“Politics Is Not About Predictions, It’s About What We Do”
April 3, 2014
On March 23rd, the well known number-cruncher Nate Silver came out with a 2014 election prediction that said the Democrats were unlikely to hold the U.S. Senate this November. Just as conservatives pounced all over him with his 2012 Obama victory predictions, progressives this time howled and called his numbers faulty. His prediction, and the reaction to it, got a lot of news coverage and political chatter.
But for those of us who work for progressive political change, the whole kerfuffle about predictions of future electoral outcomes seemed silly and off the point. We know from experience that good political outcomes come from our hard work based on good strategies, smart tactics, and mass participation. We know that good electoral outcomes have a lot to do with how skilled our candidates are, how good their campaigns are, and how well they inspire people to participate, before and after the election.
And especially in a year like 2014, we know that non-presidential elections, or “off years” are decided as much by who doesn’t vote as who does. Disproportionately, the off-year non-voter is lower income, young or a person of color. So we know that the outcome of the 2014 elections depends on whether we have candidates who speak to and inspire this infrequent voter group. And we need campaigns and community organizations that can mobilize their bases on a large scale to connect with, converse with, and persuade people to participate.
That’s what’s keeping Wellstone Action busy in 2014. From empowering young organizers in Texas to register more voters than ever before, to training first time candidates in North Carolina to run and win with conviction, we’re powering a movement for this year, next year, and for generations to come.
Paul Wellstone said many times: “Politics is not predictions, politics is what we do.” His point was always that the future can be in our hands if we choose to build the power to win. We know what it takes, we know what skills we need, we know the leaders we need, and the organization, strategies, and tactics that need to be employed. So instead of fretting about predictions, let’s get to the work of winning.