I’ve been furious over the catastrophic failure in MA and needed a couple of days to heal from the disgust and disappointment. This is pretty bad and points to a serious crisis of competence in the Democratic Party. I don’t blame Barack Obama — a brother is seriously busy. This is not really his job.

However, it is somebody’s job for sure and that’s Tim Kaine, head of the Democratic National Committee. That guy has one job — ensure the health of the Democratic Party. And losing a pivotal 60-vote majority in an election that should have been easy smells real bad. Oh sure the DSCC shows up incompetent too here not to mention the utter ground zero disaster site of Martha Coakley’s campaign. It’s clear that she was chosen because she was “next in line” as Attorney General despite her complete lack of charisma and lack of preparation for a national role – not because of her relations in communities that would need to come out for her, like the African-American vote.

Still, I put this on Tim Kaine’s shoulders — like him or hate him (and I love him), if Howard Dean were still heading up the DNC, those in the know, know this — THIS WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED. Dean was always very smart on the national chess game and kept his ear to the ground on what was happening on the state level.

The other problem that no one is talking about here is the fact that all three major losses for the Dems of late — VA Gov, NJ Gov and now MA Sen — have involved low black turnout. Look Dems — you can’t do it without us, especially now that there’s a black president and you’ve got whites worried. If black people aren’t excited about a candidate or motivated like hell, they won’t show up and you will lose in an embarrassing & preventable way.

From TheGrio’s Talia Whyte who, thank the Lord, is on it. This story is a must-read for Democratic operatives:

After winning the Democratic primary last month, Coakley disappeared from sight–literally. She hardly did any public events, didn’t shake hands with potential supporters, and tried to dodge debates with her opponent Scott Brown. It didn’t even seem like she cared about doing credible TV campaign commercials either. (Can you spell Massachusetts?) Coakley lead in the polls began to shrink quickly as Brown took advantage of her political stumbling.

What was most disturbing was that Coakley took for granted the base of Democratic voters–African-Americans. Even before her bid for the Senate seat, she never had any relationship with the black community. Presumably believing that Ted Kennedy’s strong support in the black community was going to carry over to her campaign, Coakley didn’t bother reach out to us, not even on getting our support for health care reform, the last issue Kennedy championed in office.

It was only this week as her campaign continued to implode that she finally realized our vote was needed. She brings in President Obama for a very sad, last minute political rally to rouse a few more voters. The next day Coakley attended Boston’s annual Martin Luther King Day breakfast, only to stay long enough to get photo ops of herself shaking hands with black attendees and give an uninspired speech about her campaign and King’s legacy.

In her speech, she said that “if Dr. King was here, he would stand with us on health care as a right.” While I agree King would stand for health care reform, I highly doubt he would want to stand with Coakley on anything. The rest of the black community decided to not stand with her either, as there were low turnouts in predominately black precincts yesterday. Those black votes could have made a difference for Coakley in the tight race.

On the other hand, Scott Brown, the likable, handsome, truck driving Republican, was actually welcomed by some attendees at this same breakfast and even smiling and taking pictures with them.

Nuff said. The same thing happened in VA where black people hated the Democratic candidate, Deeds, and were tolerant enough of McDonnell to vote not for him — but not against him either. Deeds failed to receive endorsements from black leaders in VA — and paid the price at the polls.

IMHO 2 things need to happen if the Dems do not want a complete blowout in the 2010 elections.

1) Fire Tim Kaine. Bring back People-Powered Howard — or someone who thinks like him about how to win nationally — state by state.

2) Focus on black turnout. In states where there are no black people, focus on Latino and Asian American voters since they will make the difference between winning and losing.

It’s really that simple. It’s not the economy, stupid. At least for Democrats – there’s something more to consider: It’s the African-American voter, stupid.

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