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24 May 2017 10:08 (South Africa)

Warnings from the angry middle

E J Dionne, one of America's premier political journalists, says Tuesday's elections represented a rebuke to the right wing and a heads-up warning to Democrats. They were also a wake-up to  Obama to rev up his political organisation to give Americans a way to feel hopeful again. Dionne says the night's biggest loser was the national conservative movement which tried to win in a congressional race in upstate New York with a conservative Republican who didn't even live in the district in which he was running.  If Hoffman had won in New York, conservatives could have called it the first round in a new conservative revolution instead of a black eye for movement conservatives like Sarah Palin and the political trash-talkers like Glenn Beck.  The Democrats' victory in this congressional race puts the gubernatorial wins of Republicans Chris Christie in New Jersey and Bob McDonnell in Virginia in a different light. Both won governorships by focusing on the need to win voters smack in the middle of the electorate: moderates, independents and suburbanites. Dionne quotes political veterans like Senator Frank Lautenberg on Obama's challenges for 2010 and 2012 saying "it's not a resurgent right wing that should trouble Obama's party. Indeed, the stronger the right's role in shaping the Republican message, the harder it will be for middle-of-the-road voters to use the Republicans to express their discontent. But for the moment, the thrill is gone from politics, and that is very dangerous for the mainstream progressive movement that Obama promised to build." Read more: Washington Post

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