January 19th, 2017

The Democrats: out in the cold (for now)

Edward-Isaac Dovere writes in Politico:

What happened [election] night shocked even the most pessimistic Democrats. But in another sense, it was the reckoning the party had been expecting for years. They were counting on a Clinton win to paper over a deeper rot they’ve been worrying about—and to buy them some time to start coming up with answers. In other words, it wasn’t just Donald Trump. Or the Russians. Or James Comey. Or all the problems with how Clinton and her aides ran the campaign. Win or lose, Democrats were facing an existential crisis in the years ahead—the result of years of complacency, ignoring the withering of the grass roots and the state parties, sitting by as Republicans racked up local win after local win.

“The patient,” says Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, “was clearly already sick.”

True. And perhaps more to come in the not-too-distant future:

There are now fewer than 700 days until Election Day 2018, as internal memos circulating among Democratic strategists point out with alarm. They differ in their prescriptions, but all boil down to the same inconvenient truth: If Republicans dominate the 2018 midterms, they will control the Senate (and with it, the Supreme Court) for years, and they will draw district lines in states that will lock in majorities in the House and across state capitals, killing the next generation of Democrats in the crib, setting up the GOP for an even more dominant 2020 and beyond.

That’s probably music to the ears of most of the readers of this blog. But we’ve learned to distrust all prognostications about politics, because remember? Many pundits and even a huge number of regular folk on the right had quite recently given that diagnosis of “moribund” to the other party, the GOP, and it was the Democrats who were posed for victory and “an even more dominant 2020 and beyond.”

So, rather than make any predictions, in this post I’ll just stick to a recap of why I think the Democrats were seemingly asleep at the switch (or the wheel, or whatever metaphor you prefer). Was it just an oversight? Didn’t they notice?

I think they noticed; they just didn’t care because they thought they had a winning strategy at the federal level, and such strong control of the most populous states that those other states—those red states—wouldn’t matter. They believed the Electoral College so very much favored those huge blue states, with their surefire Democratic wins—New York, California, etc—and that it was highly unlikely that any Republican could ever get enough rust belt states to win the presidency.

But the presidency isn’t everything, is it? Well, no. But it’s an awful lot, particularly if a president is willing to extend executive power with enough boldness to make Congress mostly irrelevant. The president appoints the SCOTUS justices, and some of those positions were opening up, and President Hillary Clinton would be guaranteeing a lock on SCOTUS for a generation or two. Congress? The president can stop anything they do with a veto, and there was no way that the GOP would ever get enough votes to override Hillary’s veto. And, if the Democrats had taken control of at least the Senate in 2016 (as a great many Democrats expected they would), so much the better. And who cares about Congress anyway, as long as there’s a Democratic president willing to go right past them and do things by fiat.

And then there was illegal immigration and amnesty, the aces in the hole. it would take a while to accomplish the entire process, first granting amnesty and then in a certain number of years citizenship. Meanwhile, those babies would be coming, surefire citizens all and projected to become Democrats, turning the last large red states such as Texas blue.

So who cared if some state legislatures and governorships continued to go to the GOP? Let those states stew in their own crimson juices. The real power lay in Washington, and the states where the vast majority of Democrats resided were true blue anyway.


But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

[NOTE: I know I’ve said it before, but that quote comes from one of my favorite poems in all the world.]

25 Responses to “The Democrats: out in the cold (for now)”

  1. Cornhead Says:

    if you watch the confirmation hearings, I see Dem senators who are nasty, not very smart, grandstanding and asking stupid questions. Sherrod Brown is a prime example.

  2. neo-neocon Says:


    That’s the sort of thing that gets votes in their districts, though.

  3. Susanamantha Says:

    The rudeness makes me fume; I am shocked each time I see it in hearings. I know, I should be used to it by now.

  4. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    The Democrats are now controlled by Progressives who have poisoned the well along with public sector unions. But todays government has tiny gifts for everyone and they are nearly impossible to root out. Think mortgage interest deductions, credits for roof top solar cells, small credits for college tuition, as well as programs for nearly every group under the sun.

    Remember that the Sequester did much the same thing but across the board. You would think the world had ended. Really cutting federal staff would be done like local school districts do it. Cut the football coach and popular librarian at the high school and see how fast the public opinion changes. Combined with civil service rules and it is truly tough. The big government money is in entitlements and no one is talking about these.

    This is stuff for show without a real push from above. This way Trump can get his spending/spoils money and claim to have tried to cut the spending.

  5. huxley Says:

    The Democrats’ strategy wasn’t a bad one. It almost worked.

    My guess is that from here on they continue to be hyperpartisan and obstructionist. That worked against Bush 43 and gave them a good head of steam to go hard left with Obama.

    If Trump’s term gets into serious trouble, Democrats will be ready to scoop up the pieces and get the Prog train rolling again.

    However, things are different than ten years ago. The MSM’s influence has eroded further. The deficit and the debt are more serious. The world has become less stable. The American middle-class’s finances are worse. And Democrats won’t be able to pretend they are pragmatic centrists.

