There are not enough adjectives to adequately describe the failures of Democratic campaigns across the nation. Let's try a few:
Unfocused: The economy is recovering, Obamacare works, fewer American lives are lost overseas and Democrats couldn't find a coherent message.
Lesson: Run on your record, especially when it's a pretty good one and the other guys don't have much of an alternative to offer.
Wrong Targets: As important as specific constituencies are, attention to the general concerns of voters is more likely to bring victory than a patchwork of targeted messages.
Lesson: The day-to-day concerns of American voters are not hard to figure out, and are usually economic. They have been, are, and will always be decisive in American elections.
It's The Economy, Stupid: Voters in every state are most interested in what candidates can do to improve their current economic status and the future economic prospects of their kids. Social issues are important in themselves and need to be addressed, but on top of a unifying economic message, not as a substitute.
Lesson: It's the economy, stupid. Republican outrages over voting and civil rights, women's rights, the environment, foreign policy, etc., are real and politically significant, but only after voters know what the plan is for employment, wage growth, et al. Austerity has failed. Dems never produced a coherent alternative vision of demand side stimulus, increases in wages and investment in human and physical infrastructure. If they had, they could have won.
Fix It Before 2016: Fortunately, as grim as the results will be on Tuesday, not all is lost. First because Hillary will figure it out and will craft an economic message that resonates. It may not be as progressive as it should and may leave too much in the hands of malefactors of great wealth, but it will be understandable.
Lesson: Use Mel Brooks: There's been a stroke of genius in New York that Democrats can replicate everywhere and guarantees electoral victory. In a race for an Assembly seat in the small city of Long Beach, Democratic candidate Todd Kaminsky has been endorsed by the most intriguing and influential figure in American politics, with a voter robocall to get the word out. The endorser: Melvin Kaminsky, better known to us as Mel Brooks. In no other public figure have the virtues of humor, popularity and notoriety been better combined with old-school progressive politics. Let's not stop at the New York Assembly. Imagine, if you will the following robocall for 2016:
"Hello, hello, hello. This is auteur and bon vivant Mel Brooks, calling. Taxes, taxes, taxes, what do they want from us? I'm gonna move to Ireland like those corporations and pay nothing. Wait, wait, I'm gonna claim the Irish as a deduction and pay nothing. Wait, wait, if I'm gonna pay, the big boys better pay also. Where's FDR when you need him? Vote for (Hillary) (Bernie) (Elizabeth) (Martin). It's enough already."
It's just a first draft, feel free to improve it. But imagine a progressive candidate for president with a sense of humor and the intelligence to remember that the way you win elections is to help average people make a living. Kaminsky (Mel) for president.