Culture Wars/Current Controversies

How Democrats Can Become the National Majority Party

By Michael Lind, Tablet

A memo to current and aspiring Democratic Party leaders.

This is the first of a two-part series. Next up: How Republicans Can Become the National Majority Party.

Dear Democrats:

Let’s face it, despite controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, your party should be in far better shape than it is. With the exception of 2004, Democratic presidential candidates have either won the popular vote or outpolled Republicans in every election since 1992. Two of the last three Republican victories were possible only because candidates who lost the popular vote won the Electoral College. Beyond that, Republican public policy ideas are profoundly unpopular. Under George W. Bush, Republicans sought to cut Social Security, while banning the government from negotiating price discounts from drug companies to help retired Americans. Under Donald Trump, the only success of the Republican-controlled Congress was to cut taxes on the rich and corporations; the GOP failed in its attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, and indeed had no plan to replace it. Trump was one of the least popular American presidents in history, and his party was in such a shambles in 2020 that there was no Republican presidential platform for the first time since 1856.

In spite of the penchant for self-inflicted wounds shared by Republican leaders, Joe Biden only narrowly defeated Trump—in the process losing an unprecedented share of the former Black, Hispanic, and Asian American Democratic vote. The only group in which the party gained voters was among educated, affluent white men—a demographic in decline. As a result, instead of adding to the majority they gained in the 2018 midterms, the Democrats actually lost 13 seats in the House. Only flukish elections in Georgia enabled the Democrats to gain 50% of the Senate, where only the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris gives your party the barest of bare majorities. It is widely expected that the Republicans will recapture the House and perhaps the Senate in the midterm elections of 2022.

None of this is news to you, Democrats. Unfortunately, instead of asking yourselves what is wrong with your party, you tend to waste your time explaining what is wrong with America.

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