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Democratic Aspirations Are Headed For The Ash Heap

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Democratic Aspirations Are Headed For The Ash Heap

Democratic ash heap

Most political analysts and pundits — myself included — spent the election season predicting the death of the Republican Party, which was embroiled in civil war. We were right: The GOP, at least the GOP of Ronald Reagan and the George Bushes, is dead.

The party in power calls itself Republican, but it is really the party of Donald Trump. We are about to find out what that means.

Still — along with dismissing the plausibility of a President Trump — the commentariat missed an equally important development that is now startlingly obvious: The Democratic Party is bleeding out and near death, too. It may not be terminal, but it is certainly comatose. It may recover, but even if it does, its health will be fragile for years, if not decades, to come.

As a few recounts around the country continue, it’s clear that Republican governors and state legislative candidates have romped to victory in most races. The GOP (or the party of Trump) now controls the vast majority of governorships and legislatures. Brooklyn College history professor Robert David Johnson told The Washington Post that a political party has not been so dominant since the World War II era.

That’s after taking into account the smoldering heap of Democratic aspirations left behind at the federal level. Republicans now control the White House, both branches of Congress and, shortly, the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only is there a vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia, but there are two justices over the age of 80 (liberal Ruth Bader Ginsberg and moderate Anthony Kennedy) and one who is 78 (liberal Stephen Breyer).

That means that Trump could conceivably pick four justices with no resistance from a GOP-controlled Senate. If he chooses conservative justices who are, say, in their 50s, the nation’s governing document will be interpreted by a right-wing faction for more than a generation.

That means that President Obama, whom Democrats once believed would be transformational, will have no legacy beyond serving two terms as the nation’s first black president. Every major policy or program he put in place is about to be overturned. His executive orders on issues such as deportation will be easiest to reverse, of course.

But a President Trump will also find few obstacles on his way to repealing the Affordable Care Act. Or rolling back Obama’s agreement with Iran limiting its nuclear program. Or reversing the president’s seemingly historic treaty to curb climate change. The Donald has pledged to rescind all these, and there is no reason to doubt him. Republican leaders already had those legacy-making accomplishments in their gun-sights.

Looking back, the signs of a Democratic Party skating toward disaster have been apparent for some time. Since Obama’s first term, news accounts have recorded the decline of state Democratic organizations around the country, a dangerous frailty that became more apparent after the 2010 midterm elections.

The backlash against President Obama was already in full roar, and furious Tea Partiers and their GOP establishment allies turned out at the ballot box in droves. The highly vaunted Obama coalition, by contrast, apparently didn’t understand the importance of those elections, and Republicans took over statehouses, Congress and the U.S. Senate. But because the White House was still in Democratic hands, it was easier to overlook the vulnerabilities lurking just beneath the level of the Oval Office.

Now, there is nothing to stop a rollback of the personal liberties and human rights that Americans had begun to take for granted. Vice President-elect Pence, a Christian fundamentalist, will surely want abortion rights abolished and the full array of gay and lesbian rights curbed. Gay marriage? There is every reason to expect right-wingers will try to get a new Supreme Court to overturn its historic marriage ruling.

Perhaps, though, those rollbacks in personal and civil liberties would seed a rebirth of the progressive movement and the political party that has, for decades now, been associated with it: the Democratic Party. It’s a shame that the nation will first have to suffer through some oppressive times to get there.

Cynthia Tucker won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007. She can be reached at cynthia@cynthiatucker.com.

IMAGE: Campaign Chairman John Podesta  hugs Tina Flournoy, chief of staff to former U.S. President Bill Clinton, as they attend an event being held by Hillary Clinton to address her staff and supporters about the results of the U.S. election at a hotel in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Cynthia Tucker Haynes

Cynthia Tucker Haynes, a veteran newspaper journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, is a Visiting Professor of Journalism and Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Georgia. She is also a highly-regarded commentator on TV and radio news shows.

Haynes was editorial page editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper for 17 years, where she led the development of opinion policy. More recently, she was that newspaper’s Washington-based political columnist. She maintains a syndicated column through Universal Press Syndicate, which is published in dozens of newspapers around the country. Besides winning the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007, Haynes has also received numerous other awards, including Journalist of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists.

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  1. Lynda Groom November 11, 2016

    Indeed it seems that the nation has had enough of that freedom and equality thing. Trump will make everything great…just trust him, Ryan, McConnell, Rudy G and the rest to take care of everyone.

