Before Election Day the Democratic Party was riding high. Hillary Clinton looked like a safe bet to become the next president; odds of winning the majority in the Senate looked solid, and the vacancy on the Supreme Court seemed sure to be a liberal. But, all that came crashing down on Election day and now the Democratic Party is in shambles and full of recrimination.
Republicans control majority of states
Donald Trump’s surprise win was as much a repudiation of the Democratic Party as it was about supporting Mr. Trump. Lost in the news of the national results were the state-level results that reaffirmed the dominant Republican control over much of the country. There are 34 GOP governors compared to just 16 Democrats. Republicans control 68 of the various state legislative chambers, the Democrats just 30. Fully one-third of 193 House seats occupied by Democrats are from just three states (New York, California, and Massachusetts.)
Leaked emails sink last two chairs of DNC
The head of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign last August as leaked emails showed her favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the primaries. Her replacement as the interim chair of the DNC was Donna Brazile. However, Ms. Brazile also ran into email problems when WikiLeaks leaked emails from Brazile to the Clinton campaign informing them of CNN debate questions before the debates.
Democrats need new blood
The Democratic Party needs a young and dynamic leader but is faced with an empty and aging bench that is reluctant to give up power. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Elisabeth Warren will all be in their 70’s when 2020 rolls around. Just as the Republican Party was hijacked by the Tea Party wing a few years back, Democrats have been taken over by the progressive wing. The 2016 election was an indicator that the majority of the country is rejecting extreme liberal policies, just as it dismissed the extreme Tea Party views.
Bernie Sanders called Hillary Clinton’s defeat “a humiliation for the Democratic Party.” Indeed, it was, but it’s not clear that Sen. Sanders would have fared all that much better against Mr. Trump.
Progressive vs. centrist
The choice for the Democratic Party is whether to continue on its path of becoming increasingly progressive or revert to the more centrist roots of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Bernie Sanders, who is advocating for Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) to take over as head of the DNC, clearly believes that the Democrats need to double down. Mr. Ellison is a young, black and Muslim progressive Democrat who would appeal to the millennial base. Another face from the past who tossed his hat into the ring was former Vermont governor Howard Dean.
Future is in Trump’s hands
The immediate future of the Democratic Party is in the hands of Donald Trump. If Trump stumbles as President, the country will have a case of buyer’s remorse and look to the Democrats for a solution. But, if Trump succeeds, then it will be eight long years for the Democrats to find some new blood and some new ideas to present to the American voter in 2024.