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Whoever Dems Nominate for President (Clinton? Biden? Sanders?), We Still Have a HUGE Problem at the State Level


by Lowell

I’ve been saying this for years – heck, the motto of the blog is “think globally, act LOCALLY” – but for Democrats, the situation remains dire across the country. In fact, other than our ability to win the White House every four years (when turnout is at its peak and, not coincidentally, at its “bluest”), we are getting our butts kicked in state legislative races, governor’s races and the U.S. House of Representatives (whose districts, by the way, are drawn by…yep, those same state legislatures we keep losing).

Over at Vox, Matthew Yglesias really nails what’s going on here (h/t to Clark Mercer of LG Ralph Northam’s office for sharing this article on Facebook).  A few key points:

  • The Democratic Party is in much greater peril than its leaders or supporters recognize, and it has no plan to save itself.” 
  • “The presidency is extremely important, of course. But there are also thousands of critically important offices all the way down the ballot. And the vast majority — 70 percent of state legislatures, more than 60 percent of governors, 55 percent of attorneys general and secretaries of state — are in Republicans hands.” 
  • “Democrats have nothing at all in the works to redress their crippling weakness down the ballot. Democrats aren’t even talking about how to improve on their weak points, because by and large they don’t even admit that they exist.” 
  • “The worst part of the problem for the Democratic Party is in races that are, collectively, the most important: state government. Elections for state legislature rarely make the national news, but they are the fundamental building blocks of American politics.” 
  • “Winning a presidential election would give Republicans the overwhelming preponderance of political power in the United States — a level of dominance not achieved since the Democrats during the Great Depression, but with a much more ideologically coherent coalition.” 
  • The first step for Democrats is admitting they have a problem…In some ways, the Democrats’ biggest disadvantage is simply their current smugness. A party that controls such a small share of elected offices around the country is a party that should be engaged in vigorous debate about how to improve its fortunes” 
  • Democrats are currently engaged in a slightly bizarre bidding war between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to see whether Congress in 2017 will reject a legislative agenda that is somewhat to the left of Obama’s or drastically to its left…the much more significant question facing the party isn’t about the White House — it’s about all the other offices in the land. ” 

So…any further questions about what we need to be focused on politically speaking? Hint: it’s not arguing about Hillary vs. Bernie vs. Joe or whatever.


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