One party is winning, the other one not so much
Here is an idea for a field trip or an article for enterprising journalist thinking outside the box. Take a car from Washington, D.C. and drive all the way to San Francisco. Make a few stops, and I guarantee you that the journalist will see a lot of red, as in GOP territory.
The conventional wisdom is that the GOP is shrinking and that the Democrats are on the right side of history. Again, not so fast, as the Washington Post reported this week:
In Obama’s first year in office, buoyed by the biggest presidential election victory since 1988, the Democrats expanded their House majority to 257-178; in the Senate, they could count a filibuster-proof majority for the first time since the Jimmy Carter era.
As a result, their numbers were robust enough to muscle through virtually all of Obama’s early agenda, most notably his health-care overhaul.
They lost control, however, in the devastating midterm election of 2010, which was fueled in large part by a backlash against the health-care law and government bailouts of Wall Street and industry. Democrats’ numbers further eroded in 2014.
Democrats’ hopes of regaining the Senate were dashed on Tuesday, when Trump’s victory provided a badly needed updraft for a handful of endangered GOP incumbents.
The lesson: Without Obama himself on the ballot, his army of young and minority voters would not show up in numbers needed to keep his party afloat.
Unlike Franklin Roosevelt’s durable New Deal coalition, the impressive political operation that Obama built does not appear transferrable to other Democrats — and therefore, may not live on past his presidency.
Let me add a couple of thoughts:
1) The FDR coalition was made up of white workers, or the backbone of manufacturing.
2) The Obama coalition was twofold: a cult of personality and unreliable voters. In other words, the young do not vote unless they think the candidate is “cool.” Well, Obama is cool, and Mrs. Clinton just isn’t.
3) The Democrats will have to find some way of attracting more white voters, as they did for a long time.
4) The Democrats are no longer the party of working people. They are indeed the “effete core of impudent snobs” that the late V.P. Spiro Agnew described in 1969. In simple terms, not one of these liberals, from college professors to public sector union leaders, would survive five minutes having a beer with a patriotic, flag waving and pro-life blue worker in any of the so-called blue states that flipped on election day.
We are not suggesting that anyone write an obituary for the Democratic Party. It will be back. However, the GOP came back after 1964 because of Goldwater’s disciples and came back after Watergate because of the Reagan Brigade that brought so many like me into politics.
Do you see anything like that in the Democratic Party? I don’t. I do see a bunch of malcontents pushing grievances or identity politics.
Where is the Democrat who will bring white workers back? It won’t be Senator Elizabeth Warren, or anyone else who can’t win between the coasts. You can forget Senator Tim Kaine, who will fade faster than the “mashed potato” dance.
Memo to Democrats: Take a look at what is happening between San Francisco and Washington, D.C. You may learn something about the country that you don’t know a thing about.