The Great ‘Bait and Switch’ of 2010: Politicians ignore their promise to create jobs

The lack of focus on jobs in the U.S. Congress, combined with the radical agendas of the new crop of Republican governors, has given voters a sudden case of buyer’s remorse over the 2010 midterm elections.

The percentage of voters who say they are “inclined to look around for someone else” rather than elect their current representatives is at an all-time, two-decade high at 63 percent, according to a recent ABC/Washington Post poll. Only 30 percent are inclined to reelect the current crew.

Let’s be clear: these folks have been asking the same question since 1989, and the spread has never been this wide – not even in the fall of 2010, when voters booted over 60 Congressmen and Senators and almost a dozen governors from office.

You’d think after the big turnover, more voters would be satisfied, right? Not so, and here’s why: In every House race and in every statewide contest, the winner promised to focus on jobs and job creation. Since November 2010, those winners have done nothing of the sort – they have either taken no action on jobs, or have taken actions that hurt working people even further.

In Congress, instead of focusing on job creation as they promised, Republicans are making drastic cuts to public services and social safety net programs.

In many statehouses across the country, the debate isn’t over how best to help working families struggling in this economy; it’s about how quickly governors can pass a radical right-wing wish list before voters realize
what’s going on.

This isn’t what the voters want, and the numbers back it up: relative to their state’s ideology, all but one Republican governor is on the far side of the conservative spectrum among their own state’s voters. Look at the red dots:


The New York Times political data guru Nate Silver observes:

So just a year ago, there were plenty of moderate Republican governors — most of them in liberal or moderate states, where they were often quite popular. Now there are almost none, save some borderline cases like Mr. Daniels and Mr. Herbert.

The unsurprising result is that Republicans now have a group of extremely unpopular governors — particularly Mr. Scott of Florida, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, John R. Kasich of Ohio and Paul R. LePage of Maine, all of whom have disapproval ratings exceeding 50 percent. Other Republican governors in crucial swing states like Michigan and Pennsylvania also have below-average ratings…

I do think it’s a significant problem for Republicans on its own terms. It suggests that the party has become uninterested in appealing to swing voters — and that the voters are starting to notice.

Retribution from the electorate is a strong possibility unless there is a change of course.

We know that politicians will say certain things to get elected – that’s nothing new. But the extent to which the 2010 election was a bait-and-switch on American working families is unprecedented.

Nate’s half right. Retribution from the electorate isn’t just a strong possibility – as we’re seeing in Wisconsin and Ohio, it’s already begun.