Donnie Deutsch on the Democrats’ disarray.
As broken and as fragmented that we talk about the Republican party right now, in search of itself and pulling in 4 different directions, the Democratic party is in even worse shape. What does it stand for? Who are its leaders? The legacy of Hillary Clinton and the Clintons and Barack Obama. There are no new voices. There are no new faces. There are no new platforms. And the Democrats must look hard in the mirror and ask who is our future and how do we leave this behind us.
(Segment begins around 6:09)
Deutsch is right, of course, but there’s an even more compelling story here that has been lost in all the coverage being devoted to the Russian collusion story.
To an even greater extent than Republicans, Democrats are at war with one another. And the number one issue they are fighting about is the 2016 election and trying to answer the question of how Hillary could blow it.
On one side are Democrats who want the party to talk more about the economy in an appeal to white working class voters. On the other side are the identity politicians who want to appeal to the old Obama coalition of blacks, Hispanics, single women, the college educated, and gays. Pandering to them in order to maximize turnout was the Obama model and that’s what Hillary relied on.
Old political hand Stanley Greenberg, a Bill Clinton pollster, is cited in this New Yorker article by Susan Glasser, “Clinton was guilty of ‘malpractice’ in how she conducted her 2016 Presidential campaign, Greenberg told me. Even worse, he said, Democrats were repeating the same political mistakes a year later.”
Greenberg is talking about the Virginia governors race: “’Look at Virginia right now,’ Greenberg said, as soon as we sat down in his second-floor office. ‘We have a candidate’—Ralph Northam, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee—’running as Hillary Clinton. He is running on the same kind of issues, and has the same kind of view of the world. It’s the Republicans who talk about the economy, not the Democrats.’”
Greenberg pretty much nailed it when he observed, “If you live in the metro areas with the élites, you don’t wake up angry about what’s happening in people’s lives.”
Is this situation going to get any better for Democrats? Glasser doesn’t think so: “I haven’t talked with a single Democrat or independent analyst who doesn’t think that the Party remains in serious danger of another electoral catastrophe.”
Of course, the war between the Sanders/Warren wing of the party and the establishment has gotten even more intense with the publication of Donna Brazile’s book. You’d never know it because of the wall to wall coverage of the Russian collusion scandal. But the Democratic civil war is going to end up being a far more important story in the end than anything the Republicans are doing. After all, the GOP is in power. Power in Washington cures a lot of ills and while there are certainly internal and external pressures on the GOP, they can address their party’s squabbles from the top looking down.
On the flip side, the Democrats are in hell and have yet to realize the devil has them by the short hairs and won’t let go.