November 19, 2016


In Their Coastal Citadels, Democrats Argue Over What Went Wrong : Epic loss reveals retreat of white working-class support across America's midsection; 'there are big parts of the country that just aren't hearing us' (Reid J. Epstein and Janet Hook, 11/18/16, WSJ)

The moment has been years in the making, masked by President Obama's singular ability to knit together a broad coalition of young people, women and minorities. The last Democratic presidential nominee to connect with the working class was Bill Clinton, whose most recent appearance on the ballot was 20 years ago. Al Gore and John Kerry, who each lost to Republican George W. Bush, were both seen as cerebral creatures of an economic and political elite.

"The coalition needs to be broader," said Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat. "The Democratic Party has a history that it's been about working Americans. We cannot be a party of the East Coast, West Coast and metropolitan areas."

Last week's presidential defeat revealed a Democratic Party that agrees on core principles, but remains divided over which issues to emphasize, how steeply to oppose Donald Trump 's incoming administration and how best to rebuild after years of statehouse losses to Republicans, interviews with dozens of elected Democrats, party activists, and officials at the state, local and federal level show.

The party-wide debate is reaching into Capitol Hill and the Democratic National Committee, provoking discord between liberal political activists and the pragmatists in elected office. Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton's popular-vote victory has left some top party officials believing they still hold the keys to the electoral promised land, if only they could find the right vehicle to take them there.

For decades, Democrats have been losing support from the white working class. In presidential elections of the 1990s, those voters split evenly between the parties. By 2012, white voters without college degrees favored millionaire Republican Mitt Romney over Mr. Obama in all but one competitive state, Iowa. This year, 67% of non-college-educated whites nationwide voted for Mr. Trump, according to exit polls.

The Democratic Party's white working-class base has deteriorated with the diminishing ranks of organized labor. Even within that typically reliable voting bloc, fissures emerged. Exit polls show that 43% of voters in union households went for Mr. Trump, just 8 percentage points behind Mrs. Clinton.

The coasts and cities are home to the core coalition of women, minorities and young voters that powered Mr. Obama to two presidential victories, and had been expected to buoy the party for years to come. But without Mr. Obama on the ballot, the disparate elements of the party have lost elections in 2010, 2014 and 2016.

Democratic losses have come at all levels of government since Mr. Obama took office and his party controlled Congress. In Washington, it has been relegated to minority status with at least 60 fewer seats in the House and 12 fewer in the Senate.

The casualties have been worse in state capitols. Before the 2010 elections, 54.5% of all state legislators were Democrats, giving the party majorities in 60 of 99 chambers. Democrats controlled both legislative chambers and held the governor's office in 17 states.

Now, the party has majorities in just 31 of 99 legislative chambers, having lost 958 seats since Mr. Obama took office. Just 43% of elected state lawmakers will be Democrats when the new state legislatures are sworn in.

The geographic shift is clear in the political map of the House: When the new Congress takes office in January, about one third of all House seats held by Democrats will come from just three states--California, New York and Massachusetts.

The Non-Voters Who Decided The Election: Trump Won Because Of Lower Democratic Turnout (Omri Ben-Shahar,   11/17/16, Forbes)

The story of Hillary Clinton's defeat, then, is not the Trump Movement erupting in the ballots, nor the fable that some "Reagan Democrats" flipped again from Obama to Trump. The story is altogether different, and very simple: the Democratic base did not turn out to vote as it did for Obama. Those sure-Democrats who stayed home handed the election to Trump.

Take Michigan for example. A state that Obama won in 2012 by 350,000 votes, Clinton lost by roughly 10,000. Why? She received 300,000 votes less than Obama did in 2012. Detroit and Wayne County should kick themselves because of the 595,253 votes they gave Obama in 2012, only 518,000 voted for Clinton in 2016. Mote than 75,000 Motown Obama voters did not bother to vote for Clinton! They did not become Trump voters - Trump received only 10,000 votes more than Romney did in this county. They simply stayed at home. If even a fraction of these lethargic Democrats had turned out to vote, Michigan would have stayed blue.

Wisconsin tells the same numbers story, even more dramatically. Trump got no new votes. He received exactly the same number of votes in America's Dairyland as Romney did in 2012. Both received 1,409,000 votes. But Clinton again could not spark many Obama voters to turn out for her: she tallied 230,000 votes less than Obama did in 2012. This is how a 200,000-vote victory margin for Obama in the Badger State became a 30,000-vote defeat for Clinton.

This pattern is national. Clinton's black voter turnout dropped more than 11 percent compared to 2012. The support for Clinton among active black voters was still exceedingly high (87 percent, versus 93 percent for Obama), but the big difference was the turnout. Almost two million black votes cast for Obama in 2012 did not turn out for Clinton.

There's obviously an open question as to whether a second black nominee could inspire the kind of turnout that the first did. But there's an even more important threshold question ; does another Unicorn Rider even exist?

The truth that neither Left nor Right were ever able to acknowledge it that Barrack Obama was able to succeed so easily precisely because he stood for and had achieved nothing.  He was completely without definition, which allowed everyone to define him in their own minds.  That's why the Left could imagine that the quintessential Organization Man was some kind of Justice warrior and why the Right got so hysterical about a gay Muslim socialist. 

His victory was a great personal triumph, which was all he was ever interested in, and a wonderful symbolic moment for the world, the election of a black man to the presidency of a nation that sustained slavery and then Jim Crow until four decades earlier.  But other than that, it, like the nominee, was devoid of content.

So where do you go to find another such candidate and, even if you could, can that symbolism ever matter as much again?

You can see how disorganized their thinking is in the sudden elevation of Keith Ellison.  Sure he's black, but in what other conceivable sense does he resemble Barrack Obama?  For one thing, he actually is a Progressive and a cohort of Bernie Sanders, with an extensive voting record in Congress.  For another, where the UR jettisoned the Reverend Wright as soon as his offensive comments came out, Ellison defended Louis Farrakhan against charges of anti-Semitism and was, apparently, a Black Muslim himself for some period of time.  This is not how you recapture the magic.

The more you look at it the more it seems the only candidate the party could choose, if they want to try to win, instead of indulging in a frenzy of Corbynite blood-letting, is Michelle Obama.

Posted by at November 19, 2016 9:29 AM