Thursday, September 15, 2011

More On The NY-09

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If you want to understand more about the Democratic loss in the New York 9th Congressional district (NY-09) special election, I'd suggest you read this diary by MsExPat at Corrente:
NY-9 (I live in the adjacent NY-11), as you can see, is a bizarre gerrymander of a district. There's a reason for this: it was designed specifically as a foil for the two adjacent (and relatively contiguous) Brooklyn districts that are heavily African American and West Indian. NY-9 is 71 percent white . It's New York's Archie Bunker district, a concentrated segment of the old, waning white New York ethnic groups.

This is the New York City constituency that's the backbone support of socially conservative mayors like Koch (D), Giuliani (R) and corporatists like Bloomberg (R). Note the (R) in the last two instances--New Yorkers are not married to party labels, and this old-school white ethnic New York has been primed for some time to vote for (R)s, especially when the race card is being played--or in the case of the heavily Jewish districts, the Israel card.

NY-9, from the ground
My own philosophy about elections is that every one is different, and that every district, like every voter, is a law unto itself. I think drawing too much significance from one-off elections like this one is something of a pastime in America. My own guess is that Obama's performance probably had something to do with this loss, too, but how much is a good question.

For a bit more insight into that question, I'd check out Nate Silver's analysis at his New York Times blog:
Even if you include [the NY-26 special election, won by Democrat Kathy Hochul], however — as well as a July special election in California, where Democrats won but by an underwhelming margin — Republicans have overperformed the P.V.I.[a measure of the relative strength of the two parties in a district] baseline by an average of 7 percentage points across the four races. That squares with what we saw in 2010, when Republicans won the popular vote for the House by an aggregate of 7 percentage points.

In other words, the four special elections, taken as a whole, suggest that Democrats may still be locked in a 2010-type political environment. Democrats might not lose many more seats in the House if that were the case, since most of their vulnerable targets have already been picked off, but it would limit their potential for any gains. And it could produce dire results for the Democrats in the U.S. Senate, where they have twice as many seats up for re-election.

For Democrats, It’s 2010 All Over Again
[embedded image from article]

As Taylor Marsh reminds us, only in the NY-26, where the Democratic candidate did a good job of tying the Republicans' proposed changes to Medicare and Social Security to her opponent, did the Democrats exceed expectations. Everywhere else, they did worse.

For anyone who is in a position of power in the national Democratic Party, this should be a red flag that weakening these programs would be suicide for the national party, but I think I can safely predict they won't listen. They didn't do anything but what they had been back in early 2010, despite the evidence that the Democratic loss in the Massachusetts special Senate election back in early 2010 was a warning that they needed to get better on health care and the economy. Some habits are hard to break, and Democratic Party folly on economics issues appears to be one of them.

There should be a picture of a wolf here Caption: Just waiting for the sleigh to pass by again.

Image credit: Arrr!.

The 2012 election looks very bad for Democrats right now, and no party ever deserved it more.

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