The Democrats Are Hopelessly Lost

After terrible showings in the 2010, 2014, and 2016 elections, the Democratic establishment is looking for a solution. The Washington Post reports that they are going to announce a new slogan:

Completely sapped of power in Washington, top leaders of the Democratic Party now believe that the best way to fight a president who penned “The Art of the Deal” is with an economic agenda that they plan to call “A Better Deal.”

The campaign-style motto, panned by some liberal activists as details began to trickle out ahead of the Monday rollout, is designed to revive a party desperate to win back at least some control next year. The push comes months earlier than most campaign-year sales pitches begin — an acknowledgment of the need to shore up public opinion of the Democratic Party in the faster pace of modern politics.

Nancy Pelosi remains one of the captains of the sinking ship, saying this “is not a course correction, but it’s a presentation correction.” No, the Democrats need a full fledged course correction. The Democratic Party’s answer for the Titanic would be to find a better way to talk about the iceberg before hitting it.

At least there was one bit of sense in the article:

“When you lose to somebody who has 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia — you blame yourself,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in an interview previewing the new plan. “So what did we do wrong? People didn’t know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that.”

Unfortunately the new slogan still sounds like they are against Trump but otherwise stand for nothing. As Mahablog says, “The Democratic Party is like your unhip parents trying to be cool, and failing.”

The Democrats took the wrong lesson out of their loss. The conventional wisdom is that they lost because they concentrated on social issues as opposed to economics, but that is a misreading of their problem. They compromised so much on social issues with a socially conservative candidate such as Hillary Clinton that they had no chance to build a winning coalition on social issues. That does not mean that they should abandon liberal social issues entirely.

Just as they now look to abandoning social issues, they gave up on opposing neocon interventionism and support for civil liberties in 2016 with a candidate who was far right wing on both, throwing out their previous advantages over the agenda of George W. Bush. Democrats need to learn to walk and chew gum at the same time. Instead they focus on one voter group while giving others no reason to support them, and don’t even do a good job with the group they are focusing on.

The new slogan sounds like a watered-down copy of Bernie Sanders’ agenda. The Hill points out that Bernie Sanders is keeping the door open for 2020. Unfortunately the article points out that establishment Democrats oppose him, both because of Sanders being an independent, and as he is on their long list of people to blame for Hillary Clinton losing an election she should have been able to win. Establishment Democrats complain that Bernie Sanders is an independent and not a Democrat. In contrast, Sanders supporters complain about far more consequential matters, such as the Democratic establishment picking their nominees with an undemocratic process, the Democratic establishment choosing a neocon warmonger as their last nominee, and the Democratic establishment being in the pocket of corporate money.

Update:  The Democratic Leadership Has Failed To Give A Good Reason Why Their Party Should Continue To Exist


  1. 1
    Judi says:

    Do you really believe this garbage? Your posts during the last couple of years have become completely incomprehensible.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Sounds like a Clinton supporter–nothing meaningful to say and failing to understand why Clinton and the Democratic Party have been failing to win.

  3. 3
    Robert L Bell says:

    The easy refutation of your pointless jibberjabber lies in the obvious fact that – had Candidate Clinton made the trivial course correction of appealing to the nitrous huffing demographic of eastern Pennsylvania and their allied network – then she would have won the Electoral College in a landslide and you would be fighting against the conventional wisdom Team D was a group of supergeniuses.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Your electoral college map is a bit off. Even if she had managed to squeak by in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, that still would not have been a very impressive win against Donald Trump. The Democrats still would hardly look like supergeniuses if they only beat Trump by such a narrow margin, especially after their losses in 2010 and 2014 for similar reasons.

  5. 5
    SocraticGadfly says:

    A Better Deal? Will that come close to A Green New Deal in substance?

  6. 6
    Rob says:

    It didn't take a political genius to discern the gathering storm clouds. This country is hurting. People are slowly being sucked dry as more and more of the gains of productivity wind up in fewer and fewer hands. Our recent high school graduates regard their future as dismal, regardless of their GPA. There just aren't many opportunities to economically grow beyond the college debts these days … 

    Before Ms. Clinton announced her candidacy, I predicted that the party that showed up with a status quo candidate would lose. That wasn't a rock hard prognostication so much as an attempt to draw attention to the strong headwinds that were brewing. Obama's approval was growing, and continuing to grow, but his Presidency was regarded as a period in which disaster was staved off, not one in which forward progress was made. And people felt, and feel, and urgency for progress. A change of direction. 

    The Democratic Party apparatus pretty much snuffed the Sanders candidacy, and shoved the debate of the left into a soundproof box. The result was yielding the energy of those headwinds to a charlatan, who knew how to read them, and had no conscience about completely ignoring his empty campaign rhetoric once elected. 

    Ms. Clinton lost for a great many reasons. I compare her loss to the crash of an aircraft … seldom attributable to one event or error, but understandable in the context of a tragic chain of events and failures.  But she was, with her sympathy for financial elites, support of fracking, her neo-con like foreign policy, flying against the winds of the storm. You can do that, with luck and skill …  but you can't suffer too many external events, or recover from many errors, under those conditions.

    Trump has only been in office for six disastrous and humiliating (if you are a patriot) months. His approval is heading straight for the ditch. But his voters … they have not yet begun to feel the hurt heading their way. At some point they will recognize the betrayal. 

    The left should then be prepared to reach to them … Howard Dean knew how to do that. 50 state strategy. Talk to the guy with the Confederate flag stenciled on the read window of his pickup truck. Etc. Dean supervised the attainment of  a majority in both Houses and  the 2008 election of Obama. And the Democratic Party fired him. And put a zero charisma Party apparatchik in his place. 

    Democrats **can** win again. All they have to do is have a heart and grow a backbone. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris just might be able to show 'em how.

  7. 7
    paintedjaguar says:

    Substance? What substance, it's only a slogan. The Dems think their current conservative policies are just fine, that they just need to tweak their "messaging" in order to fool the yokels for whom they and Robert L. Bell above feel such contempt.

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