Part III: Liabilities 7-8 “Our first job is to vote out all politicians, local, state and federal, who work against the founding philosophy and principals of our country.”[i] W. David Stedman, Ret. Chmn., Stedman Corporation, Asheboro, The Destruction of the Great American Dream This is Part III in a series of reports suggesting that the
Part III: Liabilities 7-8
“Our first job is to vote out all politicians, local, state and federal, who work against the founding philosophy and principals of our country.”[i]
W. David Stedman, Ret. Chmn., Stedman Corporation, Asheboro, The Destruction of the Great American Dream
This is Part III in a series of reports suggesting that the North Carolina Democratic Party is much like the Toyota Motor Company in that they are both among the great organizational successes in American history, and both are losing market share because of sloppy standards and corrupt leaders.
Forbes.com carried an editorial on April 26, 2010, titled, The Real Reason for Toyota’s Troubles, in which Kenneth Brill, founder of the Uptime Institute, hypothesized that the random catastrophic failure of Toyota’s acceleration systems was most likely the result of multiple and perhaps unrelated interacting causes. “At least five and as many as ten things must interact to produce the failure of a well-designed system,” said Brill, “Any one thing by itself will cause a problem but not a catastrophic event.”
What makes 2010 potentially catastrophic for North Carolina Democrats is that there are ten political liabilities unfolding at the same time. Any one or several of the Top 10 Political Liabilities Leading to a Loss of Market Share would not be politically catastrophic. Many times down through the decades, Democrats have weathered eras of corrupt leaders; they have overcome Republican-friendly years, weak governors, high turnover of incumbents, unpopular presidents, budget problems, economic slumps, anti-establishment voters, third party movements, low turnout, declining party loyalty, high unemployment, unpopular wars and a surge in opposition strength … but not at the same time like we are seeing today.
In Parts I and II of the series, I wrote about liabilities including:
#1: A Weak Democratic Governor Will be a Drag on Democratic Candidates
#2: Basnight’s Cash on Hand Down by 30% with a Tougher Hill to Climb
#3: Democrats have all of the Power and Get all of the Blame
#4: A Nation and State of Voters Fearing Financial Collapse Due to Spending
#5: Corrupt Leaders: Toyota the Safety Automaker; Perdue the Ethics Governor
#6: The Issue is the Economy, and Democrats Own the Economy
Here are liabilities 7 and 8:
#7: Regnat Populus! Dissatisfied Voters View “Ins” as Dismissive and Un-American
Wednesday, Gallup announced that so far in 2010, an average of only 23% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States. The 2010 average is “well below the 40% historical average” over the past 30 years, and is the “lowest Gallup has measured in a midterm election year, dating to 1982.”[ii]
To put this percentage in perspective, the all-time high was 71% in February, 1999, when we were enjoying the longest period of economic expansion in U.S. history. The all-time low was 7% in October 2008, leading to catastrophic losses for the “ins”: Republicans.
The dissatisfaction sweeping the county first became apparent last summer with TV news footage of awkward and embarrassed incumbents taken aback by the ire of finger-wagging-in-your-face constituents at Town Hall Meetings. The political significance of the dissatisfaction played out with upsets in the governors’ races in Virginia and New Jersey, and with the shocking upset election of Republican Scott Brown in former Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat.
In April, another key antiestablishment signal came with the stunning turnabout in the U.S. Senate GOP primary race in Florida, where incumbent GOP Gov. Charlie Crist dropped out to run as an Independent because the more conservative GOP candidate had a 2-to-1 advantage.
Last week, we saw the antiestablishment ouster of incumbents like Republican Bob Bennett in Utah and West Virginia Democrat Allan Mollohan. This week we saw the antiestablishment overthrow of Pennsylvania’s Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter, along with the big Tea Party antiestablishment upset in Kentucky as Rand Paul was elected GOP Senate nominee despite Republican Party establishment opposition.
In Arkansas, Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln was forced into a primary runoff with Lt. Gov. Bill Halter as the antiestablishment/anti-Washington virus spread west of the Mississippi, reinforcing the meaning of the state’s motto, "Regnat Populus," meaning "The People Rule.”
David Stedman, Ret. Chmn., Stedman Corporation, Asheboro, writes in his latest book, The Destruction of the Great American Dream, “Our first job is to vote out all politicians, local, state and federal, who work against the founding philosophy and principals of our country.”[iii] Based on what voters have done since last summer, it looks like a lot of folks read his book!
Just like Republicans, who were in trouble in North Carolina when satisfaction with the direction of the country was low in 2008, Democrats in North Carolina are in trouble with low satisfaction with the direction of the country in 2010 … the “lowest Gallup has measured in a midterm election year, dating to 1982.”v]
#8: Enthusiasm + Internet = Turnout; Party Infrastructural Advantage Threatened
Imagine a parade without a leader; a parade that simply forms in the street and grows in number as people come out of their kitchens and backyards and join those already on the march. That’s what’s happening in American politics today. Pundits and party pros snobbishly criticize the lack of organization of groups like the Tea Party movement, in denial that these folks are a bottom up parade of angry citizens who are using the Internet rather than the party as a means of communicating with each other and turning out their like-minded voters.
In a Politico story yesterday titled, Activists seize control of politics, Jim Vande Hei wrote, “The old structures that protected incumbent power are weakening. New structures, from partisan news outlets to online social networks, are giving anti-establishment politicians access to two essential elements of effective campaigns: publicity and financial support.”[v]
Take a look at the following political ad for Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture. This is a great example of the power of the internet as an equalizer to traditional party communications advantages:
This ad has been posted for one day and has been seen by 818,244 people … including you. Cost to the candidate for those 818,244 views? $0. This guy is going to win without the party.
Even the most liberal sources acknowledge the Internet as a means to bypass the traditional party infrastructures and win campaigns. This week, Markos Moulitsas of the liberal Daily Kos said, “The old structures have been eroding, … we're building a world in which people can bypass their parties' institutional forces and make up their own minds on who to support.”
On Tuesday, Gallup unveiled a new national poll on enthusiasm in which they concluded, “Conservatives are significantly more enthusiastic about voting in this fall's congressional elections than are liberals or moderates. Those who say they are "very" conservative are the most enthusiastic of all.”
Experts have concluded that catastrophic failure of Toyota’s acceleration systems was most likely the result of multiple causes happening at the same time. What makes 2010 potentially catastrophic for North Carolina Democrats is that there are 10 political liabilities unfolding at the same time, not the least of which are the historic low level of satisfaction with the direction of the country and the high level of enthusiasm for voting among conservatives.
[i] The Destruction of the Great American Dream, W. David Stedman, Published 2009; Pg. 37
[ii] Gallup, May 19, 2010; http://www.gallup.com/poll; Satisfaction with U.S. Historically Low for Midterm Year
[iii] The Destruction of the Great American Dream, W. David Stedman, Published 2009; Pg. 37