republicans are going to be better for the country than the Democrats, you are responsible for that mistake.
Our voters, who didn’t educate themselves in recent weeks, screwed up on Tuesday.