#1 Do the Democrats Have a Next Act? by ThirstyMan 15.01.2016 19:18


By TODD S. PURDUM, 1/15/2016

Forget the Republican squabble—it’s Hillary’s party that needs to find new ideas.

As the Republican presidential contenders ratchet up their uncivil war —the carnival debates, the Twitter shootouts, the talk of third-party challenges and a brokered convention — the dominant political headline is the crisis in the GOP.
But look more closely: The Republican Party isn't the only one in trouble.

The real identity crisis may be the one in the party in which none of this was supposed to happen—the party with a well-financed, brand-name candidate who suddenly finds her coronation interrupted by a 74-year-old socialist with a Brooklyn accent as thick as Junior’s Cheesecake.

That’s not the script anyone predicted for the Democrats when Bernie Sanders announced his long-shot challenge to Hillary Clinton last year. Few could have expected to see Sanders in the lead this close to the New Hampshire primary, or surging in Iowa, even besting Clinton’s support among younger women voters in some polls. But that reality has forced the party establishment to deal with an unwelcome prospect: As the Republicans energetically recast their pitch to disaffected Americans, it’s mainstream Democrats who are grappling with the more severe deficit of fresh messages, and new ideas.

Twenty-four years ago, Bill Clinton ran for president as a new kind of centrist Democrat, offering a “New Covenant” that emphasized both individual opportunity and collective responsibility, and promised an emphatic end to “the brain-dead politics of the past.” He won and repositioned his party for success for years to come.
But today’s America is a different country than it was when the first candidate Clinton urged voters not to stop thinking about tomorrow. Tomorrow is here, with an even more beleaguered middle class, less economic security, vastly greater racial and ethnic diversity and a world in which global economic interdependence and the threat of global terrorism are unsettling daily realities for millions of voters.

For all their divisions, the GOP candidates have been honing messages that connect with those anxieties—fighting for common Americans against globalization, against terrorists, against the shifting moral landscape of the country they grew up in. Similarly, the Sanders-Elizabeth Warren populist wing of the Democratic Party offers a powerful appeal to Americans worried about the growing unfairness of how money and power are distributed.

Hillary Clinton begins the year with the realities of the Democratic primary math, suggesting she’ll remain the prohibitive front-runner for the nomination; she’s also much more closely matched against most potential GOP opponents than her Democratic rivals. But when it comes to the long-term responsibility of a party’s front-runner—offering a message that can galvanize voters, and forge a new, durable majority—she’s largely running an update of the economic and foreign policy program of the past 25 years, one that offers no new message, no single similarly big idea. And that could be a problem—if not for her in November, then for her party over the next generation.

“A lot of the old policy agenda of left and right is defunct, and the cupboard is bare,” says Michael Waldman, a chief White House speechwriter for Bill Clinton and a veteran Democratic thinker. “The Democrats have achieved their major social policy goal of the past 60 years—health care. So what comes next? Parties often have a danger when they win their goal and they don’t have it to fight on anymore.”

So what might a “new” New Democratic philosophy look like, one that could speak to an ever-shrinking middle class in a nation growing steadily more diverse, with a much wider gap between rich and poor?
That’s a question that the Democrats are likely to have trouble answering any time soon as they seem determined to prevent this race from becoming an all-out brawl over their future. The party’s debate schedule—coinciding with weekends and holidays—means that whatever argument they do have will be largely out of the public eye. But the question, and the quietly growing strategic conversations around it in party circles, will help determine the Democrats’ strength and viability for a generation to come.


I think Hillary is benefiting right now from being under the radar while the GOP fights it out so amusingly, but at some point, she will have a moment of truth, and she will need to rally the base.”
Part of the problem for the Democrats is that Barack Obama, despite seven years in office and a presidency that has been successful in many respects on policy, hasn’t really put his own brand on the party. He campaigned in 2008, vowing to be a transformative figure in the mold of Reagan, wowed liberals by explicitly scoffing at Bill Clinton’s strategy of “triangulation” between the ideological visions of left and right, and aspired to usher in a new age of diminished rancor in Washington.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2...2#ixzz3xMTSQrhG

#2 RE: Do the Democrats Have a Next Act? by algernonpj 16.01.2016 11:32


"For all their divisions, the GOP candidates have been honing messages that connect with those anxieties—fighting for common Americans against globalization, against terrorists, against the shifting moral landscape of the country they grew up in."

Oh ... really ?

Todd must be writing from an alternate universe.

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