Democrat Martha Coakley lost last week’s U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts in no small part because she thought that she had it in the bag to the point that she didn’t need to bother to seriously campaign.
Ironically, I have to wonder if Repugnican Scott Brown — who has replaced Democratic icon Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate — mimicked Team Obama’s Democratic primary season strategy of having campaigned in all of the geographic areas that Team Billary Clinton ignored. Billary apparently thought that she had it in the bag on name recognition alone and didn’t need to campaign very hard, especially not in the populous areas of the nation.
While Billary was snoozing like the hare in the fable of the tortoise and the hare, Team Obama, like the tortoise, slowly and steadily won the race. In the parable, by the time that the hare wakes up, the hare finds that it’s too late — the tortoise is just now crossing the finish line.
That happened to the slumbering Democrat Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, and if he doesn’t wake up oh, right about right now, the same is going to happen to Democrat California Attorney General Jerry Brown in his quest for the governorship of the nation’s most populous state.
I fear that Jerry Brown — who has yet to officially throw his hat into this year’s gubernatorial race (he has formed an exploratory committee; he could be bothered to do that much) — has believed that he has the governorship in the bag, as evidenced by the fact that he’s the only major gubernatorial contender who has yet to make his candidacy official.
Although of all of the contenders Jerry Brown would make the best governor, California’s voters — whom I think I know, since I’ve been living in the state’s capital since 1998 — will be turned off if Brown, like Coakley, takes their votes for granted.
I can see the state’s voters punishing Jerry Brown for real or perceived arrogance on his part and voting for a Repugnican, even though doing so undeniably would be in their worst interests.
California’s voters have demonstrated themselves to be capable of making incredibly stupid decisions at the ballot box.
They bought Repugnican Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign lies during the too-short gubernatorial recall election of 2003, and they re-elected him in 2006.
Now, according to The Sacramento Bee, Schwarzenegger’s approval rating among Californians has hit an all-time low, at only 27 percent. Almost 60 percent of Californian voters believe that the state is now worse off than it was when Schwarzenegger took the reins in 2003. Only 7 percent believe that the state is better off now than it was before his hostile takeover of the governorship in the bullshit recall election.
Californian voters also narrowly passed Proposition Hate — er, 8 — in November 2008, 52 percent to 48 percent. I expect the federal court that currently is hearing a case on Prop H8’s constitutionality to rule that the proposition indeed is unconstitutional.
Apparently, the majority of Californian voters aren’t constitutional lawyers. But we let them vote on vital constitutional matters anyway. Thank Goddess for checks and balances.
As anti-democratic as it sounds, the fact is that voters often make stupid, stupid decisions, and now that the same 5-4-tilted U.S. Supreme Court that crowned George W. Bush “president” has given corporations license to pour even more of their billions into pro-corporate election propaganda, voters will be making even dumber decisions, unless the saner Democratic U.S. Congress does something to counteract the top court’s incredibly bad, incredibly anti-democratic decision. (That’s strike two for this 5-4 right-wing court…)
But I digress.
Because California’s voters have soured on Schwarzenegger does not mean that Jerry Brown has it in the bag.
Another recent Sacramento Bee news story reports that Brown’s two Repugnican rivals have gained on him in the polls. His most serious Repugnican challenger, billionaire bitch Meg (that’s short for Megalomaniac) Whitman, who never has held elected office and who wants to buy the governorship and who would be even more disastrous for the state than Schwarzenegger has been, now trails Brown by only 10 percentage points (it’s 46 percent to 36 percent).
At least one of Brown’s supporters has remarked that Brown knows exactly what he’s doing.
“He’s very skilled, and he knows when to be patient and when not to be patient,” Democratic strategist Darry Sragow told the Bee of Brown. “It would be totally inadequate to equate Jerry’s low visibility as a candidate with taking a nap.”
I would love to think that Jerry Brown knows exactly what he’s doing, that he isn’t napping like the hare, but there’s way too much at stake for me or any other Californian who cares about the fate of the state to just assume that Team Jerry Brown knows what it’s doing.
Times have changed since Brown first was governor of the great state of California from January 1975 to January 1983. The state’s voters are, I think, much dumber now than they were then (in no small part due to the corporate propaganda, meant to mislead or at least to confuse the voters, that the U.S. Supreme Court loves so much).
Team Brown, I think, needs to realize that this is 2010, and that yes, a plurality or a majority of Californian voters are perfectly capable of voting in yet another Repugnican governor even though almost 60 percent of them believe that the current Repugnican governor has made things in the state worse instead of better.
Jerry Brown can’t campaign in California like Scott Brown could campaign in Massachusetts. California covers 163,696 square miles, making it the third-largest state in the nation in terms of land area, and California is home to about 37 million Americans, making it the most populous state in the nation. Massachusetts, by contrast, has only 10,555 square miles, making it the 44th-largest state in terms of land area, and with a population of about 6.6 million, it ranks at No. 15 in terms of population.
But the one thing that Jerry Brown can do is to not act like Martha Coakley and act as though he has the governorship in the bag.
That means formally announcing his candidacy sooner rather than later and campaigning as though he were behind in the polls.