LOS ANGELES, November 6, 2014 — The 2014 election was a bloodbath for Democrats. They were obliterated in every possible conceivable way. Putting lipstick on the pig is a pointless activity. What matters is whether anything useful can be gleamed from the results. Every election provides crystal clear lessons for the winning and losing sides. The unknown is whether those lessons are heeded. The lessons from the 2014 elections are as plain as day.
Disloyalty does not work — Candidates who try to throw their own party under the bus get crushed. In 2006, congressional Republicans ran away from President George W. Bush in the hope of saving their congressional majorities. The strategy failed. In 2014, Democrats abandoned President Obama, yet still could not save themselves. It is better to have the courage to stand with the president and risk the wrath of the voters than dessert the president when the going gets tough. It is impossible to win everyone to your side, but it is possible to lose everybody. Abandoning even an unpopular president demoralizes a candidate’s own side while emboldening political opponents who see blood in the water. While a candidate can claim that they serve the people and not their party or president, voters can see through this platitude. If you hug the president when the polls are at 60% favorable, it is not possible to destroy all the internet images when the president craters to 40% approval.
Voters dislike weasels — Voters ruthlessly punish candidates who try to weasel their way out of answers to obvious questions. Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes saw her support collapse when she refused to answer whether she voted for Obama. She was a delegate for him at the 2012 Democratic Convention. She absolutely voted for him. She should have just said this and then pointed out where she disagreed with him. In life and in politics, weasels get run over by oncoming traffic.
Govern as you campaigned — If a campaign is won on economic issues, govern on economic issues. Do not start out with social issues if foreign policy was the deciding factor in the election, and vice versa. President Obama was elected in 2008 to deal with a fiscal crisis. Instead he passed a healthcare bill and then claimed that Obamacare was a fiscal issue. Six years later, people are desperate for jobs. Republicans must keep this in mind. Social issues can wait. Voters want jobs, and anything not directly related to promoting economic growth deviates from what the 2014 campaign was about. Repealing Obama’s anti-growth policies is acceptable because Republicans campaigned on doing exactly this.
Get popular support — Liberals keep insisting that one day the Affordable Care Act will be as cherished as Social Security and Medicare. This is not true. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Great Society had popular support. Obama had personal popular support. He had support for the general concept of reforming healthcare. He never had support for the specific approach he took. At no time did Obamacare ever have majority support. Ramming through a bill on a purely party-line vote against the will of the people is a recipe for disaster. This is why the rest of Obama’s agenda has ground to a halt. The president’s repeated use of executive orders and regulatory agency edicts has just turned voters further against him.
Avoid campaigning on nonsense — When polls repeatedly say that an issue has little to no popular support, drop the matter. Trying to force people to care about issues that have zero impact on their lives is a recipe for disaster. As much as it pains liberals to admit it, the people do not care about climate change. They find the issue boring and useless to their existence. People are worried about putting food on their table. High food and fuel prices matter. Worldwide terrorism matters. The name of the Washington Redskins does not. The war on women the Democrats waged is laughable given that it was Republicans electing women of all races and national origins in this past election. When people are out of work and Americans are being beheaded by Radical Islamists, they do not want to be lectured by rich white leftists about climate change.
Playing the bigotry card has consequences — Nearly 48 hours after the elections, not one elected Republican candidate has lynched a black person, beaten up a gay individual, or thrown a single woman into an alley for abuse. No minority individual in America legally had their voting rights taken away or their place of religious worship burned to the ground. In 2014, playing the race, gender and sexual orientation cards failed miserably. Colorado Senator Mark Udall was derided as “Mark Uterus” before voters threw him out. The bigotry cards worked in 2012, but Democrats won the battle and lost the war. They had a successful presidential campaign but were unable to govern. It is difficult to get people to work with you after you have accused them of felony rape and murder. “Getting things done” is something every politician claims to want. That requires building relationships, which is difficult to do while claiming somebody sets blacks on fire or shoots gays and women for sport.