What’s Wrong with the Democratic Party?

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The first six months of Donald Trump’s presidency have given the Democrats more than enough ammunition to lampoon the GOP. From recent failures like their inability to present a viable replacement to Obamacare, or their constant defense of the president regardless of how malicious or self-serving his actions appear, Republican congressmen and senators should be in a tough spot. Despite this, the results of recent special elections across the United States suggest otherwise. Democrats have lost all four congressional special elections held this year, despite GOP’s spiraling reputation. Each race had been touted by Democrats as the turning point in which Trump’s blunders would catch up to Republicans, but they just keep winning. The Democrats have been unable to beat the GOP in these special elections for the same reason they weren’t able to beat Donald Trump last November – they are unwilling to change.

The first problem is that the Democratic party doesn’t really stand for anything these days. Take Jon Ossoff’s campaign slogan in the election for Georgia’s sixth Congressional district, “Humble. Kind. Ready to Fight.” What does this mean? What does this tell voters about Jon Ossoff? Ossoff ran a by-the-numbers campaign in which he allowed his opponent, Karen Handel, to control the narrative. Georgia is a red state, meaning that no matter what unbelievable things Trump has done they are more likely to vote Republican. To win, Ossoff needed to make the race about more than identity politics and focus on real issues, such as how the AHCA will take away people’s coverage. His failure to win the election stemmed from the Democratic Party’s flawed belief that the president is crazy so there’s no way his party can keep winning. They banked on people associating all GOP candidates with the chaos going on in Washington instead of running a well-articulated, strategic race.

The second problem with the Democratic party is that its leadership is completely out of touch with its base, and has been for quite some time. The prime example of this was Hillary Clinton’s inability to excite liberals in the 2016 election. The “lesser of two evils” line which was mentioned constantly in relation to Clinton just proves that the establishment politicians who have been running the party for decades are not the right leaders for today’s Democratic Party. The Democrats desperately need new leadership whose ideas and policies resonate with its younger base, but leaders such as House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi refuse to do what’s best for the party. If members of the Democratic establishment like Pelosi really cared about the future of their party and their country they would step aside and make way for new leadership.

The GOP may have a bad reputation, but the Democrats are not much better. Democratic candidates are still under the impression that the GOP’s faults will win them elections, but the Democratic leadership is clearly out of touch with its base. If Democrats want to start winning elections again there needs to be a drastic overhaul within the party. Republicans have been winning election after election by pandering to their base. It’s about time Democrats do the same.

 

Nathan Lederman is a rising senior at the Emery/Weiner school. Among his many passions are politics, journalism, and film, and he currently serves as the Vice President of Emery/Weiner’s Junior Statesmen of America club.

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