Why do the media keep saying that this election was a loss for Democrats? It was not | Rebecca Solnit

PAlmost everything that happens to Democrats is a sign that they are weak and losers and should be worried, according to the plots the mainstream media tends to stuff the information into. Almost nothing, including the loss, seems to mean Republicans are losers. By inserting so habitually and seemingly unconsciously a wide range of new and varied facts into familiar old settings, the media shapes the political landscape at least as much as it reports.

It’s in the language. The New York Times editorial board thunders that “Democrats deny political reality at their peril,” then insists that this election in which a moderate lost is a sign the party needs to become more moderate. Bloomberg News found a way to make victory look like loss: “Phil Murphy hung on to win a second term as governor of New Jersey, surviving by a narrow margin. This was roughly the same margin by which a Republican won the governorship of Virginia, but the language around him was apocalyptic (although Virginia usually elects a governor who is in the other party than the president , and New Jersey – which not too long ago gave Republican Chris Christie two terms – reelected its first Democratic governor in decades on Tuesday).

According to the Washington Post, which appeared to believe Virginia was a national referendum on the party: “Democrats are scrambling to deflect voter anger.” The verbiage that followed was crammed with the emotional language of a pulp novel, though it was presented as short story: “Election wreckage outside of the year highlighted the fragile state of the party’s electoral majorities.” in the House and the Senate. But a new round of bitter recriminations threatened to dash Democratic hopes of quickly overtaking searing defeats. »Fragile, bitter, spicy. Wipeout, dash, defeat. It is true that Terry McAuliffe lost, and also true that he was a corporate centrist who would have run a lousy campaign; it is also true that it is not the Democratic Party and that the nation did not vote in the Virginia election.

As for this week’s election, it drew a lot of progressive mayors of color. Most prominent was Michelle Wu, who won the Boston mayoral seat as the first woman and first person of color. Elaine O’Neal will become the first black woman mayor of Durham, North Carolina, and Abdullah Hammoud will become the first Muslim and Arab-American mayor of Dearborn. Aftab Pureval will become the first Asian American mayor of Cincinnati. Pittsburgh elected its first black mayor, as did Kansas City, Kansas. Cleveland’s new mayor is also black. New York City elected its second black Democratic mayor, and Shahana Hanif became the first Muslim woman elected to city council (by the way, New York City and Virginia have roughly the same population). In Seattle, a moderate defeated a progressive, who could also be described as a black and an Asian American defeating a Latina. Many queer and trans people won the election, or in the case of Danica Roem of Virginia, the first trans person to win a seat in a state legislature, was re-elected.

In Philadelphia, Larry Krasner, who in 2017 was the first in a wave of ultra-progressive district attorneys to take office across the country, won a second term with 69 percent of the vote. “I want to congratulate him. He beat my pants, ”said his Republican rival. In Cleveland, Austin, Denver and Albany, citizens voted for police reform measures, and although a more drastic measure in Minneapolis lost, it won a good chunk of the vote. 2021 wasn’t a great election year for Democrats, but it’s not hard to argue it wasn’t a terrible year, and it just wasn’t a great year anyway, with a handful of special elections for congressional seats, some state and local stuff, and just two gubernatorial elections.

It is true that the Democratic Party is vast and chaotic with a wide range of political positions among its elected officials, which happens when you are a coalition imperfectly representing a wide range of voters, by class, race and radical moderate position on the political chessboard. It is also true that the United States is a two-party system and the alternative right now is the Republican Party, which is currently a venal and totally corrupt cult, geared towards many types of destruction. It is the party whose last leader, with the help of many Republicans still in Congress, produced a violent coup in an attempt to steal an election.

It is also true that the United States is a two-party system and the alternative at the present time is a venal and totally corrupt sect, geared towards many types of destruction. It’s also the party whose last unreported leader, with the help of many Republicans in Congress, staged a violent coup attempt to steal an election. A friend who is an independent organizer of the Democratic Party pointed out to me: “Democrats are analyzed completely differently from Republicans, mainly because Democrats try to govern and implement policies that affect the whole country. The media does not cover the fact that Republicans do not rule and cannot seem to report on what a party does and does not speak.

Behind the scenes, of course, is the fact that Republicans themselves believe they are losers, because they’ve hooked their cart to the dwindling demographics of angry white suburban and rural voters. Their efforts to suppress votes and undermine voting rights, control or replace election officials, gerrymander like mad and reverse election results are moves by a party that doesn’t believe Republicans can win a fair election. All this is treated as more or less ordinary and especially not worthy of interest.

We’re only a year away from the election that reclaimed the White House and gave Democrats control – if by the tiniest of margins – of the House and Senate. Georgia elected two Democratic senators, and Arizona sent a Democratic senator to take a seat that Republicans have held for more than half a century. Which was, in fact, a lot of wins, but you wouldn’t know from the news.

The New York Times Editorial Board, in one of those familiar claims that “the party hurts”, said Tuesday’s results “a sign that significant parts of the electorate are wary of a strong push left of the party, including on priorities like Build Back Better, “although Data for Progress reports that” with a margin of +29 points, likely voters support the Build Back Better plan. The plan is very popular with Democrats. and independents, who support it with respective margins of +83 and +19 percentage points. “

Eric Levitz of New York Magazine noted that, according to polls, “only a quarter of the public thinks the Build Back Better program is going to help ‘people like them’,” and he refers to an ABC report that also says ” Democrats fail to sell legislation to the public, which largely ignores what is in spending envelopes. ”However, if the public largely ignores what is in the most important and most important legislation transformative for decades, this is a huge failure on the part of the media as well as the party. Report that people do not see what is in there for them instead of reporting on what is there. in there for them could be the problem in a nutshell.

About Deborah Wilson

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