Saturday, September 3, 2016

Rotting From Within

Okay, Hillary Clinton is running ahead of Donald Trump in most polls, and those of us who believe the Clintons have outstayed their welcome likely won't be able to stop their desired restoration.  But just remember this; even if  Hillary does win in November, that is not going to fix the problems of the Democratic Party!  The Democrats will still have a minority of governorships and state legislative chambers, they'll still be a minority in the House, and they may not even win the Senate this year if enough voters decide that Hillary, if elected President, is too untrustworthy to be given a Democratic majority in either house of Congress.  And whoever becomes the permanent chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2017 will have his or her work cut out for him or her by having to undo the work of his or her two predecessors, Tim Kaine (who lost the House and several governorships to the Republicans in the 2010 midterms) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (who lost the Senate to the Republicans in the 2014 midterms).  Kaine is the Democratic vice presidential nominee; Wasserman Schultz is a Hillary stooge who has assumed an honorary leadership position in the Clinton campaign and was just renominated to run for another U.S. House term in her district over an opponent who supported Bernie Sanders.  Not good.
The problem remains an inability to cultivate plausible candidates for down-ballot offices.  One example of this is Kentucky, where, after Democrats abandoned their fifty-state strategy, Democratic "rising stars" were handily defeated and humbled into irrelevance.  Jack Conway famously lost his U.S. Senate bid to Rand Paul in 2010 but was tagged by a Chris Matthews as a Democrat to watch.  After Conway's loss in Kentucky gubernatorial election of 2015, Democrats stopped watching; he withdrew from politics and returned to private law practice after having served as the state's attorney general.  And no one wants to talk about the future of Allison Lundergan Grimes, who challenged Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for his seat in 2014 only for McConnell to emerge as the winner and still champ . . . and Majority Leader.  Now that Rand Paul is facing what should be an easy re-election victory over a different opponent (I could look up his name again, but it's not important), we don't hear much about Democratic prospects in Republican states or a fifty-state strategy.  Republican prospects in Democratic states?  Don't count out Scott Walker for a third term as governor of Wisconsin in 2018.
Former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, once a Democratic rising star himself but long since laughed out of the limelight when he tried to run for President, has long complained about Democratic inattention to down-ballot races and has been touted as a possible Democratic National Committee chairman.  However, neither the committee itself nor the Clintons themselves have taken such a proposal seriously, which is why no one else does.  O'Malley loves the Democratic Party and wants to save it, but the same people who doomed his political career to irrelevance have already doomed the party to the same. They let it rot from within, and while the party's prospects look good on the surface, its collapse is only one presidential election defeat away, whether it be in 2016 or 2020.  Perhaps concerned Democrats like O'Malley should stop worrying about what's best for the party and start thinking about what's best for the country . . . and form a new party.

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