The upset by Scott Brown in winning the election in Massachusetts to fill Senator Edward Kennedy’s vacant seat was a real shocker. A Republican in the most Blue state in the nation? But maybe rather than an anomaly, it portends the future.
Communication is a two-way process and the politicians in Washington have proven themselves tone deaf. They didn’t listen. The labels Democrat and Republican have lost their currency.
Voters in America are angry at the direction of the country. Thanks to the Internet and Social Media, they have developed their own communities to exchange ideas and vent. Why weren’t Washington and the politicos tuning in?
They are way behind the curve when it comes to understanding what their constituents are communicating to them: We want you to keep your promises; we want over-the-top spending stopped; we want jobs more than we want health-care reform, or at least health care we can afford as a nation.
I predict that Congressmen and Senators up for re-election this year – regardless of party – are in for a shock. Republicans may be gleeful that they got their 41st vote to prevent a super majority. But they are in jeopardy just as much as Democrats who will be on the ballot, because people are disgusted with the governing class, who have not been listening to them.
My sister-in-law Susan Paladino, who lives in Massachusetts and followed the campaign closely, summed it up in a note she sent to friends. Here are some highlights:
“Last night after the election was decided I listened to radio news programs and talk shows at several times throughout the late night, early morning and the next day. The focus of EVERY report of the election results was: What went wrong? The analysis centered on Martha Coakley’s abilities as a candidate (remember that AG is an elected position and she has run other campaigns), the inabilities of the Democratic machine (their designation, not mine), the timing of the election, and the weather.
“A British broadcaster asked her correspondent in the US if Martha Coakley had run a poor campaign. The answer being yes, she then asked if Scott Brown had run a good campaign. After a noticeable pause the reporter said that Brown had driven his truck all over the state talking to everyone who would listen to him – the inference being that this was a strange way to run a campaign. Not one reporter said that Brown was an effective campaigner who listened to people. Still no one asks: What went right?
“As the money poured in for Scott Brown from around the country a tipping point was reached, the tide turned, and more and more people joined the fiscally conservative side with the thought that they would be heard in Washington.
“If there was one salient point about this Massachusetts election it is that people realized that they had a voice and it could be heard. As that point began to come across the tide turned. “Yes we can” reverberated around the commonwealth.”
To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln: we’ve entered an era when communication of the people, by the people, and for the people will determine the course of our country.