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Posted by on Nov 7, 2015 in At TMV | 21 comments

Democrats in Trouble

Matthew Yglesias details that the Democrats rather than the Republicans are the party in trouble on

The Democratic Party is in much greater peril than its leaders or supporters recognize, and it has no plan to save itself.


Yes, Barack Obama is taking a victory lap in his seventh year in office. Yes, Republicans can’t find a credible candidate to so much as run for speaker of the House. Yes, the GOP presidential field is led by a megalomaniacal reality TV star. All this is true — but rather than lay the foundation for enduring Democratic success, all it’s done is breed a wrongheaded atmosphere of complacence.


The presidency is extremely important, of course. But there are also thousands of critically important offices all the way down the ballot. And the vast majority — 70 percent of state legislatures, more than 60 percent of governors, 55 percent of attorneys general and secretaries of state — are in Republicans hands. And, of course, Republicans control both chambers of Congress. Indeed, even the House infighting reflects, in some ways, the health of the GOP coalition. Republicans are confident they won’t lose power in the House and are hungry for a vigorous argument about how best to use the power they have.


Not only have Republicans won most elections, but they have a perfectly reasonable plan for trying to recapture the White House. But Democrats have nothing at all in the works to redress their crippling weakness down the ballot. Democrats aren’t even talking about how to improve on their weak points, because by and large they don’t even admit that they exist.


Instead, the party is focused on a competition between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton over whether they should go a little bit to Obama’s left or a lot to his left, options that are unlikely to help Democrats down-ballot in the face of an unfriendly House map and a more conservative midterm electorate. The GOP might be in chaos, but Democrats are in a torpor.

Cross-posted from The Sensible Center

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  • Yglesias is right about Democrats being in trouble, but he is wrong about he .reasons.

    First of all,, it is not a case of going “a little bit to Obama’s left or a lot to his left.” It is about going to his left or to his right, and Obama is rather moderate to begin with.

    However looking at it as left vs. right misses the point. The average voter is not looking at the left/right spectrum as political writers do. We have Sanders doing better with independents and in battlebround states than Clinton, and who even knowss where Donald Trump really falls on the traditional left/right spectrum.

    Voters object to a government which does not do anything for them or solve problems. Voters object to corruption and dishonesty. Democrats who do not stand for anything will not attract the voters, as we saw in the last two midterm elections. Politicians like Clinton who use government for personal enrichment and are afraid to look beyond the status quo are going to have problems beyond hardcore Democratic voters.

  • dduck12

    Yup. But I’m not happy with the truth. A too strong Rep party is not a good thing, IMHO. Too much power in either party can create problems, and I prefer the one to be able to balance the other. And, yes, I am not joking.

  • In this blue state of Oregon the Republicans took control of the state house and senate for several years although they could never win a state wide office. When the Republicans lost the majority it really it wasn’t because of anything the Democrats did but overreach and scandals on the Republican side. A few members of the Republican leadership ended up in prison.
    The major problem the Democrats have is they can’t get people to show up for off year elections. With their rabid base the Republicans don’t have this problem.

    • Rambie

      Agreed. Look at the percentage of people that vote. Democrats need to do a better job of GOTV and messaging.

    • Slamfu

      What democrats need to do in competitive races is quit trying to run away from being Democrats. So many voters stay home because they think it doesn’t matter, and I think that is largely to blame on the Dems. They run away from Obama, and the ACA, and seem like they are actually scared of being called a Liberal, and who wants to vote for that?

      The DNC needs to grow a pair and stop going with what they think is a safe strategy, get out there and defend liberal policies and successes. This is the difference to me between Sanders and Clinton. What I think of as the Warren and the Reid segments of the Democratic party. One pushes liberal values and ideas, the other triangulates and polls before committing to a course of action.

      • JSpencer

        “The DNC needs to grow a pair and stop going with what they think is a safe strategy, get out there and defend liberal policies and successes.”

        Amen. The record of accomplishments by democrats is considerable, I doubt even republicans would want to live without most of them for very long.

  • IndyGuy

    One solution they should pick is to get rid of Debbie Wasserman Scultz as head of the DNC! She has been horrible and has done the Democratic party a great disservice by planning most of their debates on weekends. The Democratic Party really needs to follow Howard Dean’s “50 state strategy” by going into GOP strongholds and fighting for them. It baffles me they do not defend their record of accomplishments and the president who was instrumental in those successes such as expansion of health care to millions.

