With no emerging leaders, no clear message, Democrats flounder
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In the aftermath of November’s election, Democrats are in the worst shape they’ve been in almost a century on the local, state, and federal level. The Democratic Party, which has lost over 900 seats total since the 2008 election, is dealing with an identity crisis. The party does not have a clear message nor does it have strong, emerging faces to represent it.

One doesn’t have to look much farther than a map of county results of the last presidential election to understand why this has happened. Democratic voters have, in a sense, self-polarized over the last 25 years, setting up left-wing enclaves around major metropolitan cities. It shows. Except for the thin areas around the coasts, Democrats have abandoned nearly every municipality from medium cities all the way down.

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Stop in any small town in any state and the picture is usually the same: local government, Elk’s Clubs, VFWs, and PTAs dominated by conservatives. Not all of these people vote Republican, but they adhere to a traditionalist view of the United States. They may have pulled the lever for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders, Warren meet ahead of potential 2020 bids Hillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber Comey’s remarks about Trump dossier are not credible, says former FBI official MORE, but still see their Normal Rockwell-esque view of country life under threat.

 

So where do the Democrats go from here?

Following Obama’s 2008 election, the media peddled a narrative that there was no strong leadership in the Republican Party. Now the shoe is on the other foot. No one will admit it in the aftermath of the sweeping victories that year, but the Democratic bench was thin in 2008. So thin, in fact, that it chose a backbencher with no resume for its nomination. It’s even worse now.

It’s so much worse that even former Speaker of the House and current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi can’t tell you who the leader of the party is. It was clear last year that Hillary Clinton didn't seal the deal with the progressive and corporatist wings of the Democratic Party. In her own inauthentic way, she tried to win them both over — and got neither.

In particular, supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersJoaquin Castro says brother Julián is running for president in 2020 Sanders, Warren meet ahead of potential 2020 bids Senate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump MORE will not abide any centrist steps for the party. Running as an openly avowed Socialist, Sanders changed the paradigm. His supporters have been out for blood since they learned that the DNC unfairly “rigged” the primaries in Clinton’s favor, and waged a costly fratricide over the choice of the new DNC Chair. Vox, the mouthpiece of the Beltway bubble, said the fight happened when “Democrats need it least.” Some even left the party for the Democratic Socialist Party; its membership recently tripled.

The GOP has its divisions, to be sure. However, they are relatively unified on the larger points. Democrats have been forced to call up the reserves, leaving has-beens such as Nancy Pelosi and not-quite-ready for primetime Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerA missed opportunity for Democrats in the border wall showdown We have the funds we need to secure the border Anti-wall is not a border policy: How Democrats can sell an immigration plan MORE as the party faces. There's no credible leader to bridge the gap between the progressives and the left-leaning centrists.

Making it worse is that the Democrats so mishandled and neglected elections outside of California that they have no farm team. The national Democrats are out of prospects. It's obvious. With few exceptions (Cory Booker and Julian Castro are the only two who come to mind), the leading Democrats have several things in common: they are white and old. How old? In the House, they are an average of 64 years old, over a decade more than Republicans.

The Republicans put up 17 presidential candidates last year, including two Latinos, a female CEO, and a famous black neurosurgeon. The Democrats? That might be better left unsaid.

Democrats hoped Trump at the top of the ticket would have the ‘trickle down’ effect of destroying GOP candidates at every level. But Trump’s overwhelming rural support ensured the opposite actually happened.

The Democratic Party can only ignore these demographic time bombs for so long. In most cases, state legislatures redistrict Congressional seats. It already looks like a bad deal for Democrats, and their recent losses will make it all the worse. The party is also looking at steep defeats at every level in 2018, almost regardless of Trump’s job performance.

During President Obama's terms, the Republicans chose young, diverse, qualified leaders to rebut his statements. Several examples included Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, of Indian descent, and Florida Senator Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump Senators offer measure naming Saudi crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi slaying Meet Maduro, Venezuela's copycat dictator MORE, of Cuban descent.

But the response to President Trump's joint session of Congress speech in February? Elderly, white, former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, who actually called himself a Republican within the first thirty seconds of his rambling yarn.

The rest of the Democratic bench are elderly scolds. Who doesn't want to listen to Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJoaquin Castro says brother Julián is running for president in 2020 Sanders, Warren meet ahead of potential 2020 bids Senate Dems urge Trump to continue nuclear arms control negotiations after treaty suspension MORE talk about the 1 percent, while ignoring her own wealth and resume lies? Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenJoaquin Castro says brother Julián is running for president in 2020 Biden, Kamala Harris pose for photo together amid 2020 speculation O’Rourke rockets to second place on CNN analysts' 2020 Dem rankings, Harris remains first MORE? He should probably stick to aligning himself more to the Onion and meme parodies of himself (seriously, the BuzzFeedification of an incompetent vice president?).

The Republicans, on the other hand have the under-50 crowd cornered. Marco Rubio, Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO’Rourke rockets to second place on CNN analysts' 2020 Dem rankings, Harris remains first Senators prepare for possibility of Christmas in Washington during a shutdown Biden to discuss 2020 bid with family over holidays: report MORE, Joni Ernst, Nikki Haley, Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Flake asks Daily Show where he can get a blanket emblazoned with his 'meaningless tweets' McCaskill: 'Too many embarrassing uncles' in the Senate MORE, and others represent the future of the party: more dynamic and diverse through skill, not for its own sake.

Kristin Tate is a conservative columnist and author of the book "Government Gone Wild: How D.C. Politicians Are Taking You For a Ride And What You Can Do About It." She was recently named one of NewsMax's "30 Most Influential Republicans Under 30."


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