Townsend's article powerfully illustrates how working class people had little to no reason to vote Democratic this election and hence, largely stayed home on election day. After reading Townsend's article I can't say that I blame them. In fact, I would wonder why any working class person in Virginia would want to vote for a Democratic Party that is non-responsive to their needs and interests.
A Union Man Ponders the Democrats’ Collapse in the Virginia Elections
Exactly one year ago the Obama-Biden momentum and optimism swept over this state, generating record numbers of enthusiastic voters all clamoring for "Change." Obama won this state handily, with a campaign machine and message which in many ways set the standard. These dreams and hopes now lay shattered and scattered. How could this be? What are the reasons for one of the most phenomenal political collapses in recent U.S, history?
1. The Democratic Party election strategy in Virginia only works successfully when it can blame Virginia’s decaying communities and falling living standards on Republican rule. With no Republican boogeyman in office to blame this year it was no surprise that their usual routine never got off the ground. Facing Republican candidate — now Governor-elect Bob McDonnell — who is truly stone age in his views, the Democrats flailed away but none of it would stick. The Democrats had nothing to say this election about how they might defend working people from employer attacks, or advocate on their behalf. Nothing. Unemployment is much higher than it was at election time last year, and those working people still working are working (mostly) for less. The cost of living in many places in Virginia is akin to the northeast, while wages are comparable to the deep south. The heavy tax bite for workers includes the remnants of an indefensible annual property tax on automobiles, surely one of the most regressive and hated taxes on the books anywhere. And, once you get 25 miles south of Washington, D.C. — or away from the numerous military installations in Virginia –you’ll find a working class that is not just impoverished but acutely aware of their diminishing opportunities to escape it.
2. When the Obama campaign turned out the lights and went home just a couple days after the election last year that was it. The campaign was over. When the paid campaign staff operatives threw the switch to try to turn it all back "on" this year nothing happened. The Obama strategy of relentlessly and fruitlessly trying to coax support for its timid agenda from the Republican Congressional minority has left the rank-and-file with nothing to do but complain in frustration. The activists were largely missing in action, and the newly energized voters stayed at home. It was as if last year never happened.
Get the full article at Firedoglake.