52-48. 4 points. 10,000 votes.
This was the best thing to happen in politics in years. It signals the beginning of a new era in American politics, an era that began with the passage of the McCain-Feingold Act, a law which was supposed to presage the further decline and fall of the Democratic party.
There is a sense in which that is true.
I’m going to oversimplify a topic that is truly worthy of a book. After the rise of Reagan, which had as much to do with events in the Middle East as they did with some new conservatism among the American people (beware today), many in the Democratic party, who were the Type A go-getters, go tired of losing. People like the Clintons.
There was also this whole issue of attempting to heal the divide caused by LBJ’s Civil Rights bill. Well, that wouldn’t happen as much as some had hoped, but there were quite a few educated upper-middle class liberal Republicans who didn’t have a home in that party anymore to woo.
These people basically did what they had to do to bring the Democratic party into contention to face rising Republicanism. They took corporate money. They accepted “centrist” views. But this means became an end in and of itself.
There was a lot of good in this. The countervailing forces in the party at that time were not similar to what they are now. They were checklist liberals–those annoying dogmatic politically correct types.
The problem with this was, Democrats never really were the favorite people of the big money interests. They were too judicious with the use of the military for the defense contractor people, too interested in the environment for the oil companies, and at this time the tech industry just wasn’t big enough yet to matter. And then Clinton sued Microsoft for anti-trust. While I have no proof Bill Gates is a Democrat–or was–he is definitely a liberal.
Once the Dems were out of power, there wasn’t much reason to bribe them. Then came McCain Feingold, and made them irrelevant anyway.
Now the small donors come, but they demand someone that agrees with them and isn’t speaking to them while encrypting messages within the speeches for the powerful money men. Enter Howard Dean. Dean’s rise was on small donors, and speaking to these people, not to any particular group. Of course, the groups followed, which is exactly how it should be.
The problem was this was a new phenomenon, and the establishment was unwilling to help out. As a result, the real nitty-gritty of campaigns went unattended to. Dean lost because he didn’t have people experienced in closing the deal on election day.
But people learned from that experience, and it all paid off yesterday with Ned Lamont.
Small donors. Actual people. Volunteers. Democracy… is coming to the USA.
There’s no hope for the other party at this point. It will be decades, if ever, before it disconnects from oil, defense, and extreme religion. I’m very afraid of why that might happen too–it could mean we lost a war.
Anyway, congrats to Ned Lamont. Congrats to the netroots. And boo, boo I say, boo! to Liebermann.