Monday, December 26, 2016
What the Democrats Still Do Not Get
Listening to the likes of Joe Biden, licking his lips at the expected disappointments the completely Republican federally elected Congress and Presidency will foist on the little guys whose nascent support gave Donald Trump the election, suggests that the Democrats simply do not understand their rather obvious and continuing vulnerability. The thrust of so many Monday morning Democrat quarterbacks is that the system cheated them out of a victory. Like Russian hacks and FBI meddling. Going forward, they are relying heavily on a GOP-screw-up and not on a new Democratic message. “They own it,” say old line Dems at the new GOP federal leadership. “Every time something goes wrong, it will be their fault,” say others.
Dems, licking the 2016 wounds, seem to be building toward the 2018 mid-terms where they arrogantly expect to displace that GOP Congressional majority. Really, Dems? Are you that much out of touch with what just happened? Do you really think you are prepared for the master of blame-shifting, Donald Trump, who will continue to have you in his sights? And why haven’t the Dems realized that their old tired messages simply will be even less effective in the coming years? When are they going to listen to the disenfranchised voters and stop counting on a demographic shift of more minority votes to take them over the top… without redefining their message?
Let’s look at what’s really going on. There are going to be more Americans moving down the economic ladder in the next four years. Fewer people will live lifestyles equal to or better than those of their parents. For recent immigrant families and incumbent underclass minorities, that statement might not apply, but it is certainly the way it is for traditional white voters, who are feeling increasingly under siege from the rapid expansion of minorities who will inevitably dilute and displace their control of American government. Think foreign policy is the driver? Really, you think so? What happened to that political basic, “It’s the economy, stupid”? The GOP got it.
While clearly other issues may have diluted the total importance of the economy in this last election, it remains America’s dominant political concern. “An examination of the exit polls in three key states that helped swing the election Trump's way revealed that the economy was by far the most important issue to votes…In Michigan, [for example,] 52% of voters said economy was ‘most important issue facing the country,’ compared to 60% of voters who said [the same] thing about the economy in 2012.” AOL.com, December 24th. But who gets to determine that economic policy is a very key issue.
The battle over the replacement of the existing Electoral College system with a popular vote – Hillary Clinton drew millions more actual popular votes than did Mr. Trump – is seen as seminal in maintaining white control. Keeping that form of presidential election process is seen as necessary to white traditionalists… in addition to the minority voter suppression efforts of voter IDs, gerrymandering, inconvenient voting venues for minorities and the new North Carolina-driven effort of disempowering an incoming Democratic governor.
Champion of white conservative rights, one Fox News mega-commentator has “nicely” summarized his followers’ position: “Bill O’Reilly doesn’t want the Electoral College – or the disproportionate power it brings rural, white voters – to disappear… In a two-and-a-half minute introduction to the segment, the conservative Fox News anchor threw his support behind the [Electoral College] system, insisting its survival was necessary to ensure that voters in predominantly rural states are not overrun by a growing population of minorities in city centers.
“‘The left sees white privilege in America as an oppressive force that must be done away with, he told The O'Reilly Factor viewers on Tuesday [12/20]. ‘The left wants power taken away from the white establishment. They want a profound change in the way America is run. Taking voting power away from the white precincts is the quickest way to do that.’
“The segment has left liberals reeling, with many calling Mr. O’Reilly’s comments racist, saying he appears to prefer white votes holding additional influence over ballots cast by minorities. But for some, O’Reilly’s comments illuminate a larger segment of the population that fears the eroding influence of white voters in a rapidly changing America – the very group that President-elect Donald Trump rallied to win key swing states.
“Those disappointed with Mr. Trump’s victory have protested the centuries-old system and called for a shift to a popular vote that would create equity among individual votes nationwide. Others have pushed back, arguing that the system put in place by the Founding Fathers in 1787 is a traditional and key element of the US democratic process.” Christian Science Monitor, December 21st. For a more detailed analysis of exactly how the United States became a nation where one rural, white traditional vote has the approximate voting power of 1.8 urban votes, please take a look at my November 25thblog, Farmageddon.
Hey, Dems, want some more really bad news? Remember that not all the Senate races were up for a vote in 2016. Here’s what 2018 really looks like: “After a tough but lucky 2016, when several incumbent senators held on despite polls suggesting that they would lose, Republicans are hoping for blowout wins in 2018. Democrats have 23 seats to defend, as well as the seats of independents Bernie Sanders and Angus King; Republicans just have eight to defend, and just one in a blue state. Ten of the Democrats come from states won by Donald Trump, from coin-flip Wisconsin to landslide West Virginia.
“That's letting Republicans play offense, and as Eliana Johnson reports in Politico, Trump-allied groups are targeting the Democrats from the reddest states to complicate any opposition to Trump's nominees to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department. America Rising Squared has launched campaigns to defend Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and is planning TV ads to pressure Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Manchin III (W.Va.). The Judicial Confirmation Network, which pressured Republicans to block any hearings on the open Supreme Court seat, is similarly moving to offense.” Washington Post, December 21st. Think the GOP has a solid argument for making the Senate filibuster-proof in 2018 to implement their programs? “Those Democrats are blocking us in our effort to help you.”
For Democrats looking for populist leadership in 2018 and beyond from defeated Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, remember before he ran in the Democratic primary race and immediately after he lost, Bernie wasn’t/isn’t even a Democrat!!! The Dems have taken on the mantle of the “out-of-touch” liberal elite – snooty professorial/professional types who live solidly middle class or better lives and have no idea what it is like to face layoffs or to live paycheck-to-paycheck – with little in the way of clear and believable programs that would provide greater economic security and income enhancement specifically to reach this newly terrified and abandoned voting class.
The Dems are seen as a pool of old ideas and older leaders. Trump may have lied and embellished what he could do for these voters, but his message was directly aimed at providing these “afterthought former Democrats” with how his programs would make their individual economic futures better. Hillary didn’t even campaign in Wisconsin and showed up once in Michigan. She lost both of these working-class “Democratic sure things.” At least Trump promised to try something new and different. But if you look at the Democrat’s message… it has not changed!
Think I’m railing without understanding. Try this one on for size: After a challenge from seven-term rust-belt Ohioan, 43-year-old Tim Ryan (pictured left above), a younger progressive Democratic candidate, the House Dems reelected a 76-year-old from one of the richest and most elite congressional districts in the country (California’s 12th which is basically San Francisco) as House Minority Leader… Nancy Pelosi (pictured right above), the poster child for everything that scares former members of the middle class looking for hope and a new direction for their plunging economic prospects. Yup, San Francisco where $1 million buys you an 800 square foot home. Pelosi’s net worth is estimated to be somewhere between a low of $30 million (RollCall.com) and a high of $100 million (CheatSheet.com), compared to Ryan’s estimated low-end of six figures. Nothing screams louder to disenfranchised Americans that we Dems “don’t hear you and we don’t care, because we are changing nothing!” Young Dems, defer to your out-of-touch elders!
So as the Democratic Party gently places a shotgun in its mouth, fiddling with the trigger and hoping there are no shells in the chamber, the Republican Party – which faces more than a few of its own internal struggles – just may be the party ready to gloat in 2018. If something fails as dramatically as the 2016 efforts by Democrats in the November election, perhaps it is time to refocus the message, reconfigure the leadership and stop trying just to fix the packaging!
I’m Peter Dekom, and somewhere in the Democratic Party there needs to be a wake-up call… or perhaps party stalwarts are more interested in attending a wake for their old world party instead.