It’s easy to forget while still basking in last week’s victory that the real problems for the Democrats have just begun. Noah Rothman explains:
The scale of the Democratic Party’s losses over the course of the Barack Obama era is becoming clear, and they are vast. On Saturday, Politico reported that Democrats are coming to the grim realization that much of the party’s talent pool was crushed on Tuesday.
In Maryland, the state’s lieutenant governor, an Iraq War veteran and Harvard alumnus, failed to win the state’s governor’s mansion despite Barack Obama personally campaigning for him. In Georgia and Kentucky, New Southern Democrats Michelle Nunn and Alison Lundergan Grimes were defeated by a political newcomer and Republican incumbent respectively. In Texas, Wendy Davis, hailed in the press as the women who might finally turn Texas blue, had precisely the opposite effect on her state. The state Senate seat she once held will be occupied in January by a pro-life, tea party-friendly Republican woman.
I’m sure you remember — how could anyone forget? — just how cringe-worthy the last GOP primary race was. The selection of candidates ranged from weak, to old, to bizarre. The strongest of them was unable to do any better in the general election than to wrest away Indiana and North Carolina, which never would have gone blue in 2008 without the Obama Circus that was going on. Think about that: The worst recovery since the Great Depression, and the GOP still fell flat.
There were two root causes behind the 2012 loss. The first was that there simply hadn’t been enough time since “the failed policies of George Bush,” as the Democrats said at every opportunity. Voters just weren’t ready to trust the Republicans again, for reasons both fair (Iraq) and unfair (the banking meltdown).
But the other reason was the real killer: 2006. The GOP was absolutely slaughtered that year, from statehouses to the Senate. The party didn’t win one contested election of note. They limped into 2008 only to have the same thing happen again.
It’s true the GOP did nicely in the House in 2010, but you don’t recruit winning presidential candidates out of first-term House members. The country had already gone Full Dumbass in 2008 and made a president out of a first-term senator, and look at where that got us.
But I digress….
Two cycles worth of GOP up-and-comers were simply removed from the board and sent back to the private sector, most never to return. But look at what’s coming up in 2016. After nearly a decade spent hungry in the wilderness, the Republicans will enjoy almost an embarrassment of riches. (Jeb Bush not included.)
The Democrats have… what, Hillary? With Elizabeth Warren (age 65) representing the youth wing?
The Democrats got wiped out in 2010 and 2014, and Obama had the bad sense to bring along Joe Frigging Biden as his veep, a man who first ran for president the year after I graduated from high school.
That’s a thin bench, and it could take until 2022 or so to fill it back up.