  6. Surellin Says:

    As a great man once said, “Don’t get cocky, kid”. Gerrymandering to maximize GOP (or Dem) seats is dangerous. Tom Delay tried that, didn’t he? And the result was that he spread out the GOP votes enough that the 2006 shift to the blue wiped out a bunch of GOP representatives. Oops.

  7. Sam L. Says:

    How many people do you think still have trust in the media, who are not Dems or leftists, huxley?

  8. Kyndyll G Says:

    I agree with Neo that there was a great sense of simply not caring.

    Even among my way-left lefty-left friends, most of whom actually live in reliably red states, they have an attitude that those who disagree with them simply don’t matter. We’re not “people” to them in the figurative, literal or legal sense. Part of the weeks of outrage about Clinton losing the election stems back to what seems like a widely held idea that Republican elected figures grow from nothing in the middle of the night, popping up like mushrooms, presumably placed at the whim of forces of evil. They concede that there are stupid Republicans in Congress, presumably drawn from the ranks of ghouls and demons who populate the mysterious unknown reaches of Flyover Land, whose sole purpose in Washington is to obstruct the good work of Democrats. (Hilarity ensues if you try to point out to the lefties I know that people – people just like them, except ones who vote Republican – elected these Senators and congress people and sent them to Washington with the sole mission of stopping destructive Democrat legislation.)

    Since they don’t want to accept that there are millions of people who live outside of metro areas of California and New York, whose interests are poorly represented by hard left ideology, it just plain did not occur to them that it was even possible to lose a national election.

    Hence the parade of outrage. It could not have been that the majority of people outside of California voted for Trump, it had to be shenanigans with the vote, or Russians, or something.

  9. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    It seems to me that there are three decisive factors at play; leftist hysteria, how far is Trump actually willing to go and RINO treachery.

    Leftist hysteria is an irrational reaction to imagined fears. It will be reflective of the depth of conservative reforms. Hysteria is counter-productive, so the further overboard they go, the better. Democrat boycott of Trump’s inauguration, by their own hand, brands them with the label of the disloyal opposition. As they have declared the very possibility of compromise to be an anathema.

    The deeper Trump’s reforms, the less popular will he initially be, as the public’s cognitive dysfunction is deep, demonstrated by the public’s contradictory responses in the latest Gallup poll. Trump must stay the course, nothing succeeds like success.

    There are indications that the GOPe is committed to passively resisting real reform. Bringing it out into the open is necessary, passive resistance hinges upon ‘plausible deniability’.

  10. T Says:

    If Republicans dominate the 2018 midterms, they will control the Senate (and with it, the Supreme Court) for years, and they will . . . [set] up the GOP for an even more dominant 2020 and beyond.

    That’s probably music to the ears of most of the readers of this blog

    I offer “T’s” Law:

    All organizations are corruptible. The larger an organization grows, the more corruptible it becomes. The more corruptible an organization becomes, the more corrupt it will be.

    More simply stated, absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is true for the Republican party as well as any other organization.

  11. parker Says:

    The democrats are not going to move one inch towards the center of the political spectrum. To do so they would have to be willing to see some of their multiple special snowflake cohorts rebel. That would be heresy.

    Their party is totally committed to herding the cats of their special (‘victim’) interest groups. Their blue archipelago is surrounded by a vast red sea; from north to south and from east to west. If they make any change at all it would be to double down on their efforts to further alienate those who put Trump in the Oval Office.

  12. Paul in Boston Says:

    I read the article by Dovere which came across to me as misbegotten because he diagnosed everything in political terms. Trump won because he promised to revive the economy, stop illegal immigration, put a boot into the media, and stomped on political correctness. Dovere, like the rest of the lefties, underestimates how much PC turns people off with its insertion of politics even into the most personal parts of life.

    Trump is already reviving the economy now that large corporations are promising to bring manufacturing back to the US. If he can get the business tax rate down to 15% there will be a flood of businesses created plus foreign corporations rushing to move to the US to take advantage of that rate. What are the Dems going to do if the economy starts growing at 3 to 4% per year unlike the anemic 2% of the last eight years, the worst stretch since the Great Depression? Are they going to promise that if elected the taxes, spending, and regulations that they will introduce will make the economy even better? Come 2018 if the economy is growing and reaches 4% or higher by 2020, the Democrats will be doomed.

  13. SteveD Says:

    ‘setting up the GOP for an even more dominant 2020 and beyond.’

    Have any of those guys every heard of political cycles, or the rise and fall of empires, or cyclic history? Or paid attention to any period in American political history? Or any period in the history of any other democracy? Sheesh.

    The Democrats will be back soon enough, even if they have to shift (a little) to the right. Creeping socialism, still creeps, as it did even during Reagan’s tenure.

  14. Kae Arby Says:

    I am reminded about this same time, back in 2001. George W. Bush was about to be sworn in as President, and the Democrats and left in general were just as bat-guano crazy then as they are now. There were even accusations that George Bush had staged a coup d’etat (was it Maxine Waters that said that on the senate floor? I can’t remember who and I can’t find it online.) And who can forget that 2-minute hate that was the Paul Wellstone memorial in ’02? Back then, a lot of people, including myself, thought that the Democrats had finally gone past the point of no return and would not be a political factor for a generation. They were just too crazy.

