more post-election analysis

David Sirota, who worked on strategy for the Lamont campaign, pointed out that more than half of Connecticut voters voted against Lieberman, and that’s true. It’s just that Ned didn’t get all of the votes against Joe. He wrote his take on why Lieberman won instead of Ned, blaming mainly structural problems. His article for In These Times, Learning From Lamont, outlines these reasons for the loss:

  • Ned was running against an entrenched incumbancy—Lieberman is a career politician, having served 36 years in public office in Connecticut.
  • The Democratic Party never supported the Democratic candidate.
  • The Democrat leaders and other relevant outsiders never took on Lieberman or acted as a surrogate for Ned Lamont.
  • The Republicans abandoned their own candidate and campaigned for Lieberman instead.
  • Lieberman denied his own record and somehow convinced voters he is anti-war.

Sirota does admit that the campaign made mistakes. Lamont trusted Charles Schumer and others to get Lieberman to back down—and was betrayed by Schumer and other Democrats who really didn’t want Lieberman deposed and as a result, lost momentum (though he says, really, the media didn’t cover Lamont during the weeks after the primary). And, and ... well, that’s all he said the campaign did wrong. Sirota claims there were no Beltway consultants misleading the campaign. He claims one Washington consultant honed Ned’s anti-war position. But I was watching and participating in the entire campaign. Immediately after the primary, the media and others were asking where Ned was when a couple of issues came up. And many of us, via the campaign blog, kept warning that Ned’s ads, both tv and print, were preaching to the choir and not doing anything to convert anyone still on the fence or undecided. And Ned’s campaign relentlessly plastered Joe’s name and face all over the campaign literature and the blog instead of Ned and his message of change and hope. And the anti-war message didn’t start getting hammered until near the end of the campaign. I kept hoping the campaign would be reframed and promote Ned as THE choice rather than overfocusing on Lieberman. And Ned’s campaign pretty much abandoned those who got him his primary victory: when we, members of Connecticut Choice Voice (progressive women for Lamont) asked how the campaign message-makers wanted us to focus our position (on our website) after the primary, we were told that the campaign was no longer “doing constituencies.” That was disheartening and a dumb move for an unknown candidate who needed “constituencies” to campaign our hearts out for him. I blame the outside campaign staff for this as it doesn’t seem like the kind of error Tom Swan would make. Or Ned, for that matter. Of all the reasons for Ned’s defeat, I really think the top two are the lack of support by the Democrats and the mis-messaging of the ads and literature. The latter is something that can be fixed—just take a look at the successful campaigns and see how they did it. The former, though, is the most disheartening. The Party clearly thinks very little of the rank-and-file members—what we want doesn’t matter. And it very clearly demonstrates the need for two things: publicly funded campaigns with stringent campaign reform (why should only the rich be able to run for Congress?) and term limitations. (The amount of money spent on this campaign is obscene: think about how many textbooks, vaccines, aids treatments, scholarships, boostrap businesses, and meals for the homeless that money could have funded.) I truly hope Ned Lamont runs for public office again—I’ll campaign even harder for him. He’s smart and decent and Connecticut definitely made a poor choice in choosing the opportunist over the idealist. I think he probably learned a lot from his campaign—and it is a remarkable showing for someone who went from totally unknown to 450,000 votes in just ten months. Again, don’t forget: more than half of us did NOT vote for Lieberman.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/11/06 at 05:51 AM
Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.

<< Back to main