    • The 50 state strategy might be debatable because of the question of allocating limited resources, but I do lean towards it. For me, the tendency of Democrats to run as Republican-lite, and running away from their accomplishments, is the bigger issue of the two you mentioned.

    • Rambie

      The DNC needs a leader who’ll fight for Democratic principles and energize voters to go to the polls.

    • The_Ohioan

      Exactly what Howard Dean stated on a show this week. Can’t speak for other Dem. offices, but the one in Kzoo is very active about canvassing, calling, and getting out the vote. Not much success because our area of western Michigan is very Red, very Dutch, very Reformed church, and very conservative. But we keep trying.

      • IndyGuy

        I hear ya The_Ohioan, I’m in deep red Indiana where it’s mostly conservatives who rule.

      • KP

        I am in California. What is this thing you call conservative?

        • The_Ohioan

          Orange County Tea Party events. If you can’t make any of these, there’s more coming up.


          Debate Night Watch Party-Potluck this Tuesday at Ted Cruz Headquarters O.C.! (Stanton)
          November 10 @ 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm

          “It’s Time to Take a Stand” – Come Hear Franklin Graham! (Lake Forest)
          December 2 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

          QUOTE OF THE DAY: Mark Levin from his show on Oct. 29th, the day after the CNBC debate.

          “This debate was a historic debate! It was a historic debate because the Republicans, not all of them, but most of them on that stage had enough; And quite frankly led by Ted Cruz! And let’s stop playing games, he’s the most conservative candidate running for President of the United States! I’ve said it over and over again and again it gets repeated! And that’s a good thing!”

          • KP

            Ha!! Anything is possible in the O.C.!

            I think they will do fine without me.

  • Mother Nature

    When Democrats became regressive liberals/leftists/progressives with their antisemitism so pronounced, I stopped supporting them. Anti-Israel, anti-Zionist is no more than antisemitism, the most ruthless form of racism, exterminationist racism. What part of “from the river to the sea” do they not understand.

    • I see many faults in the Democratic Party, but not being either antisemitic or anti-Israel. While Clinton and Sanders disagree on many issues, both are quite supportive of Israel, and this extends fairly widely throughout the party.

    • What part of “from the river to the sea” do they not understand.

      Well, I understand the words, but didn’t know of any particular meaning, so I Googled the phrase. It gave me a 23-mile route from The River School in NW DC to Under The Sea in Herndon VA. 34 minutes at this time of night.

      The second result was as the title of the first episode of a short-lived 2000 TV show about Vietnam.

      The third result was as the title of a 1991 demo album by the English progressive rock band, Big Big Train.

      I’d imagine you had some other meaning in mind, probably involving the low-level civil war going on in Israel/Palestine.

      • KP

        My first search turned up this ==>


        Best (short) film, LIBERTY FILM FESTIVAL

        According to most Palestinians, “Israeli Occupation” means Tel Aviv, Ber Sheva and Haifa, and for their leaders, Palestine should be built “From the River to the Sea”. Meaning, should replace Israel, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

        In this disturbing film, “From the River to the Sea”, a revised version of “Hostages of Hatred” acclaimed director Pierre Rehov sets out to tell us the real story of those men, women and children, who have been shamefully used as mere pawns for over 50 years, by Arab leaders at first, by Palestinian leaders later on and until this very day but also by the United Nations’ body that was specially created to supposedly take care of them: the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNWRA.

        • My first search turned up this ==>
          Best (short) film, LIBERTY FILM FESTIVAL

          Strange. I probably got the Google Map route because the two places are local and I use Maps a lot for navigation. I was startled to be given a map route in response to a search request. I have no idea why I got different secondary and tertiary results.

          I’ve always thought it would be a good idea to offer to relocate Israel to Nevada or Baja.

          • KP

            Google is watching us 🙂

            I would welcome the move to Borrego Springs, just east of San Diego. California has big shoulders. But I am thinking death may be more popular in Israel than moving Israel.

      • Brownies girl

        It’s a film — here’s the link to it, on Youtube — 55 minutes long.

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