    1. AgLander November 11, 2016

      Equality? I guess you’re talking about how the Democrats have created equal misery for all? You must be a real tool.

      1. Lynda Groom November 12, 2016

        No, I’m talking about equality under the law as outlined in our founding documents. You should read them some time.

        1. AgLander November 12, 2016

          I have. That’s why I want nothing to do with the Democrat party which has proven to be the biggest threat to those rights. It’s now a party controlled by extreme left wing, radical ideologues out to slice off huge chunks of the Constitution. Thank God they didn’t get control of the next several Supreme Court picks or you could have said goodbye to equality under the law…..but perhaps you are one of those extreme ideologues I just mentioned and that was your goal?

          1. Lynda Groom November 12, 2016

            Would you like to explain just what ‘huge chunks of the Constitution’ that the ideologes of the Democratic Party wish to slice off? The same odd remark could, and actually has been said of the Trump campaign. Also can you pontificate further on just who represents the ‘extreme left wing?’

  2. browninghipower November 11, 2016

    Sigh…I’ve witnessed the arrogance and elitism of the Dems since 2000. I’ve witnessed first hand the willful ignorance and blindness and indifference to Liberals and Blue Collar workers since then as well. I’ve witnessed the active distaste toward Unions and the traditional base as the New Dems and Blue Dogs began their groveling at the feet of Wall Street and Corporations in the guise of Third Way types and the DLC. And I’ve called them on it and when I tried like hell to work from the inside I was tossed out at both the state level and then banned at the national level. So it goes. I hope to try again, but I doubt the DC Dems will get the message. We’ll see. It may start with the choice of a new DNC chair.

  3. akindependent November 11, 2016

    You can lay down and whimper. Everyone I know is doubling down on the fight.

  4. AgLander November 11, 2016

    As of right now, if the Democrat party isn’t dead, it is surely on life support. The reason? It has evolved rather quickly over recent years to the party of representing the social and economic elites who are content to live in their little bubble of affluence except for a short period of time around election time when they blanket the nation with demagogue laced messages of division, fear and false promises of “goodies” aimed at the lower income demographic groups in order to win their votes…..and after the election, they do noting but return to their bubble of affluence until they need votes again and the cycle repeats. It had worked fairly well for years, but guess what
    happened? The Democrats had grown fat and lazy and took their previous control of specific demographic groups for granted. And they got it “handed to them” on November 8th when in a shocking flip of the electoral map, working Americans said “enough is enough” and flattened Democrat candidates across the nation in state races and of course the national race. PRESIDENT elect Donald Trump is the man responsible for leading the Republican party in this brilliantly conceived campaign of exposing the Democrats for what they are. Republicans are now clearly identified as representing that huge, broad section of America occupied by hard working, God fearing family men and women who just want to raise their families unimpeded by an increasingly intrusive federal government. And they are absolutely terrified of their chance to lead the lives the want due to the actions of the Democrat party in destroying the quality of life for all, socially, economically and safety wise. Look at the map after Tuesday’s results….it’s a solid sea of red. The Democrats have now taken on the role of home intruders and Americans don’t like it!

  5. evans.blanca November 11, 2016

    It’s been 1 year since I decided to leave my old job and I never felt this good… I started working on-line, for a company I discovered over internet, several hrs daily, and I make much more than i did on my last job… Pay-check i got for last month was for 9000 bucks… Amazing thing about this is that now i have more time for my family… http://korta.nu/MDe

  6. Aaron_of_Portsmouth November 12, 2016

    So much for the illusion of balance of power. The concept of a partisan-political system of governance buttressed by a firm belief in an adversarial methodology is no longer viable, and wasn’t so since Baha’u’llah bequeathed to humanity a method of decision-making called “The Baha’i Administrative Order”. I’ve restrained myself from saying too much about this, but in light of current events and the resurrection of old prejudices in the internet era and the increase in materialism, it behooves us all to objectively and dispassionately investigate the Message of Baha’u’llah, starting from scratch at
    http://www.bahai.org. This and contact and engagement with Baha’is in nearby communities, both in America and across the globe where Baha’is have favorable circumstances for conversations about Baha’u’llah’s Message will provide insights into America’s current dilemma, and the challenges facing communities across the planet.

    Trump’s victory via an ancient artifice called the electoral college despite a majority of the popular vote, and his incendiary rhetoric throughout the campaign, will not assure us of a unity except in the minds of those already prepped and aligned with his bizarre and egotistical vision of how to do things—a vision shared by most in the GOP, and which can’t be reconciled with opposing views on the Left, thus making for an unstable country positioned for more fracturing. Not exactly a recipe for greatness.

