Friday, September 11, 2015

Obama’s legacy? A destroyed Democrat party?

No two-term president in recent times has seen his party clobbered in both midterm elections. Politico, a left of center political website: 

“When Obama came into the White House, it seemed like the Democrats had turned a corner generationally; at just 47, he was one of the youngest men to be elected as president. But the party has struggled to build a new generation of leaders around him. Eight years later, when he leaves office in 2017 at 55, he’ll actually be one of the party’s only leaders not eligible for Social Security. Even as the party has recently captured more young voters at the ballot box in presidential elections, its leaders are increasingly of an entirely different generation; most of the party’s leaders will fade from the national scene in the years ahead. Its two leading presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are 67 and 73. The sitting vice president, Joe Biden, is 72. The Democratic House leader, Nancy Pelosi, is 75; House Whip Steny Hoyer is 76 and caucus Chair James Clyburn is 75, as is Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, who will retire next year. It’s a party that will be turning to a new generation of leaders in the coming years—and yet, there are precious few looking around the nation’s state houses, U.S. House or Senate seats.

Barack Obama took office in 2009 with 60 Democrats in the Senate—counting two independents who caucused with the party—and 257 House members. Today, there are 46 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, the worst showing since the first year after the Reagan landslide. Across the Capitol, there are 188 Democrats in the House, giving Republicans their best showing since Herbert Hoover took the White House in 1929.

This is, however, the tip of the iceberg. When you look at the states, the collapse of the party’s fortunes are worse. Republicans now hold 31 governorships, nine more than they held when Obama was inaugurated. During the last six years the GOP has won governorships in purple and even deep blue states: Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio. In the last midterms, only one endangered Republican governor—Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania—was replaced by a Democrat. (Sean Parnell in Alaska lost to an independent.) Every other endangered Republican returned to office.”

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Unfortunately, the Republican voters, or those registered that way, are chasing after Donald Trump and appear to be throwing away this opportunity to have another “Team of Rivals” in our federal government.

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