December 12, 2016

Rudderless Democrats Grapple With A Leaderless Future

The Democratic civil war has been raging for over a month now. Yet as a new The Hill story highlights, the conflicts within the Democratic Party look to only get worse next month. That’s because when President Obama leaves office the Democratic Party will be left without a leader:

“Meanwhile, the immediate direction of the Democratic Party is further complicated because it has no obvious leader with the exception of President Obama, who will leave office in less than six weeks. At the Democratic National Committee — an organization already tainted by leaked emails suggesting its staff helped Clinton over Sanders during the primary — interim chairwoman Donna Brazile will soon leave office, with at least three candidates seeking to replace her. The Clinton political machine, a major force in the party since President Bill Clinton’s rise in the early 90s, is fading into obsolescence in the wake of the shock election result.”

This past month has seen a chaotic DNC race, in which the frontrunner has been dogged by his past Nation of Islam connections. At the same time Nancy Pelosi saw 63 of her members vote for a new direction. These types of crisis look to only get more frequent next year.

The troubles confronting the Democratic Party has led some Democrats to argue forcefully that the status quo needs to be shaken up:

“’You can’t look at the next occupant of the White House and say, ‘Let’s just do everything again the way it was done,’ said Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, who is also a columnist for The Hill. ‘There aren’t many people making that argument.’”

At the same time, some Democrats argue that the renewed focus on the white working class might actually be a mistake:

“There are worries in some quarters that the party will try to re-fight this election when the next one rolls around, a strategy that would presumably involve emphasizing an appeal to white voters in the Rust Belt. Skeptics worry that such an effort, especially if couched in culturally conservative terms, could erode the party’s support with black and Hispanic voters as well as liberal young people.”

As the rudderless Democratic Party attempts to move forward, they first need to figure out the direction they want to go in.