Wednesday, January 04, 2017

The Republican Wing Of The Democratic Party Shows Its Hand


I hate to say it but House Democrats desperately need their own progressive version of Newt Gingrich to give Pelosi, Hoyer, Clyburn, Crowley a boot up their asses. Beltway Democrats, who have settled comfortably into being the loser party— the way Robert Michel’s Republicans had before Newt Gingrich stuck sticks of dynamite up their tired asses in 1993— seem certain that the way forward is to look backward and keep repeating all the old mistakes that have devastated the party while protecting the pitiful perpetual minority in their positions of secondary grandeur. Josh Krasushaar speaks for the Beltway establishment; he’s their guy. And yesterday at the National Journal he reported on the playbook that will guarantee a Republican majority into perpetuity. “The key to the party’s revival,” he wrote, “lies in the upscale suburbs where Hillary Clinton made strong inroads.” He’s wrong, completely, utterly wrong— unless the Democratic Party wants to cede its base to Trumpist and become 100% Clintonian— a party of the 10% with an overly of pathetic identity politics.

All through the election, here at DWT, we screamed at the lamest of the Democratic Establishment organizations— the DCCC— to take advantage of moderate suburbanite disdain for Trump, particularly in the suburbs of Houston, San Antonio and Austin in Texas and in Orange County, California. But the DCCC is deaf, dumb and blind and didn’t even run candidates in red-leaning suburban districts where Hillary beat, or came close to beating, Trump. No candidates, no party infrastructure, no brains... that's Pelosi and Hoyer's DCCC.

Kraushaar and the establishment centrists he parrots, are desperate to prevent real change, so they’re embracing counterchange, pushing the Democratic Party to remake itself as their fathers’ GOP. That helps explain the hysterical viciousness with which they’re attacking Keith Ellison’s quest for the DNC chair. Exactly one month ago, we looked at GA-06, the Tom Price suburban Atlanta district Kraushaar and the Democratic establishment suddenly discovered yesterday. I’d like to see the centrists test out their theory that the future of the Democratic Party isn’t with working families but with wealthy professionals but winning the special election to replace Price. “The seeds of Democratic renewal,” wrote Kraushaar, “can be found in the af­flu­ent neigh­bor­hoods of At­lanta and its north­ern sub­urbs, where a quiet protest against Don­ald Trump’s Re­pub­lic­an Party took place on Elec­tion Day. The di­verse, mod­er­ate-minded con­stitu­ents of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­ret­ary de­sign­ee Tom Price took a markedly dif­fer­ent view of Trump than work­ing-class white voters in the Rust Belt. Mitt Rom­ney car­ried this dis­trict with 61 per­cent of the vote in 2012—a seat that The     Al­man­ac of Amer­ic­an Polit­ics dubbed a ‘safe Re­pub­lic­an dis­trict’—but Trump eked out just a 1-point win over Hil­lary Clin­ton in 2016.” Hillary lost the election, lost Georgia and lost GA-06 but here’s the perspective from the fiscally conservative Republican wing of the Democratic Party:
Clin­ton car­ried sub­urb­an At­lanta’s Cobb County by 3 points, a dra­mat­ic 15-point swing from Mitt Rom­ney’s re­sound­ing double-di­git vic­tory in the county four years earli­er. Among the most-af­flu­ent pre­cincts in Fulton County, Clin­ton won by 3 points. Clin­ton even car­ried white voters in the At­lanta met­ro­pol­it­an area by a 1-point mar­gin, a stun­ning turn­around in a state that has his­tor­ic­ally been deeply po­lar­ized along ra­cial lines.

The res­ults from the At­lanta sub­urbs of­fer Demo­crats a play­book for how to com­pete in the fu­ture—win over so­cially lib­er­al, fisc­ally con­ser­vat­ive voters who tra­di­tion­ally lined up with Re­pub­lic­ans. This would pair the di­verse Obama co­ali­tion with voters who have favored free mar­kets and a tough-minded for­eign policy. It would be a throw­back to the cent­rist policies of Bill Clin­ton, along with a full-throated em­brace of a di­ver­si­fy­ing Amer­ica. It would con­cede some of the white work­ing-class gains to Trump, while mak­ing an ag­gress­ive push to bring col­lege-edu­cated sub­urb­an­ites in­to the Demo­crat­ic fold.

Such a plan would bet on Trump over­reach­ing as pres­id­ent—after all, his fa­vor­ab­il­ity still hov­ers in the mid-40s—and per­suad­ing voters who de­fec­ted from him to keep sup­port­ing Demo­crats. A cent­rist-minded agenda would take a skep­tic­al view of heavy-handed eco­nom­ic reg­u­la­tions, and fo­cus on eco­nom­ic growth as its core prin­ciple. It would em­brace a more mus­cu­lar for­eign policy, not­ably on Rus­si­an mal­feas­ance and the ter­ror­ist threat at home. It would cham­pi­on im­mig­ra­tion re­form and loudly op­pose any meas­ures that would hinder the flow of high-skilled labor in­to the coun­try.

