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DNC Memo 11/9

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DNC Memo 11/9 Powered By Docstoc
					Memorandum

To:      Interested Parties
From: Brad Woodhouse, DNC Communications Director
Re:      Election Night 2011: A Repudiation of Extreme Republican Policies, A Victory
for the Middle Class
Date: November 9, 2011

Last night, we saw voters come out to the polls to defeat Republican initiatives and
Republican candidates across the country in a full-scale repudiation of extreme and
divisive Republican policies, and party leaders like Mitt Romney, from immigration and
women's reproductive rights to ballot access and the treatment of public employees.
Whether in the West, Northeast, Midwest, South, or any corner of our nation, the
American people see Republicans and the extreme-policies for which they are advocating
as out of step with the vast majority of Americans. Voters are tired of Republican
attempts to balance our economic recovery solely on the backs of the middle class
without asking the wealthiest and special interests to pitch in and pay their fair share.
And they’re tired of the Republican Party’s anti-women, anti-worker, anti-immigrant, and
anti-middle class policy positions, which are falling flat with voters and do not bode well
for their electoral prospects in 2012. Unfortunately that’s all they seem to be getting
from state elected officials, Republicans in Washington, and the Republican presidential
candidates on the campaign trail.

As bad a night as it was for Republicans, it was a big night for Democrats. We won on
both the policy front and on the organizing front - showing a turnout operation, led by
Organized Labor, particularly in Ohio, that gives Democrats a boost going in to 2012.
With less than a year to go until the 2012 elections, the Republican Party is licking its
wounds and paying a price for its far right wing, Tea Party-dictated agenda.

Ohio Stands Up For Working Families

Perhaps the most watched race of the night was Issue 2 in which Ohio voters struck down
SB 5, the anti-workers’ rights measure passed by Republicans in Ohio and signed into
law by Republican Governor John Kasich, which stripped public employees of some of
their most basic workplace rights, including the right to collective bargaining. After
ratcheting up their anti-worker rhetoric and attempting to strip essential workers’ rights
from Ohio’s public servants, Republicans’ targeting of public employees for political
reasons fell flat on its face. The repeal of some of the most anti-worker legislation we’ve
seen in a very long time is further evidence that Ohioans and the American people are
tired of Republican attempts to force middle class Americans to bear the burden for
deficit reduction at the federal level and balancing budgets at the state level without
asking the special interests and the wealthiest few to pay their fair share. And they won’t
even let workers have a seat at the table when their futures are on the line. This was an
important victory for working Americans especially because of the millions in Tea Party
and special interest money that poured into the state to support these misguided and
divisive policies. Republicans’ actions were an insult to working families across the
state—an insult Ohio voters won’t soon forget.

Mississippi Personhood Defeat a Victory for the Health of Women and Their
Families

In Mississippi last night, Republicans tried to pass Amendment 26, the so-called
“Personhood” Amendment, a dangerous measure that would restrict a woman’s right to
choose even in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother. It would have highly
restricted or even ended most fertility treatments, and would go as far as outlawing many
forms of birth control. It is so extreme it even gave pro-life Mississippi Governor Haley
Barbour pause. But voters in Mississippi rejected this extreme measure, an important
victory for the health of women and their families. This is not good news for
Republicans, who are working hard to try to get these personhood amendments on ballots
in states across the country and have pursued anti-choice efforts, including attacks on
Planned Parenthood, in an effort to gin up the far right wing of their party for purely
political reasons. Republicans should take note that Americans will not let them pass
these divisive initiatives that would move our country, and the rights of women,
backward.

Maine Voters Come Out On the Side of Democracy

In Maine, we saw voters cast their ballots in support of reinstating same-day registration,
a nearly four-decade’s long policy in the state that the Republican legislature did away
with in June. Republicans did so knowing that Election Day registration is a large part
of why the state has seen such high voter turnout—for example, in 2008 it enabled nearly
60,000 new voters to register in Maine, which President Obama went on to win by a
decisive margin.

