Bridgette LaVictoire thinks LGBT's might not get out to vote in the special Senate election today:
It is there that Massachusetts becomes a problem. Massachusetts is a state with some of the largest numbers of LGBT Americans in the country, and a large number of LGBT allies. The lack of movement on Obama's part on these issues is discouraging, and many may be unwilling to vote for Coakley because Obama has been so timid when it comes to these battles. In many ways, it will not be the fact that the Democrats went too far with health care reform and financial reform and even the repeal of anti-LGBT laws that lost them this seat, and threatens to make 2010-2013 a legislative deadlock unlike anything this nation has seen in a long time, but rather the fact that the Democrats did not go far enough in pursuing an agenda of popular Progressivism.
Obama, Reid and Pelosi forgot to fight for the people who put them into power, and now they are at risk of being unable to do anything for years to come.
She may be right that some queer people will stay home because of the lack of action. It'll be hard to tell - the people who turn out to vote in a special election form a smaller crowd than in presidential or midterm elections and trend older, whiter, and more conservative.
But it's unlikely that the media and the people who run the Democratic Party will interpret a Republican winning as a sign they need to move further to the left. Instead, they'll probably look at the facts that Brown prides himself in being a social conservative, that the National Organization for Marriage has been robo-calling on his behalf, and the general excitement and noise coming from the right, and instead come to the conclusion that Obama, Congress, and the state of Massachusetts has been moving too far to the left, especially on LGBT issues, over the past decade and people are just fed up with it.
If Brown wins, it will be taken as a message that Congress needs to slow down on LGBT issues.
Now, as you stop laughing from that previous statement, realize that there has been movement this past year on LGBT legislation and policy. Anti-trans discrimination was banned in the federal government. Hate crimes legislation passed. Plenty of LGBT people were appointed to various positions. Domestic partner benefits legislation is working its way through Congress. Hearings have been held on ENDA. And there's been a whole lot of pretty talk from members of Congress and the President, which, if you don't have anything personally at stake, can make you think that there's been more progress than there actually has been.
Nancy Pelosi has already told House members that she'll put off controversial votes because she thinks that the House has done enough in 2009 and 2010 is an election year. It's generally the way these losses get interpreted: the Democrats have moved too far to the left, so they lost. While there's plenty of evidence that Democrats do lose when the base is depressed, it's a counter-intuitive explanation that doesn't have much chance of winning over a generally conservative establishment.
There are plenty of LGBT people in Massachusetts, which means that discussions will start with "Even Massachusetts, that's so progressive and has lived with same-sex marriage, voted for a tea bagger! Americans are really, really upset with how far to the left their country has moved!" The fact that people need a reason to come out and vote, and that Coakley and the Democrats have run anything but a competent campaign in Massachusetts, will get second billing to the much more gratifying "Democrats need to move to the right" explanation.
Also, considering how close the Senate is on ENDA, it'd be bad for Brown to win on policy grounds too.
If you live in Massachusetts, take the time today to vote. No matter how much gloom and doom you think politics is made of, and no matter how insufficient Coakley may end up being in the Senate, the result will be worse if he wins than if Coakley does. And it'll affect the whole country.