Healthcare is dead. Democrats are in serious trouble. This has been the spin coming from media and political pollsters after yesterday’s special election in Massachusetts, where Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley for the empty senate seat held by the late Edward Kennedy (D).
Much of the hoopla started several weeks ago when Brown began to gain big in the polls, after trailing the heavily favored Coakley by more than 20 points. While Democrats point fingers and contemplate next steps after losing their filibuster proof 60-vote majority in the Senate, Republicans are now using the election as a rallying point to convey a much broader, disenchanted American sentiment.
Americans may be frustrated with politics at the moment, especially given the lack of bipartisanship between the two leading parties over the past year, mostly due to the Republican’s “anti-Obama” agenda. The GOP on the other hand blames the Democrats for exclusion on healthcare reform and other key legislation.
Is the Republican strategy working? The quick answer is yes. Republicans have done a good job at creating nationwide political confusion, pointing to an unproductive president and Congress, failing to achieve healthcare reform and improve unemployment.
Is yesterday’s Democrat loss linked to the Republican’s strategy? Not really. Massachusetts is heavily stacked with independent voters. Keep in mind that the vacant senate seat was held by a liberal Democrat for nearly 40 years. Voters wanted something new regardless of political party. Coakley was more of the same while Brown talked about change.
Did Massachusetts voters yesterday factor in a Democrat stronghold in Congress? Maybe that’s a small part of the reason why Brown was elected. The reality is that Americans want change and proved that in 2008 when they elected the first African-American president. It remains to be seen if healthcare reform fails with Brown elected. Republicans no doubt will continue to hammer away at the Democrats, leaving the American people even more confused, and without true reform.