This attempt by Republicans to limit the voting rights of eligible citizens was soundly
rejected as a blatant partisan attempt to change the rules for partisan gain. Last night's
victory is the culmination of a statewide campaign that collected nearly 70,000 signatures
in order to put this issue on the ballot – another demonstration of Democratic organizing
strength. The results in Maine are a bitter pill for Republicans, who have been trying to
implement significant voter restrictions, voter ID laws, and other ways to limit access at
the ballot box for political advantage—something that the American people are just not
going to accept. Americans take their right to vote very seriously, and believe that our
democracy is stronger, not weaker, when more people are able to cast their ballot – and
last night the voters in Maine agreed.

A Rebuke to Anti-Immigrant Republicans

The recall of Russell Pearce, the Arizona State Senate President and Republican leader
who authored SB 1070, the divisive and extreme anti-immigration policy in Arizona,
shows that Americans aren’t embracing the anti-immigrant rhetoric prevalent in the
Republican Party. The fact that the Republican leader of anti-immigration efforts in
Arizona – the most powerful politician in the state – lost his seat in a recall election to a
moderate Republican after Democrats gathered the signatures to get the recall election on
the ballot is proof-positive that voters are rejecting the extreme agenda of Republicans
who are spending more time on divisive policies like SB 1070 than on putting Americans
back to work.

Mitt Romney: You Call That Leadership?

As Mitt Romney continues to flip flop all over the place in an effort to catch the political
winds in his sail, we’ve seen him eventually come out in support of legislation that
wholly endorses—and represents—this Republican anti-middle class, anti-worker, anti-
immigrant and anti-women sentiment that the American people are so strongly against.

        • Mitt Romney supported Issue Two in Ohio which would have affirmed the
        law John Kasich signed to restrict bargaining rights for public employees. That
        law was repealed by the voters in a decisive defeat for Kasich and Romney last
        night.
        • Romney supported passage of personhood amendments that would ban a
        woman’s right to choose and restrict access to fertility treatments and birth
        control. That amendment was soundly defeated in Mississippi last night.
        • In Arizona, the recall of the State Senate President who authored SB 1070
        was also a thorough repudiation of the leadership of Mitt Romney. Romney was
        among the first of the Republican presidential candidates to go anti-immigrant in
        the Republican debates and his rhetoric has been among the most anti-immigrant
        of all the Republican candidates. Yet his and his Party’s extreme policies in this
        regard were rejected by voters in Arizona – a stinging rebuke for Romney who
        has used anti-immigrant rhetoric to curry favor with the most extreme elements
        of his party.

It’s clear that Mitt Romney isn’t reading the electorate correctly, and he surely isn’t
standing up for middle class Americans and their concerns. Romney’s pandering to the
right and endorsement of these extreme policies is also notable because he has worked so
hard to embrace the policies of the far-right, policies that we’re seeing the American
people refuse to accept.

Republicans’ Spin Won’t Work: Last Night They Got Walloped

It’s tough to find a victory for Republicans last night, though they will try to spin two as
significant – neither of which erases what was a very bad night for Republicans and their
extreme policy agenda.

In Virginia, Republicans guaranteed they would decisively take back the state Senate, and
the conventional wisdom was on their side—but after the voters had their say, it’s clear
the best they will reach is parity with the Democrats at 20-20. One race could still go the
Democrats’ way, which would mean Democrats maintain control of the State Senate.
Either way, Republicans underperformed in Virginia.
On Issue 3 in Ohio, which would ban the implementation for the individual mandate
there and passed – neither the people of Ohio or the nation were not focused on that issue
– all eyes were on Issue 2. In addition, pro-health reform groups both nationally and in
state did not contest the ballot measure because it represented nothing more than anti-
health reform messaging and its passage carries no legal weight. A state ballot measure
cannot overturn federal law, and so its passage has no effect on the Affordable Care Act.
The bigger decision yesterday was the DC Circuit Court’s unanimous decision upholding
the constitutionally of the Affordable Care Act.

Conclusion

The entire Republican approach and agenda both nationally and in the states for the past
year was soundly rejected last night. Their assault on immigrants and voter’s rights,
women’s rights and workers’ rights – which has been the hallmark of their agenda in
Congress and in the states – was turned back by the voters and it was a stinging rebuke to
everyone from the unpopular Governor of Ohio, to John Boehner and to Mitt Romney.
Republicans can now work with Democrats to find a balanced approach to the issues
Americans face, or they can continue to reap the wrath of voters.

				
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posted:11/9/2011
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