Democrats in the Twilight of the Obama Era

Check out this story from the Associated Press looking at the diverging political successes of President Obama and down ballot congressional and state Democrats. This is the dynamic of the past eight years that Democrats are trying to reverse, starting with the election of the next Democratic National Committee chair in February, followed by a series of congressional special elections and state legislative and gubernatorial races later on in 2017.

Ilyse Hogue: Democrats Need “Equally Strong Leadership Outside the Party Structure”

NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue officially announced her decision not to run for Democratic National Committee chair, and concluded that she’d be better off working in conjunction with the Democratic Party from the outside: “With so much on the line, I believe we need not just a strong party and party leader, but also equally strong leadership outside the party structure.” She also added, “We’ll look to a new DNC Chair to rebuild the concert hall, we will need lots of leadership from outside the party to help write and perform the music.”

 

 

No Sign of Buyers’ Remorse Among Trump Voters in Post-Election Poll

Pew Research Center published the results of a post-election/end of the year poll earlier this week. This particular statistic surprised me:

The headline: More Clinton voters regret their vote than Trump voters, though not as many as Johnson voters.  I’m sure those numbers would be different if Clinton had won and Trump had lost. Beyond this, another statistic:

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The entire findings of the poll are well worth reading. These nonvoter figures are fascinating and disturbing for both parties as they regroup in the wake of the election and try to figure out how they can get these nonvoters to turn out for their candidates in future elections.

Also, these figures on how partisans from both left and right view the two major parties:

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All images/graphs from Pew Research Center.

Four Governors Endorse Perez for DNC Chair

Tom Perez’s campaign for Democratic National Committee chairman announced four big gets today: governors John Hickenlooper (Colorado), John Bel Edwards (Louisiana), Gina Raimondo (Rhode Island) and Terry McAuliffe (Virginia).

CNN’s Marshall Cohen points out the significance of the endorsements:

Some context: Two of those states (Colorado and Virginia) are considered swing states but have been Democratic success stories over the course of the past decade in statewide and presidential elections. Rhode Island is in reliably Democratic New England. Louisiana – which has elected statewide Democrats in the past but has turned more Republican in recent years – is probably the most surprising endorsement of the bunch. Democrat Foster Campbell just lost the run-off race for the Louisiana Senate seat a few weeks ago.

 

Harry Reid Blasts Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Calls DNC “Worthless”

Outgoing Senate minority leader Harry Reid didn’t hold anything back in this interview with Nevada Public Radio:

Caller Jack wanted to know about the Democratic Party’s chances in 2018:

I believe one of the failures of Democratic Party has been the Democratic National Committee, the DNC, has been worthless. They do nothing to help state parties. That should be the main goal they have. I developed everything in Nevada on my own. Their help was relatively meaningless.

So, I would hope that they would choose a chair of the Democratic Party who is a full-time person. Not someone like we had with that congresswoman from Florida, who was a full-time congresswoman and a part time chair of the DNC.

We need a full time DNC chair and what they should do – they can take my model if they want – it’s not rocket science. It doesn’t take a lot of brain power to figure out what needs to be done. They should take a few states every election cycle, maybe three maybe four, and help them develop the infrastructure for good state party organization.

Nevada was one of the few bright spots for Democrats on Election Day. State Democrats ran the table and won the presidential race, the Senate race, two House of Representatives races, and retook control of both chambers in the state legislature, which they had lost in 2014.

Democrats Made Gains in Kansas Legislature

The New York Times has an interesting story about Kansas Democrats and moderate Republicans making gains in the state legislature during the last election, in a state which Donald Trump won by 20 points:

It is interesting to see how voters responded to one-party rule in state government in one of the reddest states in the country that has not voted for a Democratic president since 1964. The question Democrats will probably be asking themselves in the weeks and months ahead is what – if anything – can they learn from what happened in Kansas and if they can capitalize on that in future statewide and congressional races.

Sally Boynton Brown: “We Don’t Have the Next Two Years to Rebuild Our Party”

Idaho Reports recently did a lengthy interview segment with DNC chair candidate Sally Boynton Brown. The whole thing is worth watching, but here are a few key quotes:

  • “One of the things I think is really important is that we walk out of this election raising up women’s voices. We almost broke the glass ceiling, which was really exciting for a lot of us in this country. The last thing that we need to do is go backwards. As I was watching the race shape up and I was seeing man after man after man announce, I thought it was really important that we had a woman’s voice.”
  • “I think this is a great opportunity for our party to take advantage of creating a 21st century organization that is poised to attract a lot of new members. One thing that I really would like to see is having a conversation about the 50 percent of the folks who chose to stay home and not vote, and asking ourselves, ‘Why? Why was it a better option to stay home?'”
  • “Time is of the essence. We don’t have the next two years to rebuild our party. We need to be preparing for 2018 now. We need to be looking at 2020, but we also need to be looking at 2040.”

I should also point out that the hosts asked her thoughtful, substantive questions about her experience and the potential issues she might have to deal with as DNC chair, which Boynton Brown responded accordingly.  The fact that they had 18 minutes to record a segment intended for online viewing probably had a great deal to do with it, as opposed to the usual 4-6 minutes you might get during a regular live TV hit. You rarely see an interview with this much substance and depth on the usual talking head political pundit shows, so kudos to the on-air talent and production staff at Idaho Reports for a job well done.

NARAL President Won’t Run for DNC Chair

NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue has decided not to run for DNC chair, according to a scoop from Politico, which obtained the email she sent out to DNC members this morning informing them of her decision:

“I wanted to formally write and tell you I will not be seeking election for DNC Chair. I so deeply appreciate those of you who have spent time with me discussing this prospect and explained to me what you are looking for in a leader and I so deeply appreciate your willingness to serve our party at this critical moment,” Hogue wrote in the email, obtained by POLITICO. “I am happy that the field of candidates reflects so many capable people and different perspectives within the party and I look forward to continuing to work alongside all of you to make our party and our values grow strength in the coming years.”

The story also notes that Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is also considering a run for DNC chair.