Joan Walsh's refusal to understand why Democrats lost

Joan Walsh, one of the biggest beacons of White Guilt on the Internet, has released her “reflection” of 2014, and looks back at what she calls her “mistakes” (which, oddly, don’t include almost everything she’s ever written). In this piece at Salon, she says her mistake was overconfidence in red state women and what she got right was the use of Ebola as a fear-mongering story. Because those are definitely why the Democrats did so poorly.


My faith that white Democratic women could win over red state white women voters was particularly misplaced. CNN exit polls showed that Michelle Nunn lost white women to David Perdue 69-27; Wendy Davis lost them 66-31; Alison Grimes lost them 55-41. For now, the Democrats’ oft-touted advantages with “women” – which should always be described as “all women except for white women” — are outweighed by their difficulties with whites.


What did I get right? Well, lots of things, if I do say so myself, but the most obvious late-cycle story was that Republicans and Fox News were ginning up a minimal Ebola threat as a powerful political weapon  – and too many mainstream media outlets, and even Democratic politicians, participated. In the post-election mayhem, this seemed like too small a point to raise, but as we start bidding goodbye to 2014, I couldn’t resist it. I’d like to say Democrats learned from this one, too, but again, I’m not sure.

Of course, Walsh refers to exit polling from CNN to justify the idea that Ebola fear played a major role, which of course, is the most selective reading of the exit polls imaginable. That is one issue while this breakdown at CNN has multiple issues broken down that show a split and diverse electorate on many issues. The issues that showed bigger margins than the Ebola worries in several areas.

  • Two-thirds of the nation believed, as of election day, that the nation was currently on the wrong track.
  • 72% of voters believed that there could be a terrorist attack on the U.S. sometime in the near future.
  • Only 20% of voters believe the government will do the right thing.

Also included in this was the idea that 40% of the electorate is moderate, and of the remaining 60% of them, the larger voting block was conservative (36%). Therefore, a multitude of issues, not just Ebola worries, played a major role in a midterm election that was already destined to lean Republican based on historic trends (party in power loses support in the sixth year, Democrat voters are not as motivated in midterms, etc.).

Even better than all this, though, is the tone that Joan just narrowly manages to avoid in the piece she wrote: She is incredibly disappointed with women for not being more Democratic:

Right now, for complicated historical, cultural and racial reasons, white women vote more like “whites” – mostly Republican, though less than white men – and less like other women. Single white women and college-educated white women defy that trend more than others, but any 2016 prognosticating that relies on white women as Hillary Clinton’s secret weapon shouldn’t be trusted unless there’s data behind it. And I haven’t seen any.


And this is a major problem Democrats still don’t seem to get – Stop treating demographics as single-issue demographics. Right, [mc_name name=’Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’U000038′ ]?


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