    1. AgLander November 12, 2016

      Street corner preacher, tips accepted.

      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth November 12, 2016

        Agatha, you’re still squirting the urine of discontent. You won’t attract a companion that way. Try a different method.
        No tips are necessary—instead, why don’t you use them to assist your fellow human beings rather than wasting your money and time on your own carnal pleasures.

    2. dbtheonly November 12, 2016

      First off, I share your belief that a religious revival would be good for the ccountry. We have come way too far away from the Lord who commanded us to love one another.

      States and the electoral college are at the root of the country. States even predating the country itself. Yes, the college and the Senate give overweight to the less populous States. Argue with Jemmy Madison if you will.

      I am reminded of the 1940s song, “What a difference a day makes.” A week ago the articles were on the death of the Republican Party. Now it’s the death of the Democrats.

      But nothing’s really changed. So while I was urging everyone to not get cocky, now is no time to stick your head in an oven.

      The Republican Party remains inherently unstable. Trump’s penchant for vengeance is not going to help. Imagine a “bridgegate” on a national level.

      Radical Republicans do live in their own Foxworld bubble. They have overreached every time so far.

      Their policies are deeply flawed and unpopular. How long will it take for the Lamestream Media to pick up on the stories of those who lose their Obamacare insurance? How long before the Hospital Corporations fight back against having the costs of the uninsured dumped on them?

      Will privatizeing Social Security or Medicare be any more popular this time around?

      How much money will be wasted on, yet another, Benghazi/email investigation before it becomes grist for attack ads. I’ve got them written, ready for filming.

    3. Box November 12, 2016

      I have nothing against Bahais, they are a peaceful lot who have been very helpful to people I have known along the way.

      You are forgetting something thats been said time and again by people who actually know Trump. The “incendiary rhetoric” has a fake element. It was done to cut campaign costs because that rhetoric helped get headlines that money couldnt buy. Isnt anyone curious how he won with what, $150 million spent, and not a cent from the Republican party, while Obama spent what, $600 million and it was predicted that this election would cost $800 million? The people that know him say it will all calm down when he is in.

      But that is very far beside the point. The one and only point is this event marks a shift and rejection of liberalism. I dont know where a liberal movement goes from here and that includes communism and globalism. There was a time i could call myself a liberal but it was hijacked and moved to another place very foreign to me. Im old school liberal, not anything like what is supposed to define it now. I come from it but now its insane and wrong. I wasnt the only one wondering, read this very good article about it.


      But one thing. Since you mention Bahais, if you want to discuss ideals of different sides, im in. But stop torturing and maiming with words for what appears to be its own sake. Its not godly and that goes for everyone.

      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth November 12, 2016

        Well then, why not start with yourself for a change. Why not vie with me in projecting something positive and different in perspective than burdening us with your pessimism and downcast perception of the world, which is your method of pontification.

        1. Jon November 12, 2016

          I am concerned about taking Box out of his darkness and gloom and exposing him to the light. I don’t know if his eyes could adjust to a bright world that didn’t have Red Flag News in it.

  7. woodrose November 12, 2016

    Yes, the Democrats lost, big time. The DNC played things too clever by half, and the American people will pay a heavy price.

    Why am I not seeing heads rolling at the DNC? Will there be no accountability for selecting a fatally flawed candidate that couldn’t even beat a reality TV carnival barker?

    I personally know people who voted for Hillary in the primary, because they believed Democratic leaders who said she was the strongest choice to beat Trump. They were misled by their leaders, and there need to be some consequences for this abject failure.

    Every single leader in the DNC must resign. Every single political consultant who recommended a Senator or Congressmember endorse Hillary before any votes had been cast needs to be fired and run out of town.

    They ALL behaved as if they had never heard of Occupy Wall Street. How could they possibly think young people would turn out enthusiastically for a woman who gave $225,000 speeches to Goldman Sachs?

    How could Democratic leaders possibly believe that Rust Belt working class voters would elect Mrs. NAFTA? These workers had to pack up their machines to ship them (and their jobs) to Mexico! And now they are working poor, surrounded by empty factories where people could once make a living wage.

    Democrats are now zero for two in electing a nominee who had voted to authorize the Iraq War. (Kerry, Clinton) The list of possible nominees for next time must exclude everyone who voted to authorize that travesty, if Democrats want to have any chance for victory. All consultants or Democratic politicians who don’t understand this need to be removed from any party leadership position.


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