The Message


Voting is mostly about the objective situation, not about what people say about the election. But insofar as talking is inevitable, you may as well do it well. Looking at the Democrats message heading into the midterms it all seems mighty backward looking: “we accomplished a bunch of stuff / the economy’s not really our fault / etc.” Missing here is what you’d call the narrative about what Democrats envision the 112th Congress as doing.

Suppose you voted for Democrats in 2006 and 2008 because you wanted to see action on health reform, energy reform, and immigration reform. Now you’re happy that health reform happened, but sad that energy reform and immigration reform didn’t happen. If Democrats come back this fall with a surprisingly good result—diminished but still robust majorities—are those things going to happen? Or are the remaining pieces of that agenda dead either way?