Original published at Daily Kos
Lessons? I haven't crunched numbers, so we'll be digging deeper into the results over the next couple of days. But early indications were that the national turnout was below 38 percent. It's the age-old problem for Democrats -- we'll do fine in presidential years, but how the hell do we survive our base turnout woes in the midterms? The vaunted Dem GOTV machine did appear to goose turnout, but obviously not enough to make a difference.
Let's go back to something I wrote last week, regarding a poll of the North Carolina Senate race:
* Among likely voters, it's close: Hagan, 44.7 percent -- Tillis, 40.7 percent.With 97 percent reporting, now-defeated Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan was down 49-47.2. Among registered voters, she would've won narrowly. Among all voters, she would've won a little more comfortably. It is a fundamental problem when the candidate preferred by a majority of a state loses because only certain people decide to make their voices heard. And want to see what that looks like, when our people don't vote?
* Among registered voters, it's wider: Hagan, 44.8 percent -- Tillis, 37.5 percent.
* Among all residents, it's wider still: Hagan, 43.5 percent; Tillis, 35.5 percent.- Advertisement -
So what's ahead? Well, we have a great cycle ahead of us, with boatload of Senate pickup opportunities, with Dem presidential-year turnout on tap. The GOP has a two-year Senate rental. The presidential math still looks brutal for the GOP. Demographic changes continue unabated. But we've got to look beyond this boom-bust electoral cycle.
We've got to get beyond the fact that people like Democratic policies -- higher minimum wage, access to abortion rights, pot -- yet didn't vote for the Democrats who supported them. Yes, lots of bad Democratic candidates lost (Braley, Grimes), but also good ones too (Hagan, Crist). And while we had a tough map, it wasn't a tough map in Maryland, Illinois, or Massachusetts.
I'm not worried about 2016. Or 2020. I'm worried about the years in between, because we won't be able to flex our muscles as the true American majority until we figure out how to get that majority to cast ballots every election cycle, not just with a presidential candidate to beg them to the polls.
For now, take solace in that we'll be on the offensive in 2016. And truth be told, I can't wait to take on Joni Ernst and the rest of this year's class of Republicans again. In 2020. In a presidential year. The rest of the stuff? I don't have any answers, not now.