Skip to comments.Democrats have their problems, too (Salena Zito)
Posted on 07/14/2013 5:55:33 PM PDT by neverdem
Sometimes things fall apart right in plain sight but no one sees it unraveling until too late. That's especially true in politics.
The conventional wisdom (which many consider not that wise at all) is that the sky is falling for Republicans but all is well for unified Democrats.
What is probably closer to the truth is that America is fatigued with all politics, especially anything involving Washington and Democrats will have to contend with the electorate's mistrust in the midst of Obama administration scandals, and just as our second great experiment with embracing progressivism slides behind us.
They also face a still painfully slow economy that has been tough on most Americans outside of Washington. And they will compete in the next election cycle without a rock star at the top of their ticket, one who can inspire liberals to vote and persuade undecided voters to stay home a phenomenon that skewed the numbers in both directions in the last two cycles.
The days of blaming Republicans for getting America into its economic mess have passed, mainly because Democrats are not accruing any credit for getting us out of it. In fact, Democrats don't have much to brag about at all with Barack Obama's presidency; if we continue limping along with slow growth for the next few years, they will be hard pressed to make the argument that their party is better for the country than the GOP.
Another problem for Democrats is that they have allowed Obama to build a separate machine with Organizing for Action (OFA), his leftover campaign apparatus, modeled on former presidential candidate Howard Dean's Democracy for America.
The trouble with such candidate machines is that they fundamentally are not party organs; their supporters back the individual candidates who founded them, not the party.
The dirty little secret, which no Democrat ever admits on the record, is that the OFA exists essentially because the party is no longer working. So OFA has taken over the party and refashioned it from the ground up around Obama. This will have a devastating impact on the party because it has enabled OFA to act as a predator, while the party has failed to groom its own partisan bench for the future.
Then there is the Michael Bloomberg factor: The New York mayor's anti-gun lobby hurts Democrats by supporting only pro-gun-control elected officials, essentially shrinking the Democrats' coalition.
Finally, there's the disconnect that Democrats have encountered with blue-collar whites and Main Street voters. That began way back in 2000 with Al Gore's presidential campaign, but it escalated with President Obama's class-warfare-themed re-election in 2012. Minorities and young people made up large portions of the electorate in 2008 and 2012, partly because whites and elderly voters did not turn out in numbers as high as those in past elections. Such a shift makes it hard to know whether Democrats (if they pick a less charismatic candidate in 2016, such as Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley or Andrew Cuomo) will be able to replicate those draws of the past two presidential elections.
Aside from that unknown, lots of more traditional voters feel abandoned by Democrats and a continued push by the party toward its more progressive urban hipster base (technology workers, highly educated liberals, young people, minorities) might only further alienate blue-collar white voters in places such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
That would become doubly troubling for Democrats if Republicans can discover ways to connect with those alienated voters and then turn them out to vote for GOP candidates.
As Sean Trende, senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics and co-author of the 2014 Almanac of American Politics, has noted before in this column, there are really three major fault lines running through the Democratic Party.
The first is the ideological gap between the downscale, minority branch, the second is the middle-class suburban branch, and the third is the upscale liberal branch.
A lot of times they see things the same but, when Democrats are in power, it never seems to take long for things to fall apart.
Salena Zito covers politics for Trib Total Media (412-320-7879 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you Salena Zito. I see way too much pessimism in this forum. Your essay is cause for some hope.
Well, in terms of elections, since the repugnants have completely abandoned their conservative base (the base that actually wins elections), the rats could run a toothbrush and win.
No worries there, Salena, the RINO's will never stand on principle when they can double cross and backstab Conservative Americans.
Of course, all this wishful thinking won’t add up to dry poop if the GOP runs another DoleMcCainRomney type RINO.
Sorry, what you see is realism. If we wish to make headway, we need to be realistic. Part of being realistic is admitting how bad things are, how corrupt and collaborative the GOP has become.
If your doctor call your skin cancer "just a rash", he's not being optimistic, he's being unrealistic. And his optimism will be fatal for you when he prescribes a lotion for it.
One MUST admit how bad things are before one can develop a game plan with any chance of succeeding.
Well, if the pessimism ends in pity parties it will do less good than if it ends at the throne of God.
Let me repeat: One MUST admit how bad things are before one can develop a game plan with any chance of succeeding.
That statement is by its nature a proactive one. By refusing to acknowledge the real state of affairs, one will never succeed in altering them.
Oh, I wouldn’t disagree; this is implicit in Christian theology. However the Game Plan has to come from the Master. Pessimism for pessimism’s sake goes nowhere. I personally am a very fierce optimist because I met the Lord, or rather the Lord met me.
Also implicit in Christian faith is that renewal in the Lord, once begun, is progressive (”he who began a good work in you will carry it on until the day of Christ Jesus”). One needn’t be totally unfailing to be either (1) useful or (2) continually improving. So optimism results even when some failures occur. The difference is the attitude, that one is willing to use failures as opportunities to learn from the Holy Spirit. But damnation is ruled out.
The days of blaming Republicans for getting America into its economic mess have passed... Democrats don't have much to brag about at all with Barack Obama's presidency... Another problem for Democrats is that they have allowed Obama to build a separate machine with Organizing for Action (OFA), his leftover campaign apparatus, modeled on former presidential candidate Howard Dean's Democracy for America. The trouble with such candidate machines is that they fundamentally are not party organs; their supporters back the individual candidates who founded them, not the party. The dirty little secret, which no Democrat ever admits on the record, is that the OFA exists essentially because the party is no longer working. ...the party has failed to groom its own partisan bench for the future.Obama's their enemy as well, but many of them either don't know it, or don't want to publicly admit it.
I don’t see the GOP making successful efforts towards blue collar whites.
The GOP is even more pro-free trade than the Democrats.
The GOP is only marginally better on immigration.
The GOP is absolutely worthless in opposing anti-white racial preferences.
The GOP’s never ending calls for tax cuts hold little appeal to people who won’t directly benefit. Of course I don’t think most blue collar whites are turned off by calls for tax cuts either, but I don’t think they hold much appeal.
Not to mention when people realize that Obama and company have broken the best healthcare system in the world and not all the kings horses and all the kings men can put it back together again. They never have a fix for the things they break.
What of Obama's initiatives for his second term, gun control, a path to citizenship for illegal alienss and global warming has the House folded on?
By this point, the conservatives in the House were coming unglued. The same day, Representative Steve King told National Review Online he had gathered the necessary 50 signatures to force a special conference on immigration. While King said he was not envisioning a challenge to Boehner, forcing a special conference happened to be the same procedure one would use to force an unscheduled leadership election.P.S. The House just passed a farm bill that didn't mention food stamps.
Thank you Salena for another good article.
You’re a little too optimistic, IMHO, but it was good reading.
neverdem, thanks for the ping.
In terms of actually governing, I don’t know.
But we have Osama’s 6th year midterm coming up, excellent chance for electoral gains.