Yes We Can! Long Island’s Thoughts on This Midterm Election
In less than two years, the Obama administration has racked up several remarkable achievements, among them an economic stimulus package, healthcare reform and financial services reform. But with continuing high unemployment and America bogged down in two unpopular wars, Obama’s accomplishments have not translated into political capital.
According to Talking Point Memo, Obama’s approval numbers are running in the mid-40s and are trending down. Congressional Democrats fare worse. In a generic match-up, they trail Republicans by nearly three percentage points and also trend down.
Historically, opposition parties gain seats in mid-term elections. Some pundits think 2010 could be a repeat of 1994, when Republicans rode Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America” to take control of both houses of Congress. Anti-incumbent sentiment, the rise of the Tea Party movement, the Supreme Court ruling striking down restrictions on corporate political spending and the near-term economic outlook all work against Democrats.
A Republican takeover of Congress would be disastrous. At a minimum, it would stop the Obama agenda and progressive momentum dead in its tracks at a time when there is much still to be accomplished on energy, the environmental, immigration and other vital issues.
If Republicans have their way, important gains like health care reform and financial services reform could be rolled back. Bush administration policies that led to the worst recession since the Great Depression could be in force once again. Even Social Security could be privatized.
The bottom line: As members of Yes We Can! Long Island, who worked so hard to get Barack Obama elected, we cannot afford to let Republicans take back the Congress. The midterm elections are critical. We must work to support those candidates who are committed to moving forward on progressive reform and not reverting back to failed Bush policies. Anything else betrays what we stand for.
In 2008, it was easy to decide how to channel our energies. We had one overriding goal: to elect Barack Obama President of the United States and end eight years of disastrous Republican policies.
This year, we have a much more complex question as important state and local races are to be decided. Since Yes We Can! Long Island’s charter restricts it to races at the federal level; our focus must be elections to the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. With Democratic incumbents running strongly in both Senate races, the emphasis belongs on the House.
Long Island has five congressional districts. All five incumbents – four Democrat, one Republican – are running for reelection. Two races – in the First Congressional District for the seat held by Rep. Tim Bishop and the Fourth C.D. for the seat held by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy – are competitive. Tea Party activists have targeted both incumbents. Rep. McCarthy draws opposition from the powerful National Rifle Association because she is a nationally recognized advocate for gun control.
Yes We Can! Long Island can achieve the greatest impact on the 2010 elections by focusing the energies of its membership on these two races. By working as a group to help reelect Rep. Bishop and Rep. McCarthy we can help make a difference and demonstrate our political clout. Those who want to work to defeat Rep. Pete King should remember Otto von Bismarck’s admonition: “Politics is the art of the possible.”
We elected Barack Obama President two years ago because we wanted change from the disastrous Bush administration. Despite stiff resistance from Republicans in Congress and the right-wing propaganda machine, Obama has accomplished much to advance a progressive agenda that puts people ahead of profits.
To continue along the path he has set out for our country, we need to have Barack Obama’s back. If we sit back and do nothing, we risk disastrous consequences. If you don’t believe it, just remember what happened to Tom Suozzi and the Nassau Democrats in last year’s county elections.
Barack Obama needs Tim Bishop and Carolyn McCarthy in Congress. By working for their reelection, Yes We Can! Long Island can help strengthen the progressive agenda as it solidifies its influence on Long Island politics. Please do what you can – as a volunteer, donor or both – to ensure victory and help Democrats retain control of Congress.