We’ve heard it a million times – the Republican Party is in crisis. Then a funny thing happened on the way to the Inaugural Ball. The most qualified candidate in U.S. history lost to a political outsider. But it goes deeper than that. In the eight years of Mr. Obama’s presidency, the Democratic Party has lost 11 U.S. Senate seats, 60 seats in the U.S. House, 14 Governorships, and 900 state legislative seats. So which party is in crisis now?
Undoubtedly, one contributor to the 2016 election surprise was the last-minute announcement that Obamacare was forcing double-digit premium increases. But then again, the law has never been popular.
President Obama is the mirror image of President-elect Donald Trump. Mr. Obama remains personally popular, while his policies are not. Trump, on the other hand, was seen as “scary” by 58 percent of those who voted, according to an ABC election day poll, though he won an Electoral College landslide victory.
It didn’t help that the Democrats nominated their most unpopular candidate since George McGovern. Clinton never provided a compelling message or reason to be president. It turned out “I’m not Trump” wasn’t a visionary enough position to win the hearts of American voters.
One county says it all. In the Democratic stronghold of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Clinton garnered almost 44,000 fewer votes than Obama received just four years ago. Clinton lost Wisconsin and its valuable 10 electoral votes by a meager 27,000 votes. They didn’t lose because people flocked toward Trump, but because they flocked away from Clinton.
Today, only five states are in Democratic control, holding the Governorship, House, and Senate. Five – that means just ten percent of the states are purely Democratic in their rule.
Trump remains very unpopular. This underscores the Democrats’ problem. They should be asking themselves, “How did we lose to this guy?”
It’s not that millions of left-leaning Americans didn’t prefer Clinton over Trump. It’s just that they didn’t care enough to sacrifice 30 minutes of their day to show up to vote.
President Obama promised change. And change has indeed come. Eleven Senate seats have changed. Sixty U.S. House seats have changed. Fourteen Governorships have changed. Nine hundred state legislative seats have changed. They have all changed from Democrat to Republican.
The Democratic Party is in crisis. It’s pretty hard to spin it any other way. But Democratic leadership will spin it another way. And therein lies their problem.