This past Tuesday, after months of campaigning for the Democratic Party and working with Organizing for America (OFA) volunteers across the state of Maryland, I found myself in a bittersweet moment. We handily won the Governor’s race, as well as many other state and local races I was involved in. However, as the polls came in from around the country, I came to understand the harsh reality of politics: nothing is certain.
The Republicans had major victories on Tuesday, and for that, I must give credit where credit is due. However, to say that the election is a direct referendum on President Obama’s policies or that Democrats had lost focus on economic recovery is misdirected. In fact, each measure proposed and passed by the Democrats actually sought to help the economy.
For this reason, it is hard to believe that the American voters voted against: 1) adequate health insurance, where their insurance companies can no longer drop their coverage due to a pre-existing condition; 2) student loan reform, where getting and paying off college loans is easier and more affordable; 3) stricter credit card regulations, where credit card companies are prevented from raising interest rates on existing balances and without notifying you; 4)Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, which provides tax cuts and lending assistance for small businesses; 5)the Emergency Jobs bill, which prevent states of laying off teachers, firefighters, police and other public workers; 6) Emergency Homeowner Loan Program that help troubled homeowners avoid foreclosures; 7) the stimulus package, which prevented another Great Depression and helped save the U.S. auto-industry; or 8) ending the Iraq War and bringing our brave troops home.
Instead, the major problem Democrats encountered was that of communication. Despite the fact that the economic problems we face began under a previous administration, or that when any one party controls everything—the House, the Senate, and the White House—that party will almost always lose seats in midterm elections, we needed to better explain our successes to the American people. We needed to show the voters that our major concern was, and always has been, economic growth. From health-insurance reform to ending the Iraq War, each policy taken by the Democrats aimed at stimulating the economy and creating jobs.
But as the President has made clear: "Each time progress has come slowly and even painfully, but progress has always come -- because we’ve worked at it and because we’ve believed in it, and most of all, because we remembered that our first allegiance as citizens is not to party or region or faction, but to country -- because while we may be proud Democrats or proud Republicans, we are prouder to be Americans."
Let's keep moving America forward.