Posted: 12/06/16 16:59
by Dave Mindeman
Democrats are hand wringers. It's just a fact. They nit pick and squabble in the primaries. Get uppity about platform minutia - and then start the blame game when the Party loses the election.
With Obama as President, the Democrats still had a vital say in policy for the country. But, the fact is, we have been on a losing streak where it really counts....in the states and in the legislatures.
Republicans have manipulated how we vote, who gets to vote, and in drawing the lines for voting districts. It has been systematic. And it has been effective.
Democrats always seem to be under the false impression that policy and issues are what drives elections. They are only about 30% right in that regard.
While Democrats obsess about climate change, and income equality, and foreign wars....Republicans work the district lines, voter suppression, and purging the voter rolls.
And it works. Clinton is winning the popular vote by over 2.7 million votes, but lost the electoral college because of 1% losses in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. WI and MI have Republican governors and legislatures. PA has GOP Senate and House.
Votes for Democratic Congressional candidates exceeded votes for GOP candidates, yet the Republicans have a big majority in Congress.
And the Senate is still held narrowly by the Republicans.
But the clear problem with Democratic strategy is the continued losses in the state houses. This is where the Congressional lines are drawn - this is where the legislation that most affects people's lives happens.
Hand wringing and assigning blame may be cathartic in a personal way, but it is useless when it comes to solving our problem.
Democrats have concentrated on urban populations and they have been effective in persuading urban dwellers that the Democratic Party is their party. But in rural America, the Democrats have failed. Not in policy...but in getting out a message regarding what the Democrats have done for them. Republicans have not done anything, policywise, to improve the lot of rural America. In many ways, they have fostered the policies that have obstructed their progress. Net neutrality, broadband, agricultural trade, and transportation policies of the GOP are working against rural development.
Democrats have spent so much time on voter ID, technology, and polling, that they have lost the basic elements of any campaign....
Message, narrative, and responsiveness.
Democrats need to focus their future endeavors on building the party from the ground up again. Local races matter. Legislative majorities matter. Governors matter.
Enough of the hand wringing. Enough of the blame.
Fix what matters and begin again.