(Rich Galen, Mullings) – Remember the Democrats? They were going to inhabit the White House, control the U.S. Senate, close the gap to an angstrom in the U.S. House, win a ton of Governors’ races chase the Republican right off the North American continent.
For starters, those very same Democrats lost the White House … OK, I’m not going to repeat that list, you know what happened. For seconds, they have been without a permanent chair since Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned in disgrace last July 28.
And, when I write “resigned in disgrace” I mean she was quite literally marched out of the Democratic National Convention after the Russians leaked the results of their having hacked the DNC’s servers with evidence Wasserman Schultz and Rodham Clinton were in cahoots to make sure no one named “Sanders” would be the nominee in 2016.
It has been nearly seven months since the Democrats have had a permanent chairman. They are going to try and correct that this week when they meet in Atlanta at the 2017 Winter Meeting.
I have enough trouble trying to keep track of Republicans, so I won’t even attempt to try to pretend I know who will emerge as the winner. But, I know enough about politics generally to know that 2018 may be one of those very rare mid-term elections when the party of the President actually picks up seats in the House and/or the Senate.
In spite of President Donald Trump and his band of merry men and (I think this is correct) one woman trying their darndest to keep the focus on their own missteps, mistakes, and misstatements, Democrats have been able to do little to establish forward momentum.
But, the electoral tock is ticking. [Yes, I wrote that on purpose.]
The mid-term elections will occur on November 6, 2018. Whoever the new chair of the DNC is, will take a good month to get up and running, then several more months wash the vodka out of the servers, and then even more months to get a national operation up and running.
I can hear the 17 Democrats who read Mullings crying out in anguish that all of that is being done while waiting for a chairman.
Yeah, well, what will happen is the incoming chair will want to show that he or she is the new Reeve in town and will want to show the Committee Members that he/she is brimming over with great ideas and will need a little while to install the new, can’t-fail systems.
Let’s ignore, for the moment that of the 34 Senate seats up (including the Alabama special for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ seat) 25 are currently held by Democrats. Unlike House seats which are relatively easy to hang onto; we speak in terms of “defending” U.S. Senate seats.
But, we were going to ignore that.
Of greater import, it seems to me, is that the national Democratic Party is up for grabs. There are the Congressional Democrats who, on both sides of the Capitol, think that if Joseph Stalin had just been given a little more time, his social and economic theories would have been validated.
There are the traditional Democrats largely made up of people who live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, near the ZIP code of a movie studio, or within sight of the Golden Gate Bridge.
There are the younger voters who think the traditional Ds are a bunch of old fools (see: Nancy Pelosi – age 76 and Chuck Schumer – age 66). Then there is the Bernie Sanders (age 75) wing and the Elizabeth Warren (age 67; a year OLDER than Chuck Schumer) wing.
These are not the same wing. Think, turkey parts.
Other than the Teachers’ Union which got thumped in the fight to stop Betsy DeVos from being confirmed, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), many private-sector union members are Trump supporters, so they may not be available to the new DNC chair for money, as door-to-door workers or, as the Clinton campaign discovered, as voters.
I can tell you from painful history that when one party loses – especially when it thought it was going to win – the cry goes up that the leaders weren’t pure enough to the ideology and will force the party toward the appropriate edge of the political continuum.
Three times in modern political history – 1934, 1998 and 2002 – have the mid-term elections not resulted in the President’s party losing seats in at least one Chamber.
Whoever becomes the Chair of the DNC, his or her only job to make certain 2018 is not the fourth.
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at Mullings.