Why did the Democrats do so badly on Tuesday?
Theories abound. The trouble is, they are all wrong. They are also all right. It depends on the district. And, of course, “why Democrats lost” should also include “why Democrats won”
Did Democrats lose because Democrats didn’t craft a message?
Did Democrats lose because Democrats were too liberal?
Did Democrats lose because Democrats were not liberal enough?
Did Democrats lose because Democrats had too little money?
Did Democrats lose because of character assassination?
Did Democrats lose because Democrats offended people?
Did Democrats lose because Democrats failed to draw our base?
Did Democrats lose because Democrats got the seat as “low hanging fruit” in 2008 or 2006?
Did Democrats lose because Democrats failed to draw independents and moderate Republicans? (There are some).
Tale twp representatives: Raul Grijalva and Alan Grayson. Both more liberal than their bases. Grijalva won, Grauson lost.
They both also did some things that offended people (Grijalva called for a boycott of Arizona after they passed SB 1070, many of Grayson’s acts and ads).
Grayson raised tons of money. Grijalva raised less.
Both are in swing districts.
We can theorize endlessly. Or we can model the data, given what we have. A statistical model could be set up, measuring likelihood of a seat pickup or loss based on various factors such as PVI, VoteView score, ethnic composition, # of terms the representative has served, and so on. What would be really interesting, I think, is if we could somehow measure campaign style, but I’m not sure how to do it.
And that’s just two races!
Democrats did lose a lot of the close races and the swing districts. Democrats also won some.
But there is no one reason.