Sunday, November 5, 2017

Why Dems Aren't Winning Against Trump

At U.S. News and World Report, "You Can't Beat Something With Nothing":
The Democrats seem to enjoy gloating about the hot mess that is the Republican Party these days. Former GOP presidents warning the president about the people he surrounds himself with; sitting Republican U.S. senators calling the president unstable and unqualified; and a former GOP speaker of the house saying "there is no Republican Party. The president isn't a Republican." And Democrats' friends in the mainstream media have kindly created an echo chamber that makes them think that they are always right and the Republicans are a bunch of sexist, racist, whack jobs.

So why aren't they winning?

They must be longing for the halcyon days of the Obama election in 2008. They were so eager to lay all of America's troubles entirely at the feet of President George W. Bush: The Iraq War (which most of their party voted to support), Hurricane Katrina response (ignoring any involvement by Democratic local officials) and the financial collapse (which had little to do with Washington – although President Bush and President Barack Obama worked hand in hand to bail the country out of it). They were so full of hope! They were ushering in a new America. A post-racial America where everyone has health care and a good middle-class job. Stories written in the wake of the November election wrote the obituary on the Republican Party (too white, too rich, too old and on top of that, technology morons who can't turn out the vote). The Democrats were here to stay – or so they thought.

That arrogance caused them to nominate Hillary Clinton to be their party's standard bearer. Possibly the only candidate who could lose to Trump. (It's generally accepted that, had Vice President Joe Biden been the nominee, he would have won. And just this week, Trump's pollster posited that Sanders would have beaten Trump, too.) Her major primary opponent was a bit nutty, but that was largely because the Democratic establishment had crowned Clinton early on and crowded everyone else out. She was a fairly strong candidate in the Democratic Party: a well-known former first lady to a very popular president, former U.S. senator, former secretary of state. It was her turn.

Never mind that there is no figure in American politics as guaranteed to unite the GOP base in opposition as the person who coined the term "vast right-wing conspiracy" in an effort to deflect from her husband's misdeeds (which everyone in the country seemed to find plausible, except for her). Never mind her inability to connect with working-class voters in the same folksy way as her husband. Never mind her reputation for refusing to take responsibility for things that happened on her watch (like Benghazi). Everyone should ignore all that. Because it's time for us to shatter that glass ceiling, and no one but Hillary can do it.

The Democrats seemed shocked the race between Clinton and Trump remained relatively close because they seemed to stop talking to the white working-class voters who, for decades, had defined their base.

So when they lost the election, there was a reckoning. The leadership of the Democratic Party was drummed up and new, forward-looking leaders took the reins and offered an alternative to what they saw as the disaster of Donald Trump. Wait, no. That isn't what happened. Instead, they re-elected Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the house. They elected Chuck Schumer as Senate majority leader and completely sold out to the New York and California wings of the Democratic Party.

Instead of talking about middle-class tax cuts, they talked about transgender bathroom access. Instead of talking about fixing Obamacare, which was crushing many in the middle class with high premiums and complicated doctor selections, they walked right into the trap of the alt-right and began tearing down Civil War statues.

In the first big test of party strength: the Virginia governor's race, they have thrown up all over themselves. Virginia should be easy for them. Clinton won it in 2016. Trump's numbers are completely under water. The Republican candidate has awkwardly embraced Trump and some of his controversial positions while trying not to hug him too close. But somehow they ended up with one of the least inspiring Democratic candidates Virginia has seen in a long time. And they backed an ad that seemed to depict Virginians who drive pickup trucks as a bunch of rednecks looking to plow down children of color...

Here the now-pulled Latino Victory Fund ad from the Virginia governor's race. For shame: