Democrats Scramble to Explain Midterm Losses
America delivered a harsh rebuke of the Democratic Party last Tuesday, giving control of the Senate and a larger House majority to the Republicans. Now, in the wake of a disastrous election, Democrats are planning an extensive review of their losses. Led by DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the party wants to find out why they win presidential contests only to lose Congress two years later.
Analysts have pointed out that midterm voters tend to be “whiter and wealthier” than those in the presidential election years. There is roughly a 20% drop in voter participation, and Democrats believe it is in that 20% that their constituency lies. The question they must solve is why their voters choose to stay home in between presidential elections.
“Our party has a problem,” Wasserman Shultz said, announcing the planned review. “We know we’re right on the issues. The American people believe in the causes we’re fighting for. But the electoral success we have when our presidential nominee is able to make a case to the country as a whole doesn’t translate in other elections. That’s why we lost in 2010, and it’s why we lost on Tuesday.”
Sadly for Democrats, Wasserman Shultz seems unwilling to concede that maybe it isn’t just turnout that’s hurting the party. With her arrogant assumption that they are “right on the issues,” she may just doom the Democrats to more than just midterm losses. After all, they have a presidential winning streak of exactly two elections. That’s not exactly a record you can hang your hat on. Will the Democrats be able to mobilize millions of minorities when Barack Obama isn’t sitting on top of the ballot? Is Hillary Clinton going to prove as irresistible to women as Obama was to blacks?
If the Democrats had intelligent leadership, they might be willing to go a little deeper than campaign strategy. They might take a look at polls that show Americans do not necessarily “believe in the causes” they’re fighting for. When it comes to immigration, the economy, Obamacare, and the general state of the country under Democrat rule, a large percentage of the population hates what they stand for. That Wasserman Shultz thinks the answer lies in gimmicks like “digital operations” to get out the vote proves that Democrats are vulnerable in 2016.
In defining the major problem for her party, Wasserman Shultz said, “It’s apparent that there are increasingly two separate electorates: a midterm electorate and a presidential electorate. We win one and we don’t seem to be able to win the other. That is a fundamental dynamic that we have to change.” Hopefully, in 2016, Republicans can help the Democrats do just that.