The worst mistake that you can make in American politics is to assume that anything is permanent especially when you are ahead. Or to relax when you are ahead and not look to continue to improve and think you’ve reached the mountaintop and will never be knocked off. The second biggest mistake is to assume your opponents are dead when they are down and you’ll be in power forever. And I have some examples of that.
In 1964 the Republican Party led by Barry Goldwater failed to even get 40% of the popular vote for President which is a hard thing to do in a two-man Presidential race. And Democrats added to their landslide majorities in Congress both House and Senate. Leaving Congressional Republicans with around 145 seats in the House and thirty-two in the Senate. Congressional Republicans bounced back by 1966 and won back a lot of seats in both the House and Senate and thanks to Richard Nixon won back the White House in 1968.
The smart political play when you are up is to continue to drive forward and climb the hill even if you are already at the top. You find a bigger hill or mountain try to climb up that as well by building your own party. Understand why you have the power that you currently have and the new voters you picked up and why you are out-of-power in places where you can win back. And I’m thinking of the U.S. House of Representatives where Republicans are still in charge there and at the state level where Republicans currently hold 30-50 Governorships and a solid majority of both legislatures and legislative members even in places like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. All Democratic states and in swing states like Florida and Virginia that both voted to reelect President Obama.
We now live in a liberal democratic country at least as far as social issues are concern. With a solid majority of Americans who believe in a good deal of personal freedom with government not interfering in our personal lives. Gay marriage and marijuana are perfect examples of that and something Liberal Democrats need to capitalize on. But a social-liberal message alone won’t be enough to win back the U.S. House and states like Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin ,all states where Democrats should do well there especially with our new voters. Democrats are going to need an economic liberal message as well that’s about opportunity, freedom and responsibility and expanding those things to Americans who currently don’t have them for the Democratic Party to do as well as it can and should.
I’m happy that President Obama was reelected and reelected in a electoral landslide and that Senate Democrats not only held their majority, but added to it. But we still have plenty of work to do like taking back the U.S. House and giving the Democrats complete control of Congress again and winning back some state houses and legislatures so there aren’t as many Republican looking House districts in Democratic leaning states. Time to be happy, but never be completely satisfied.