What Goes Around ...

Laura Clawson has a fantastic post up at Daily Kos about the Democrats who lost in last week's elections but who still have a bright future in Democratic politics. Joe Sestak, in particular, strikes me as someone who still has legs:

Whether he wants his old seat back, wants to be Governor, or wants to take another shot at the U.S. Senate, Joe Sestak would likely make a very strong candidate in an open year. Though his campaigns have seldom fit the establishment profile, he has routinely outperformed expectations -- including first in the primary against Arlen Specter and then the extremely close general election this year. Given his strong performance in Delaware County in 2010, his old seat in PA-07 (now held by Republican Pat Meehan) is probably his if he wants it back.

Two things: As Clawson argues well, election losses don't always end the story, and there are many successful politicians -- including the president of the United States -- who came back from electoral failure to succeed in a big way. Moreover, Democrats should quit their complaining and look to 2012, when they will be well positioned to make significant gains.

That's not to discount the real losses that came with last week's elections but to note that electoral "waves" are short-lived, and the seeds of defeat are almost always found in victory. Thanks to their historic win, Republicans now hold dozens of seats in districts that "belong" to Democrats in terms of demographics and party identification. In 2012, with Obama running for re-election, the electorate will be more diverse, core Democratic constituencies will be more enthusiastic, and those GOP-held seats will suddenly look very vulnerable. Elections tend to fit a pattern, and 2010 isn't any different.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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