From the End of the Republican Party to the Demise of the Democrats
Where Will the Dems Go From Here?
How quickly the narrative can change overnight. Donald Trump went from being the suicide bomber taking down the Republican Party to the president-elect reshaping it in his image. Lo and behold, Hillary Clinton was indeed the one to take down her party as the Democrats scramble to find their next leader.
The writing was on the wall for the Republicans according to most major media outlets over the summer. Oh how we jump to conclusions!
Jay Caruso wrote in National Review in July that “Donald Trump is likely to mark the end of an era for national Republican politics.” Clare Malone’s headline, also in July, in FiveThirtyEight read, “The End of A Republican Party,”. The stories would come strong and fast about how Trump was cratering the party of conservatives. Little did they know how conservative the country already was and how thirsty it was for a change.
Republican America is now so colossal that someone could drive 3,600 miles across the country, from Key West, Florida, to the Canadian border at Porthill, Idaho, without ever leaving a state under total GOP control.
There is definitely a deep sea of red between the blue clusters on the coasts in the county-by-county map following the shattering election this past November. It seems absurd to think now that Hillary ever had a chance of stitching together the diverse coalition of well-educated whites, women, African Americans, and young voters that Obama held together so flawlessly. Trump’s electoral victory signaled the existence of the reality that large chunks of the country have not felt the uplifting effects of the slogging Obama recovery of the last eight years.
The articles have been rushing out from many publications now on the possible demise of the Democratic Party in the age of Trump.
Do you think the Democratic Party should move farther to the left following their electoral defeat or shift closer to the middle and the majority?
The Nightmare Has Arrived Early For The Left
David Graham detailed in The Atlantic the “nightmare” that has arrived early for the left. Republicans now have a stranglehold on all levers of power in Washington DC. “Donald Trump will enter the White House with a Republican Senate and a Republican House. Because President Obama was unable to get the Senate to vote on his appointee for an open Supreme Court seat, Trump will immediately have the chance to appoint a ninth member to the Court,” writes Graham. Republicans also control 34 governorships, giving the right a deep bench with executive experience. Trump has a chance to do something big.
It will be interesting to see what Trump will do with Obama’s sweeping progressive reforms. Will he dismantle them all? Or keep some intact? It's anyone's guess at this point.
What is not up for debate is the fact that this election was a referendum on Obamacare. Therefore, Trump and Republicans in Congress will certainly work hand in hand to repeal President Obama’s signature healthcare law. What it will be replaced with is yet to be seen. Though Trump has signaled he is open to keeping parts of the passed legislation such as not charging more for preexisting conditions and being able to stay on your parent's plan until you are 26, he needs to make sure he follows through on his promise of ridding the country of the Affordable Care Act.
Sure, Obama will still be around. But, he will not be on the ballot again. And, he and Jay Z and Beyoncé and Katy Perry and Lena Dunham could not do enough to drag Hillary over the finish line this year.
Bernie Sanders would have been a really interesting matchup with Trump. And he probably would have beat the billionaire. But, the Democratic Party was rigged and handed it to Clinton to get run over by the Trump train.
The Dems Had Their Chance
The Week’s Ryan Cooper points out that the “Obama administration has overseen the loss of roughly a tenth of the party's Senate seats, a fifth of its House and state legislative seats, and a third of its governorships, something which hasn't been seen since the repeated routs of Republicans in the 1930s.” The Democrats have been truly decimated over the Obama years. And they did it to themselves. Democrats had full control from 2009-2010, “during the worst economic disaster in 80 years,” Cooper writes. Unfortunately, “they did not fully fix mass unemployment,” revealed by record low labor participation rates, “nor the associated foreclosure crisis,” which was brought about by government policy in housing anyway.
Cooper distills the Obama administration's flawed strategy in dealing with the chaos during and after the Great Recession:
“... after the first stimulus failed to restore full employment, the ideology problem got much worse. The D.C. political and media elite, including President Obama and most other Democratic big shots, became absolutely obsessed with cutting the deficit. The ensuing austerity (much of it caused by post-2010 Republican obstruction, to be fair) dramatically slowed the recovery. It is only in the last year that unemployment has declined to a reasonably good level, and the fraction of prime working-age people with a job is still worse than the bottom of the previous two recessions. What's more, the fruits of the recovery have been highly unequal, with much of the income flowing to the top 1 percent, and most rural places left out.”
