Democrats’ post-election fault lines

One need not be a Democrat to notice their party’s disarray.  In fact, attentive outsiders have a far clearer understanding than its operatives of the Democratic Party’s fault lines.

Following November’s general election debacle, Democrats have become too fragmented to perform an objective autopsy on their own political cadaver.  To date, most internal postmortems have studiously avoided introspection and uncomfortable truths.

Democrats have called Donald Trump’s election a national calamity, even though, pre-inauguration, it is a calamity only for their party.  A reluctance to face that reality and adjust has the chance to doom Democratic prospects outside mostly coastal liberal enclaves for decades. 

Since 2008, the number of Senate Democrats has declined by 10.2 percent; Democratic House members are down 19.3 percent; state legislators are off 20.3 percent; and there are 35.4 percent fewer Democratic governors.  The only constants during that period are Barack Obama’s presidency; his administrative, often extralegal overreach; the Democratic Party’s obsession with identity politics; and its litany of gratuitous accusations insults, really against those who only disagree with Democratic policies and results or have suffered from them.  To Democrats, everyone is “deplorable,” racist, homophobic, sexist, greedy, evil, and/or stupid – everyone but Democratic voters, of course. 

Hillary Clinton wasn’t inevitable after all.  Now, lacking self-awareness, Democrats are struggling to explain how the enlightened, morally superior party they imagine themselves to be was defeated by racist/homophobic/sexist/greedy/evil/stupid fellow Americans who, in actuality, are none of those things.

A few smart Democrats worry that the party has abandoned its historical base by focusing too much on globalism, urban minorities, and indulging cultural and social interests while ignoring the economic plight of working-class voters in rural areas and states that Trump turned or won handily.  Concerned that Democrats no longer speak to working-class people, but concentrate on racial, gender, and other ideological or tribal sub-groups and special interests, some insightful Democrats have concluded that their party no longer expresses a unifying message.  The most common liberal responses have been that the party’s future and “the country's salvation” lie in identity politics.

But extreme left-wing secular “salvation” won’t feed out-of-work families.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) recently announced a challenge to Nancy Pelosi for House minority leader, saying, “I believe we’re in denial[.] … I’m pulling the fire alarm because the house is burning down[.] … [W]e better get our act together or we’re going to cease being a national party, we’re going to be a regional party that fails to get into the majority and fails to do things on behalf of those working class people that were the backbone of the Democratic party for so long – white, black, brown, gay, straight, everybody wants economic opportunity and they don’t see the Democrats as the party providing that[.]”

Unsurprisingly, identity-obsessed liberals have accused Ryan of “sexism” for challenging a woman who has worked to implement Obama’s unpopular initiatives and overseen the decimation of House Democrats. 

“Sexism” is only a pretext.  In reality, Democrats will punish Ryan for telling the truth.

Jerry Shenk may be reached at jshenk2010@gmail.com.

One need not be a Democrat to notice their party’s disarray.  In fact, attentive outsiders have a far clearer understanding than its operatives of the Democratic Party’s fault lines.

Following November’s general election debacle, Democrats have become too fragmented to perform an objective autopsy on their own political cadaver.  To date, most internal postmortems have studiously avoided introspection and uncomfortable truths.

Democrats have called Donald Trump’s election a national calamity, even though, pre-inauguration, it is a calamity only for their party.  A reluctance to face that reality and adjust has the chance to doom Democratic prospects outside mostly coastal liberal enclaves for decades. 

Since 2008, the number of Senate Democrats has declined by 10.2 percent; Democratic House members are down 19.3 percent; state legislators are off 20.3 percent; and there are 35.4 percent fewer Democratic governors.  The only constants during that period are Barack Obama’s presidency; his administrative, often extralegal overreach; the Democratic Party’s obsession with identity politics; and its litany of gratuitous accusations insults, really against those who only disagree with Democratic policies and results or have suffered from them.  To Democrats, everyone is “deplorable,” racist, homophobic, sexist, greedy, evil, and/or stupid – everyone but Democratic voters, of course. 

Hillary Clinton wasn’t inevitable after all.  Now, lacking self-awareness, Democrats are struggling to explain how the enlightened, morally superior party they imagine themselves to be was defeated by racist/homophobic/sexist/greedy/evil/stupid fellow Americans who, in actuality, are none of those things.

A few smart Democrats worry that the party has abandoned its historical base by focusing too much on globalism, urban minorities, and indulging cultural and social interests while ignoring the economic plight of working-class voters in rural areas and states that Trump turned or won handily.  Concerned that Democrats no longer speak to working-class people, but concentrate on racial, gender, and other ideological or tribal sub-groups and special interests, some insightful Democrats have concluded that their party no longer expresses a unifying message.  The most common liberal responses have been that the party’s future and “the country's salvation” lie in identity politics.

But extreme left-wing secular “salvation” won’t feed out-of-work families.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) recently announced a challenge to Nancy Pelosi for House minority leader, saying, “I believe we’re in denial[.] … I’m pulling the fire alarm because the house is burning down[.] … [W]e better get our act together or we’re going to cease being a national party, we’re going to be a regional party that fails to get into the majority and fails to do things on behalf of those working class people that were the backbone of the Democratic party for so long – white, black, brown, gay, straight, everybody wants economic opportunity and they don’t see the Democrats as the party providing that[.]”

Unsurprisingly, identity-obsessed liberals have accused Ryan of “sexism” for challenging a woman who has worked to implement Obama’s unpopular initiatives and overseen the decimation of House Democrats. 

“Sexism” is only a pretext.  In reality, Democrats will punish Ryan for telling the truth.

Jerry Shenk may be reached at jshenk2010@gmail.com.