Final Election Post-Mortems: The Democratic Party is in Trouble

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Hillary Clinton could not lose this presidential election. She was experienced. She understands policy. She was running against Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton was going to win. She was going to be the president of the United States.

Hillary Clinton lost the election. Her political career is most likely over. And in losing the unlosable election, cracks in the Democratic Party were revealed. As many political commentators and pundits anticipated a republican Party civil war following a Donald Trump defeat, that criticism has now shifted to the Democrats. Where does the Democratic Party go from here? Via The New York Times:

“Many thought this election would leave the Republican Party reeling and divided. Instead, with Mrs. Clinton’s loss, it was the Democrats who found themselves bereft of high-profile leaders, relegated to the sidelines of power in Washington and bracing for arguments over their party’s philosophy and mission.

“Their long decline in statehouses, after big losses in 2010 and 2014, continued, as Democrats lost their last toehold in the South: Republicans captured control of the Kentucky House of Representatives…

“As much as anything, Mrs. Clinton’s defeat laid bare the Democratic Party’s thin bench as it heads into at least two years in the minority in Congress.

“Her primary rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, is 75; Mr. Biden is 73; and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who declined to run for president with Mrs. Clinton in the race, is 67. A win by Mrs. Clinton would have applied a thin coat of paint to conceal the party’s fundamental weaknesses, perhaps allowing younger leaders like California’s newly elected senator, Kamala Harris, time to develop into national figures.

‘”We don’t know who will emerge as a leader,”‘ said Matt Bennett, the president of Third Way, a centrist Democratic organization. ‘”Chuck Schumer will probably emerge as a congressional leader. Nationally, it’s going to take some time for a leader to emerge”…

And the leadership in this election year was deeply flawed.

“Democrats said that Mrs. Clinton’s flaws were well known and that her defeat should not have come as a surprise.

“Representative Debbie Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, said she told former President Bill Clinton during a visit to an African-American church in Detroit last week that Mrs. Clinton was in trouble in the state, which Democrats had thought was locked down.

“Tad Devine, a senior adviser to Mr. Sanders, said Mrs. Clinton’s shortcomings had become apparent in the primary race as she struggled with Mr. Sanders in states like Michigan and Wisconsin, which she lost.

‘”The conventional political wisdom of insider Washington thought it knew better than the voters who still get to decide elections in America,” he said. “And it paved the way for a nominee who failed to do the one thing that a winning candidate must do — make their campaign about the future”…

“Her weaknesses as a candidate were on display when she ran for senator from New York in 2000 and for president in 2008 against Mr. Obama.

“She is not a particularly strong public presence. She and her husband have endured a run of investigations. Her campaigns have historically struggled to define a message, which was particularly glaring as Mr. Trump traveled the nation, vowing to “Make America Great Again.” And her history of centrist positions on issues like trade and foreign policy became increasingly problematic as the party drifted to the left.

“Still, the Democratic presidential field was largely cleared for Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy almost from the moment she left the State Department in early 2013. Prominent Democrats who considered running — including senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota — held back, awaiting Mrs. Clinton’s final decision. The only Democrat who ran against her was Martin O’Malley, the outgoing governor of Maryland.

“Bill Richardson, the Democratic former governor of New Mexico, said Tuesday’s vote was more than anything a “pro-Trump, anti-establishment punch.” But he said Democrats had their work cut out for them as they tried to rebuild.”

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