July 29, 2015

A CERTAIN LACK OF DEPTH:

Democratic Party Machinery Shows Rust : Leaders worry losses of state, local offices create shortage of top candidates (COLLEEN MCCAIN NELSON and  PETER NICHOLAS, July 20, 2015, WSJ)

After two presidential victories, Mr. Obama presides over a Democratic Party that has lost 13 seats in the U.S. Senate and 69 in the House during his tenure, a net loss unmatched by any modern U.S. president.

Democrats have also lost 11 governorships, four state attorneys general, 910 legislative seats, as well as the majorities in 30 state legislative chambers. In 23 states, Republicans control the governor's office and the legislature; Democrats, only seven.

Such losses help shape the future: An ousted state lawmaker doesn't run for Congress; a failed attorney general candidate loses a shot at the governor's office. As a result, the flow of fresh political talent rising to statewide and national prominence in the years ahead won't be as robust as Democrats hope.

The party's failure to elect more governors, for example, has shrunk the pool of potential Democratic presidential candidates, one reason few have challenged Hillary Clinton for the 2016 nomination.

For now, the two parties wield their influence in competing branches of government: Republicans in control of Congress, using state-level dominance to draw congressional districts friendly to GOP candidates; and Democrats in the White House, using their demographic advantage nationwide.

In few places are the Democrats' troubles more apparent than in Ohio, the perennial presidential battleground state twice won by Mr. Obama. Ohio Democrats lost every statewide contest in the November midterms, allowing the GOP to build supermajorities in both legislative chambers. Democrats won just a quarter of races last year for county commissioner--the local masters of land-use rules, as well as county roads, jails and a host of other government services.

The losses in Ohio are the consequences of failing to develop a strong corps of local officeholders and the campaign machinery to support them, Democrats in the state say.

Posted by at July 29, 2015 5:27 PM
  

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