And it would re­ject some of the more polit­ic­ally dam­aging ele­ments of Pres­id­ent Obama’s re­cord, par­tic­u­larly his hos­tile ac­tions to­wards Is­rael and all-too-fre­quent pan­der­ing to protest groups traf­fick­ing in di­vis­ive rhet­or­ic. As flawed as Clin­ton was, her strong per­form­ance in some GOP-friendly sub­urbs was par­tially at­trib­ut­able to her sol­id pro-Is­rael re­cord and abil­ity to keep some dis­tance from the rabble-rousers.

In short, this strategy would draw the map that Demo­crats have al­ways said rep­res­ents their fu­ture—lock­ing in Col­or­ado and Vir­gin­ia, while mak­ing a re­newed play for North Car­o­lina, Ari­zona, and Geor­gia. It would be­ne­fit from demo­graph­ic di­versity while mol­li­fy­ing mod­er­ate whites. It risks los­ing a little ground in the Mid­w­est, but bets that a more tal­en­ted pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee can win back work­ing-class voters while hold­ing onto the gains in the sub­urbs. It would rely on mak­ing in­roads with white voters, while be­ing a bit less de­pend­ent on his­tor­ic turnout and mar­gins from Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans.

Con­sider: A 50 per­cent ma­jor­ity of voters be­lieve that gov­ern­ment is do­ing too much, ac­cord­ing to exit polling. Nearly one-quarter of them were Clin­ton voters. These are the type of voters that Demo­crats would be smart to tar­get as they look to re­build.

This dia­gnos­is runs counter to the ad­vice of so­cial­ist-minded sen­at­ors Bernie Sanders and Eliza­beth War­ren, who claim the elec­tion res­ults were a back­lash against the Demo­crat­ic Party’s close­ness to Wall Street. They want to re­shape Trump’s pop­u­lism left­ward, en­er­giz­ing the base in the pro­cess.

But this ap­proach ig­nores the cul­tur­al dis­con­nect between work­ing-class whites and the lead­er­ship of today’s Demo­crat­ic Party. The grow­ing threat of ter­ror­ism, worsen­ing race re­la­tions, con­cern over il­leg­al im­mig­ra­tion, and a dis­pro­por­tion­ate fo­cus on bath­room bills played key roles in push­ing blue-col­lar voters away from Demo­crats. While eco­nom­ic anxi­ety played an im­port­ant role, it’s hard to see how Demo­crats will be able to out-Trump the in­com­ing pres­id­ent without shed­ding their so­cial lib­er­al­ism. It’s very plaus­ible that, be­cause of Trump, North­ern work­ing-class whites could fol­low the path in­to the Re­pub­lic­an Party that their South­ern and Ap­palachi­an coun­ter­parts paved over the past two dec­ades. And without Obama on a bal­lot, it’s un­likely that Demo­crats will be­ne­fit from black-turnout levels that hit his­tor­ic highs in 2008 and 2012.

Demo­crats only need to look at last year’s elec­tion res­ults to un­der­stand that they’ll need to re­ori­ent the party in the post-Obama era. On pa­per, they have an op­por­tun­ity to ce­ment their gains from the up­scale sub­urbs to provide a spring­board to a ma­jor­ity. But if an in­creas­ingly lib­er­al base con­tin­ues to dic­tate policy, the math for Demo­crats gets a lot tough­er. The com­ing months will in­dic­ate wheth­er they will be act­ing more like Wal­ter Mondale or Bill Clin­ton in the wake of de­mor­al­iz­ing de­feats.
Sounds like Kraushaar was taking dictation from the New Dems or any part of the toxic anti-worker groups that want to see more Clintonism instead of a revitalized Democratic Party. Progressives are going to have to be vigilant and merciless in their battle for control of a party run by entrenched special interests who have grown fat and rich as the party has continued to sink and sink and lose and lose.

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At 12:58 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Boy is this guy a doozy thanks for your "Words Of Wisdom" about the party Josh i feel better already.

At 2:44 AM, Blogger VG said...

This guy is totally clueless about GA if he thinks upscale white neighborhoods will be a winning focus for the Dems.

Evidence, particularly the parts of the article below that talk about the rapidly changing demographics of GA:

At 4:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Progressives in the "party" are an ever shrinking minority. Since the cabal of corrupteds (DLC) started selling the Democrap party to the same big money that has owned the Rs since before WWI, the liberal/progressive wing has atrophied to its now insignificant nothingness.

While the tiny minority now is more visible due to the increased distinction from the main body, it is still shrinking in inverse proportion to the amount of money the main body earns on its knees.

If progressive voters ever want representation, they'll need to find/fund/found a different party than the one that lies to them as it lays down for ever more money from the .01%. If that ever happens, the minority of liberal/progressive "party" members will join them very quickly, I'm sure.


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