    Two years after that, the Democrats almost won the presidential election, with John Kerry no less; two years after that, they took back both the house and senate; and two years after that, they controlled both chambers of congress and won the presidency.

    I am wary when anyone says that one of our political parties is finished, or won’t hold power for a generation. Things can change quickly, especially within four years.


  15. parker Says:

    Kae Arby,

    TDS will make BDS look like polite political discourse. I would be surprised if there is no violence in DC and blue metro areas over the inaugural weekend.. My 2017 forecast is daily days of rage until 12/31/17. 2018 looks like it will be the same.

    My desire is to allow the blue counties to secede. They get HHS and the department of education, and we keep the rest of the departments, including DOD. Its time they learn to defend themselves. Trade between blue and red will be managed by our Department of Commerce. 😉

  16. Kae Arby Says:


    I agree; there are quite a lot of differences between 2001 and 2017. I would go even further that we aren’t just experiencing TDS, but also FOCDS (Fly Over Country Derangement Syndrome). The left doesn’t just want to take Trump out, but are also willing to “punish” his supporters in any way possible; which, I think, could seriously hurt them in the long run.

    But there is a stark similarity between ’01 and today. Right now, like in ’01, the left’s rage is unfocussed; like a wounded animal, they’re lashing out at anything and everything. It took them nearly four years before they could focus and direct their rage. They finally latched on to a few concrete ideas (i.e. opposing the Iraq war, Halliburton) and started harnessing that rage and turning it “constructive”. Once they did that, they were able to hurt Bush and the Republicans (in the polls.)

    Give the Democrats and left a few years and they’ll relearn how to channel their rage and use it as a weapon again. There are mitigating issues, such as the left’s propensity toward physical violence. Stuff like that could hurt them; but then again, history is replete with groups successfully using violence to advance a political agenda.

    Here’s one last thing to consider. Barack Obama, and the Democrats, spent the last eight years weaponizing the federal government. You can bet that the Democrats are going to do whatever it takes to get that weapon back.


  17. parker Says:


    There is no doubt that the left will do whatever it takes to resume their desire to destroy all that is based of the concept of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. IMO somewhere around 50% of the currently eligible voters should not be allowed to vote. We need simple tests to determine who should and should not be allowed to vote. People who do not understand the difference between a democracy and a republic is the place to start..

  18. huxley Says:

    How many people do you think still have trust in the media, who are not Dems or leftists, huxley?

    I don’t know. However, I suspect there are a fair number of people who aren’t political and don’t pay that much attention to the media but still more or less trust it.

  19. parker Says:


    According to a variety of polls, trust in the msm is between 25 to 35 percent. Yes, there are those who don’t pay attention and trust the msm, and then there are those who have been brain washed. Thus, hrc wins the popular vote thanks to California, New York, and large metro areas ruled by democrats for decades upon decades.

    The age of the orcs has been stymied, but is not over for good. The pendulum never stops.swinging.

  20. Frog Says:

    Parker’s right: the pendulum never stops swinging. That is why the Left has to be hit good and hard, below the belt if necessary. Multiple times. For castration.
    I fear we are not up to it.
    But I dream the stalwarts Trump has nominated, a remarkable group, are up to blathering platitudes while cleverly cutting Leftist throats.

  21. Sergey Says:

    Revolution which brought us Trump is not purely political. More important, it signifies the death of Leftist ideology in USA and worldwide. Such things are irreversible and have long lasting consequencies. The only reason Trump, a rather weak candidate, won, is the total collapse of Democrats and their inability to put forvard any new ideas and leaders. They look now as Soviet Politbureau of Brezhnew era – mostly septagenarians with a very short bench of possible candidates for future leadership, also of very advanced age.

  22. huxley Says:

    It’s awfully hard to kill off the left.

    Remember how golden Obama looked in 2008 when he had won the presidency with a real mandate and had Congress, the MSM, academia, Hollywood at his back. That was some real shock and awe.

    And now, eight years later, the Democrats are laid low. Don’t think that can’t happen to Trump and the Republicans.

  23. huxley Says:

    Relentless obstruction could easily be a trap, too. “My worry is that we lose focus. I don’t know what outrage to focus on a daily basis, and I worry that our caucus is going to pick way too many things to communicate, way too many things to display outrage about,” Murphy says, “and in the end, nothing will end up translating.”

    The above quote from Dovere is the current Democrat trajectory. Which is good news for Trump and the right.

  24. Bob from Virginia Says:

    As usual I’m the mourner at the wedding (maybe that is why my social life is similar to Robinson Crusoe’s). The left did very well in this election considering. They ran an incredibly corrupt candidate with the depth of a neutrino against someone no one could stand and lost there three fortress states by less than 1% while winning the popular vote by several percent. Their defeat is more of a mathematical curiosity than an ideological revolution.
    In short, too soon to celebrate.

  25. neo-neocon Says:

    Bob from Virginia:

    Very true.

    That’s why what really matters is what Trump and the GOP now actually do.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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