There WERE some nice things yesterday — Ed Rendell is Governor of Pennsylvania! Mark Pryor knocked off Tim Hutchinson in Arkansas! — but the main story, of course, is that the right wing of the Republican Party came to control all three branches of our government.

The proper response from those of us who are devastated by this, far from giving up or dropping out, I think, is to try harder . . . is to inspire more people to help . . . and is to do a better job of articulating our message.

Because the Clinton/Gore vision really *is* more uplifting and really *did* provide better results than either of the Bush visions that bookend it.

And we should also stress the positive. For example, here in Florida – despite Governor Jeb Bush’s opposition – a Democratic ballot measure appears to have passed that would limit the terrible overcrowding in our public school classrooms. That’s good news! (Did you have 44 kids in *your* fourth grade class?)

Bush told a group of insiders that if this measure passed he would find some “devious way” to thwart it. But unbeknownst to him, a reporter was listening and reported the remark. With luck, that will make it harder for him to thwart the measure after all.

It’s not that either of the Bushes dislikes children. It’s just that their first priority is to cut taxes for the best off. Jeb Bush cut Florida’s intangible property tax in half, while leaving the taxes that average people pay untouched. Cutting my intangible property tax in half (from a tiny tax to an even tinier tax) is nice for me, but it worsens Florida’s budget crunch and winds up hurting children.

Not one Floridian in 100 knows he did this or sees the connection. (Bush cut the state’s drug treatment budget by about 80%, but blithely claimed during the televised debate to have *raised* it 60% … and the Miami Herald – knowing this – never even called him on it.)

We needed to let them know.

So much was at stake yesterday.

A lot of people “got it” — but, obviously, not enough.

I asked my young dental hygienist yesterday afternoon whether she had voted.

“Yes!” she said, explaining emphatically: “if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain.”

*She* gets it.

Some of the folks on my list with $50 million and $1 billion net worths did not get it, or believed we should “unilaterally disarm” in the soft-money race. I keep reminding myself that it’s their money, not mine. But I will admit that it makes me crazy that I was unable to persuade them to help. But that just means the rest of us will have to try harder.

One good way to get a start on 2004 is to go to democrats.org and sign onto our e-mail list.

 

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