Q&A Friday #33: The Democrats’ Problem

by John Hawkins | February 10, 2006 4:17 pm

Question: “Is there any one underlying reason that the Democrats are in a Kamikaze death spiral into irrelevance?” — n_obrain

Answer: Here’s their problem in a nutshell:

Liberals are much farther from the American mainstream than conservatives are. In fact, if the left ran on the sort of liberal agenda that people like Kos, Moore, Sheehan, and Kennedy actually believe in, it would utterly destroy the party everywhere except the biggest liberal enclaves in the country.

However, because this wing of the Democratic Party supplies so much money, energy, and campaign workers to the Democratic Party, the more middle-of-the-road Democrats just can’t afford to ignore or better yet repudiate this wing of the Democratic Party.

So Democrats who don’t live in liberal districts or states get trapped in political hell. They need to appeal to the middle-to-win, but that tends to aggravate the lefties. They also need to appeal to the lefties, but that aggravates the middle.

That’s why Democrats, both liberal and moderate, so often end up running these mushy campaigns where they spend a lot of time slamming Republicans, but are extremely fuzzy about where they stand on anything. That’s the only way they feel like they can thread the needle between the yowling liberals and the Americans in the middle they need to win.

This is a big problem and unfortunately for the Democrats, the only cure for it long-term is to continue to lose elections. That’s because eventually, if they lose enough, it may convince enough Democrats in the middle and on the left that they need to make a big change.

However, the Democratic Party has been going downhill since George McGovern revolutionized the Party in 1972 and yet, they still haven’t gotten the message yet. So, who knows how long this will take.

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