Guest Blog: Dave Asche - All Elections Matter

Dave Asche currently works for Councilmember Tom Hucker. Dave is also on the board of the Montgomery County Young Democrats, serving as secretary. He has worked on countless campaigns over the several years I’ve known him, including Hucker’s 2014 Council campaign, the 2014 Brown campaign, and just this month, Kate Stewart’s campaign for mayor in Takoma Park. You want him on your side in your next campaign - he’s smart, he’s funny and he works his ass off for his candidates. To his detriment, he’s a Boston Red Sox and Oakland Raiders fan, although I try not to hold that against him too much. He’s one of the many YDs and other campaign junkies that give me more hope for the future than the media stories about politically disaffected young people would have us believe. The views expressed here are Dave’s alone, although I agree with most of them.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Another off year election has yielded bad results for Democrats. We lost big in Kentucky, failed to retake the Virginia State Senate, and saw an LGBT protection law in Houston go down in a landslide. 

But hey, at least we won the Takoma Park mayor’s race, right? 

How bad is it for Democrats these days? Since 2009, Republicans have picked up more than 900 state legislature seats. They now have unified control in 25 states to the Democrats’ seven. Republicans control 32 governorships, hold 54 seats in the U.S. Senate, and have their largest House majority since the 1920s.  

Not bad for a party supposedly too old, too white, and too extreme to win elections.  

Whatever it is Republicans are doing to get their voters out in off year elections, Democrats need to emulate it. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have any strategy for winning down ballot races and based on turnout numbers, Democratic voters don’t seem to care about these races either. 

Quite frankly, many Democratic voters are naive. Collectively, we seem to believe if we just put a Democrat in the White House, everything will be fine and dandy. Then, when the president doesn’t fix everything in 10 days, we get angry and refuse to vote in the next election. Then, the very same people who refused to vote in midterm election turn around and complain when Republicans sweep into power and block policies they want Democrats to implement.  

Do we not realize a Democratic president needs a Democratic Congress to get things done? Do we not understand that having Democrats in control of state and local governments is important too? Apparently the answer is no. 

I am not sure which is more frustrating. Naive voters who don’t vote but still complain, or the people who think we are going to magically win every election?  

You don’t have to look hard to find liberal media figures and pundits who think GOP extremism will carry Democrats to victory on Election Day. Remember when the Tea Party-led government shutdown in 2013 was going to show voters how incapable of governing Republicans were? Remember how 2014 was going to be a great year for Democrats? Democrats couldn’t even win statewide races in deep blue states like Maryland and Massachusetts 

Heck, Democrats are cocky even after their candidate(s) loses. After 2010, Democrats were convinced blue state Govs. Rick Scott (FL), Scott Walker (WI), and Paul LePage (ME) would easily lose their reelection campaigns. All three won in 2014. 

Just this year, many on the left thought there was no way a fringe right winger like Matt Bevan was going to be elected Governor. Not even in bright red Kentucky. He won by eight points. 

Many Democrats mock Republican candidates for having off the wall points of view. But there are a lot of people out there who actually believe what they say. They do not represent the majority of Americans, but when they are the majority of the people actually voting, they win and that’s what matters.

And things could get even worse. Republicans are likely to pick up two more governorships in West Virginia and Missouri next year. The House will be in GOP hands until at least 2022 due to GOP state legislatures redrawing Congressional Districts. The 2016 Senate map is not as friendly to Democrats as many seem to think; and the Senate map in 2018 looks even worse for Democrats than the 2014 map.  

Plus, there is no guarantee Democrats will even keep the White House in 2016. There is zero evidence the coalition that turned out in 2008 and 2012 will vote when Obama is not on the ballot. Add in the fact Hillary Clinton is a very flawed candidate, and it is a 50-50 shot. 

Despite all of that, many Democrats are still convinced 2016 is a lock. I hear some version of “we got this in the bag” too often. There are even articles out there that suggest the White House has already been handed to Hillary Clinton due to the circus surrounding the GOP while they were trying to find a new House Speaker. Seriously? Some people are just incapable of learning from the past. 

It is not the GOP that is careening towards years out of power. Democrats are the ones who are in trouble. If we don’t quickly figure out a way to turn our voters out in every election, for every office on the ballot, the country will back to the disastrous days of unified GOP rule. And we Democrats will have nobody to blame but ourselves. 

One thought on “Guest Blog: Dave Asche - All Elections Matter

  1. Wow - how self centered. All that moaning about the party losing power and nothing about why Dems or independents should bother to vote other than “we’re not the other guys”. That’s the problem from my perspective as a non-democrat. You present no reason to vote democrat other than your candiate is not the other candiate.

    That’s not very compelling. It’s lazy, it’s tired, it’s entitled.

    Give me a resaon to come out. Stop perpetuating the same old status quo. The public at large is unhappy with both parties.

    Read a poll!

    Change the “who” you do business with - the “who” you take donations from - yhe “who” that benefits from your broken policies and platforms. Stand for something - something different than high cost of living, unfair income distribution, tax loopholes, declining education, and massive transit programs that only seem to benefit real estate investors and developers.

    Talk to the average citizen who loses ground every year. Help unions. Create fair trade agreements that benefit people not corporations. Do something about climate change. Acknowledge and address institutiona;ized racism. Do something other bemoan no one’s coming out to vote. Big, small, outlandish, or incremental.

    The biggest difference I see - heading towards the proverbial cliff - is that as our freedoms erode, our rights are undermined, our environment decays and our standard of living declines, is the other candidate is pressing harder on the accerator that your candidate.


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