So, yeah, that Bill Halter thing, all a wasted effort right? Should have saved our time and money, right? Bullshit. Think about it, we came within a hair of knocking off an incumbent U.S. Senator in a machine state! We brought labor, progressives, environmentalists, minorities, and so many others so much hope that they could chance a political system that has left them out in the cold, and we almost pulled it off.
So what happened? I can explain that one simply. Halter underperformed in Pulaski County. That was his base, and we were thinking he should be able to pull it in. Thing is, he was running an anti-establishment campaign and, as John once summed up nicely, you don’t get much more establishment in the Democratic Party than Pulaski County Dems. The Clinton/Obama support didn’t hurt down there either, or in Jefferson County for that matter. (Garland County didn’t help much either, but I’ll have a post on that in a minute.) Kos had a great comment last night that summed it up. Basically, the Republicans are nominating teabagging nutjobs that can’t win in November. We’re trying to nominate candidates that can win in November and the party establishment is doing everything they can to stop us!
And yeah, I mean it, Blanche Lincoln’s victory last night was pyrric. She is DOA in November. Her corporate buddies that helped do in Bill Halter aren’t going to lift a finger to help her. If she or her team think that’s the case, then frankly, they’re stupid. At one point, she could have earned back the Democratic base’s support, but after all the attacks on progressives, unions, and environmentalists she’s now going to find herself seriously friendless. There’s already one Democratic pollster warning not to waste money on her. My question is, is she really going to be as cutthroat and ruthless to Boozman as she was to Bill Halter? Somehow I doubt it…
We at Blue Arkansas decided as a team after the initial primary that if Blanche was the party’s nominee we would not be endorsing her. That’s the beauty of being a blog for progressive Democrats working to elect better Democrats-you don’t have to endorse all the bad Dems that come along. My worry though is that Lincoln is electoral poison. She’s so unpopular and she managed to alienate so many people she was going to need in November that it could have a net negative effect on our down ballot candidates. I think we can still outwork it, but it’s going to be hard, and I know Democratic enthusiasm took a big blow last night. Still, Joyce Elliott, David Whitaker, and Chad Causey need our help, as do O’Brien and Bryant (though probably to lesser extents). We tried our hardest to make this a better year for Arkansas Democrats. Bill Halter could have consolidated the base after last night. From where I’m standing, it doesn’t look like Blanche Lincoln can. Still, we keep going, no matter what. This isn’t about winning an election or about the letter beside someone’s name. It’s about changing people’s lives and about changing the way things are done. It’s about building a movement from the ground up. We came a long way in such a short time, less than a year, and we’ve still got a lot of work to do. The fight ain’t over yet folks. Let’s recoup, retool, and get back to work!