While we did have some rough losses in Nevada, overall the picture here was much brighter than the rest of the country. Come on, all the incumbent statewide elected Democrats are reelected while Harry Reid won by over 5.6%! Reid outperformed almost all the public polls. What happened? How come "The Great Red Tide" that destroyed many Dems in many states east of The Rockies was barely a ripple here?
Basically, it comes down to what Harry Reid and Nevada Democrats did right. They invested in getting out the vote. They made our progressive message clear and concise AND accessible to regular voters. And they reached out to minority communities and actually IMPROVED Latin@ turnout over 2006 AND 2008!
It really comes down to this. Even in "wave elections", "the wave" doesn't have to be a monstrous tsunami. Good campaigns still matter. Good field still matters. And good messaging still matters. Harry Reid made all this happen and more.
Ralston explained this on Sunday.
The Reid organization’s Terminator-like single-mindedness, relentlessness and discipline turned preparation into the most satisfying victory of Reid’s career, a resurrection unthinkable most of the year by the Beltway cognoscenti. Combined with an Angle campaign that was thoroughly unprepared for the post-primary onslaught — think of a Little League batter facing Roy Halladay — that by the time the GOP nominee brought in some D.C. pros, the damage was insurmountable.
Interestingly, a similar dynamic appeared in California last Tuesday. More Latin@ voters turned out than ever before. And while Jerry Brown's campaign (for CA Governor) didn't exactly "strike while the iron was hot" on delivering his message or attacking Meg Whitman's record, California unions did. And they delivered, big time!
And Barbara Boxer followed a very similar strategy to Reid's in defining Carly Fiorina early as quite the unacceptable choice, delivering a progressive message in a practical way to attract voters (Hint: Make it real. Make it tangible. Make it about one's pocketbook/wallet/purse.), and turning out Dem voters like crazy.
Again, it comes down to whether Democrats can field good candidates, deliver a good message, and turn out as many allied voters as possible. It worked in California and Nevada... But because the national Democratic groups failed in these categories and many other state parties were in turmoil, that's why the results were so bad elsewhere.
Why didn't other Senate candidates try to turn health care reform and good climate policy into winning arguments? Why didn't other state parties invest more in good GOTV infrastructure? Why didn't the DCCC and DSCC take a closer look at the winning arguments being made by Reid and Boxer?
That's the challenge moving forward. President Obama needs to rethink his messaging. Democrats need to work harder on showing how good progressive policy means more and better jobs. And Democrats nationally need to look at places like Nevada and California to learn how to rebuild good, strong GOTV infrastructure. And if Obama can turn his numbers around and offer a strong and appealing progressive message that reveals the crap the GOP is truly offering and explains how to truly get our nation back on track, he can win handily again and Democrats can soon retake the House and keep the Senate.
It really comes down to that. Oh, and I had a great time in SF... ;-)
But I'm hoping we have an even better time back in Vegas this weekend!