Nobody of note went to jail for the foreclosure crisis brought about by reckless government housing policies, deceptive reporting on subprime mortgages, and greedy dealings by Wall Street. The Democrats had their chance to fix the economy and put their stamp on the future of America, instead, they shoved the Affordable Care Act down our throats and threw money at the financial sector, bailing out some, letting others fail. The failure of focusing on jobs and pro-growth measures has led to Obama doubling the debt over the past eight years to $20 trillion.
What direction will the left take?
Many would love to follow Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who Kimberley Strassel recently wrote was “the leading voice now calling on the party to recognize it has erred and needs change.” Therefore, she is urging the Democrats to go bigger. Spend more. Regulate more. Double down. That is the answer, according to the Warren/Sanders wing of the left. And they may yet succeed in the absence of the Clinton machine.
“In Mrs. Clinton’s defeat,” Strassel concludes, “progressives see their chance to finally run the Democratic Party. And they may run it—in the minority—for a very long time.”
Whether or not the Democrats are heading for irrelevance or not remains to be seen. But if they stay entrenched on the coasts and continue neglecting the rest of the country, they will certainly continue their downward spiral.
“The challenge we have is that partly because of geographic distribution, there are big chunks of the country that just aren’t hearing us,” Mr. Obama acknowledged Monday during a Democratic National Committee conference call. “They won’t hear us if we’re not showing up and if we’re not there fighting day in, day out for those ideas.”
Was it that Clinton did not fight hard enough to win? Or was this just a continuation of the red tide crashing over the fifty states?
The End of Identity Liberalism?
It began as soon as America could rid itself of a Democratic supermajority in DC and the state capitals. Before 2010, over 54% of all state legislators were Democrats as the left enjoyed majorities in 60 of 99 chambers, with an astounding supermajority with the governor’s office in 17 states. Then came the Tea Party wave in 2010.
After the first two years of Obama, the 2010 midterm elections gave Republicans a net total of 63 seats in the House, erasing the gains Democrats made in 2006 and 2008. Although the sitting President's party usually loses seats during the midterms, the 2010 election resulted in the highest loss of a party in a House midterm election since 1938, and the largest House swing since 1948.
Now, the party has majorities in just 31 of 99 legislative chambers, having lost a devastating 958 seats since Mr. Obama took office. Just 43% of elected state lawmakers will be Democrats when the new state legislatures are sworn in next year. Also, one-third of all House seats held by Democrats will be from just three states—California, New York and Massachusetts.
Will liberals continue to demonize the opposition by throwing out outlandish claims with alarming regularity? Or will they learn to come together and work with President Trump come next year? Early signs of riots in Portland, student protests in Seattle, and recount ridiculousness from Stein and Clinton unfortunately suggest they will go to extremes in this time of desperation. They are already showing they learned nothing by reelecting Nancy Pelosi leader in the House yet again.
Chicago Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel cautions this urge to drive harder to the left for fear it could isolate itself from much of the country. “I don’t want us to become like the British Labour Party, where they almost won, lost, went farther to the left and now is farther from the majority,” said Emanuel.
To remain relevant in national politics, a party must appeal to a wide swath of Americans and seek to unite us not divide us. The liberals in the U.S. have instead devolved into a fixation over racial, sexual, and gender identity that has not resulted in a uniting message. It has also helped feed the rise of Trump in many ways.
Mark Lilla, a humanities professor at Columbia, recently wrote an insightful piece in the New York Times’ opinion pages on the left’s recent dealings in “identity liberalism.” This obsession over identity and grouping Americans into different identities as opposed to one America, the left have now “prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.” The election proved that Americans were much more attracted to Trump’s message of unity and of putting America first. His opponent instead focused on dredging up divisive character assaults on Trump while calling his supporters “irredeemable, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic,” and a “basket of deplorables.”
Lilla declares that “the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end.” In addition, “Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy. But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake.”
The left needs to learn from their mistakes of dividing the country into groups. We are all one people. We are America. We love liberty. We love freedom. And we pursue happiness. We desire a government that allows us to provide for our families and share our prosperity with our friends and our community. Let’s all come together in this time of transition and give President Trump a chance come January 2017. We are all on the same team.
Stop the division. Start the future. Today.