Several days ago, Republican Karen Handel won the House of Representatives seat for Georgia’s 6th district. Why did this make national news? Because Democrats poured money into their Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff. It was the most expensive House race in history. Democrats across the country placed huge expectations on this race, seeing it as a true testament to changes in public opinion since Trump’s election.
Yet, the Democrats still lost. In fact, there have been several special elections in the past several months, and they all went Republican. This even includes Montana’s one representative, who assaulted a reporter the day before the election.
How do the Democrats keep losing? A multitude of possibilities have been suggested. For one thing, all the seats they’ve lost have belonged to historically Republican areas. It would have been remarkable if Democrats had won them, which is perhaps why they’ve struggled so hard to turn them.
For another, Trump has only been president for five months. This might have felt like closer to fifty for those of us who cannot stand him, but not so to Trump supporters. Trump supporters still argue that he’s new to this, that we haven’t given him a chance, that the political climate is against him. They also believe his excuses of the fuckups caused by his office over the reports presented by legitimate journalists.
Sigh. It’s going to take more time for those loyal to President Cheeto to ever admit that he’s really an orange toddler with way too many attention issues.
So, yes, these are legitimate arguments, but I’d like to propose an alternative explanation. Take the campaign between Ossoff and Handel in Georgia. Ossoff was a young, inexperienced candidate who put forth a moderate, kind persona. He seemed a man who genuinely cared about his constituents. Handel famously admitted in one debate that she didn’t believe in a livable wage. Her only dirt on Ossoff seemed to be that he was a Star Wars nerd in college and didn’t technically live in the district (though he was born and raised there). Then, she won anyway.
So, why is that? Why do the Republicans keep winning these elections, as they’re even now pushing a new health care act through the Senate that will viciously cut spending on the poorer populations in order to grant tax cuts for the extremely wealthy?
My thoughts: their message is stronger. While Democrats argue amongst themselves, trying to figure out which issues are more important to the citizens they represent, the Republicans blaze forward through their own agendas, their constituents be damned. They unite with each other, even when their bills prove unpopular and cruel. When Republicans and Democrats debate, Democrats try for a more moderate voice, saying that things will improve while Republicans yell for a complete overhaul of the system.
Are the Democrats better for our health care, our environment, our livelihoods, our wages, and our social policies? Undoubtedly. However, they don’t present the same strong, united front that Republicans do.
In short, Democrats aren’t assholes. As President Cheeto has demonstrated, it’s only the assholes who seem to be winning lately.
This doesn’t mean that Democrats will never win again. Our country tends to go in cycles between Republicans and Democrats for the majority. The Democrats will have their moment once again, and hopefully they’ll be able to clean up whatever mess is left behind.
Because we know that there will be a mess. While the Republicans might seem strong, their cares have very little to do with their own constituents’ needs. When you see a party slash funding for Planned Parenthood (which is there to serve the poor), medicaid, the Environmental Protection Agency, foreign diplomacy, and education, their concerns have nothing to do with their constituents.
Until their constituents realize this, the Democrats will keep on losing. This means the Republicans will continue on as they have, their power unchecked.
This latest blow in the elections is very telling for a variety of reasons. It is not good news for anyone.