Did Following Polls Lead to Democrat Failure?
The post-mortems keep coming, and one of the big rifts is the failure of Montana Democratic candidates to distinguish themselves from Republicans with regards to the environment. At Cowgirl it’s all Pick Your Heads Up, Democrats, where the failure to take a stand on the environment is explained with one simple word: polls.
The second point is that I would caution people to be careful about simply accepting all of the theories being pushed out there about why Democrats lost. Because the main and most simple theory is most certainly the correct one: Montana will not send a Democrat to Washington in a year in which we have a democratic (not to mention black) president at 28% in the polls, in a midterm year, who is fairly inept at articulating what he stands for or believes.
For those who believe that the Democrats should unabashedly come out against the Keystone pipeline, or unabashedly for a pro-immigration position, I have news for you: such positions are extremely unpopular in states like Montana, and very polarizing too. The greenlighting of the Keystone pipeline, for example, is supported by 85% of Montana voters. Coming out strongly against it, and shouting it from the mountaintop, provides no electoral benefit.
So Democrats want tarsand gunk flowing to Texas (for export), coal being dug up for China, and government-mandated logging because polls define their positions? How did that work out this year?
Leadership is not looking to polls before taking a position. Leadership means looking hard at dire issues, like climate change, and clearly articulating why taking a principled stand is important. If Montana Democrats had done that, would they have done worse? It’s hard to imagine Democrats doing much worse by taking a tough position on an issue that will negatively impact all our lives if our “leaders” continue ignoring the threat.
Ochenski has his post-mortem up at the Missoulian today. From the link:
Here in Montana – and as pointed out in this column months ago – there were very minor differences between Republican candidates and the stances top-level Democrats took on far too many issues. While there certainly were differences between the political parties and their candidates on certain issues, such as a woman’s right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy, serious policy differences were few and far between.
Take the environment, for instance, which is an issue near and dear to many who consider themselves the Democrat base. Climate change is arguably the single greatest challenge now facing this state and nation. Yet, one would think the “climate change deniers,” generally pegged to be Republicans, had somehow mesmerized Montana’s Democratic candidates into supporting their non-recognition of the science and on-the-land effects of climate change now ravaging the globe.
How is it possible that all of Montana’s top tier Democratic candidates could support “all of the above” energy policies and claim to be anything but climate change deniers? If you ask the Demo’s so-called strategists, they’ll blithely tell you that “we have to take that position to get elected.” Really? Since they lost in record numbers, one might viably deduce that taking that position did just the opposite.
There are lessons to be learned when one fails. Will Democrats in Montana ditch the strategy of Republican-lite poll appeasement? Or will they double down on positions that didn’t help them this year, and won’t help the environmental devastation we humans are doing to this planet?