Friday, November 5, 2010

Responsible Reflection

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.


  1. All Democrats did right was drive this country in a bigger ditch! Spending when we didnt have any money, and making false promises of hope.

    The American people have understood this, and shut you idiots up! 2012 baby, here we come!

  2. i wouldn't call the elections a referendum on Obama, but only a reaction to the very hopeful attitude that many had when voting for Obama in '08. Many envisioned a rapid improvement in the economy and rapid decrease in unemployment, etc. But those kinds of things don't happen in two years or even a full presidential term (as Obama and you both note).

    Glenn Beck is God...the republican party's most legit candidate is please chill out

  3. It's not fair to say that this was a referendum on Obama, but it does show that the american people are unhappy with the current system. Its unfortunate that the administration only had two years to convince the american people, but the middle class didn't feel like they were getting the benefits they were anticipating after obamas very convincing presidential campaign.

    The republicans appear to only be looking out for the really rich, while the democrats appear to be working for the other extreme. This may lead to a void in the middle class representation causing tumultuous election results between democrats and republicans. It shouldn't be taken personally on Obamas policies though.

  4. Because nobody is catering directly to the middle class, at least most of america thinks that, both parties are in trouble for subsequent elections. They elect the democrats, don't get what they want. Then they elect republicans, don't get what they want. And the cycle continues. The middle class makes up the majority of voters and we will continue to see these shifts of power until direct benefits are seen in the middle class. Maybe something for republicans to consider marketing in the next election?

  5. The middle class is not significant in elections, people are either becoming more lower or more upper class. That is why there is not as many efforts for the middle class.

    Inspirational post though my friend, it should be an interesting next two years.

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  7. It has been unfortunate what occurred this past week.However, your point is correct regarding poor communication.I think that usually ends up being the root of all problems in any scenario.However,now we must focus on what comes out with Obama's trip to Asia, and what repurcussions that plus the current Congress has on domestic and international politics!

  8. poor communication is exactly the issue. at the same time, instead of indirectly tackling the economic issues as you say, they should have appproached it directly, tackled unemployment instead of reforming everything. the equation should be like so:

    directly fix + communicate + reform

    instead of:

    indirectly reform + not communicate

    the reason they should reform after they fix is because things like credit card reform can wait...its been waiting for the past 50 years without significant problems until now (and the recession is sort of a one time event), unemployment cannot. that is why more direct approaches are necessary.

    at the same time its very tough, because all the reforms are necessary and the only opportunity to get it done was with the majority in the house and senate. but sometimes, things need to be prioritized better.

  9. To the last Anonymous comment (11/7):

    First, thanks for commenting. You make a good point.

    However, I feel that when this administration took direct measures (such as Wall Street Reform, the auto-bailout, unemployment benefits, and the Stimulus package), it still did not make too much of a difference in the public perception.

    Clearly, the Democrats needed to communicate better, but I dont think they only focused on indirect measures.

    And to your last point, yes it is very tough. But if passing something like Healthcare Reform meant losing our majority in the House, it was well worth it.

  10. Democrats should probably focus more, like you said Ashwani, about how they communicate their policies to the American public. I was watching a newswire's political commentary, and they said that while most Americans, according to polls, support the cause of healthcare reform, they are against what healthcare reform means and stands for. There's a gap that isn't being bridged. Perhaps Democrats should look at how they can speak to that and how the President, as well as other Democratic leaders, are perceived by their constituents.

  11. Yes, I agree with Ms. Chan and Mr. Jain that a lack of communication between the political body and the people causes frustration. I remember that when I voted for Obama, he kept his message to the public short and simple, yet effective. I feel like recent politics have corrupted his great approach of reaching out to the public audience and making them embrace a greater initiative as a whole. Obama initially provided an enabling power through a direct message, which has now become convoluted by political jargon. I hope that once again Americans can take up a more simplistic approach, regain confidence in the country, and take a larger stand in what they believe in!


Do You Agree or Disagree? Why? Please leave comments.