Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Democrats: The Shell Party

I’ve seen several interesting articles of late which highlight just how badly off the Democrats are right now. Consider this...

“A Shell Party”: 70% of state legislatures, 60% of governorships, 55% of attorney’s general and secretaries of state are under Republican control. Single-party Republican control exists in 25 states; Democrats control only seven states. Add the Congress, the Senate and the Supreme Court and the Democrats have a serious problem. Indeed, all told, the Democrats control almost nothing in this country. Said Gil Troy, a presidential historian and professor of history, of this situation:
“There’s this illusion because these days so much of the press is nationalized—there’s an illusion of Democratic strength. ... [A] Democratic Party that both loses nationally and two-thirds of state houses and governorships is very much a shell party.”
Yep. Having such a small power base and little chance to change this, the Democrats are essentially a regional party. What's worse for them, even though they may control a few states and may be able to obstruct in a few others, because of their own prior efforts, the states no longer have much power to control their own destinies. That's all done at the national level, where the Democrats have no power. So their seven state control is truly meaningless. Further, even though they currently hold the White House, that's a dead end for power. The White House can’t make law or spend money without permission and the courts have been preventing any expansion of that. Hence, the Democrats have almost no ability to shape America at this point.

Why This Election Matters: Things are going poorly for the Democrats, but this election is still vital for one reason: the Supreme Court. Right now, the court has four liberals, four conservatives and one mostly-conservative swing vote. Two conservatives are 79 and one liberal is 82. A GOP victory could protect the conservative majority for our lifetimes and extend it by a justice or two. That would be the end of any power the liberals could claim through the court for a generation at least. On the other hand, a liberal victory could shift the court to the left for several years, and could be a disaster if Scalia and Kennedy both retire and maybe another conservative dies or retires.

That is the real gem over which this election is being fought, and its outcome will be crucial for all the social issues like gays, abortion and religious tolerance, as well as voting rights issues, affirmative action, campaign finance, gun rights, environmental rules and abuses of regulatory power.

Guess Who’s Missing: An article I read pointed out the lack of power the Democrats have and it concluded: “Public employees, pro-choice activists, organized labor, the gun control movement and environmentalists should be terrified.”

Do you notice what’s missing from that list? Gays. I’m telling you, this is significant. The gays ran away after getting what they wanted and the left has turned on them... just as they are turning on Jews.

The sentence above doesn’t include race baiters either, but they were discussed elsewhere in that particular article. And in that regard, the article talked about the Democratic National Committee being “confident” that Trump will alienate Latinos and Muslims and “will smear a Republican Party already bleeding nonwhites and younger voters.” But here’s the problem with this. First, Romney got only 29% of Hispanics and 7% of blacks. It’s hard to see those numbers falling much further. Indeed, squeezing those numbers much lower is a long shot. Even worse for the Democrats, you’re only talking about six million Hispanics who aren’t voting Democratic and 1.4 million blacks who aren’t voting Democratic. That's only 7.4 million voters they could possibly add if they could do the impossible and get 100% support. At the same time, however, the left is driving away Jews (3-4 million) and has lost gays (10 million). That's upto to 14 million voters they need to replace. They just don't have the numbers to do that. Even worse, everyone of those who shifts to the GOP needs two voters to replace them. This math is ugly for the let.

Further, what this quote about "bleeding nonwhites" misses is that the Democrats are bleeding whites. Every one percent of whites who changes sides represents about a million lost votes for the left and a million gained votes for the right. A four percent shift would mean an eight million swing, which is more than the Democrats could get if they grabbed 100% of all blacks and Hispanics. Again, that's ugly math.

Right now, the Democratic strategy seems to be (1) to hope that Obama’s legacy keeps blacks voting at record numbers, (2) that Bernie Sanders’ appeal to Millennials brings them out for the party, (3) that whites stop fleeing the Democratic party, and (4) that the GOP picks a noxious nominee who turns off the public and brings them out to support the Democrats. The problem with this is that, frankly, blacks turned out in large numbers for Obama because he’s black... Hillary is not. Sander’s appeal is identical to Ron Paul’s, and Paul’s supporters stopped caring the moment Paul left the race. The process of whites fleeing the Democrats will not stop so long as the Democrats sell themselves as a minority party and taut their “demographic destiny.” And the truly noxious GOP candidates, like Santorum, are nonplayers. The only noxious ones left are Bush, who brings fatigue - just like Clinton, and Trump, who alienates specific Democratic groups mainly. So basically, not a single one of the Democrats’ strategies is a valid one.

If I were a Democrat, I would rethink all of this.


Anthony said...

The Democrats are in a terrible place in 2016. Obama's policies have mostly failed to fix the problems he promised to address and Hillary is both strong tied to those failed policies and unable to convincingly claim that she plans to go in a different direction (due to a lack of charisma and ideology).

However, in modern times power has been a poisoned chalice for both parties. I see no reason believe this time will be any different.

I'll go out on a limb and state that the worm will begin to turn in 2018, 2020 will see a narrower Republican victory than 2016 (if the Republicans manage to win) and 2022 will see them arguing whose fault their current situation is. That cycle isn't just a repeat of what happened under Obama, its a repeat of what happened under Bush and Clinton.

Parties invariably A) promise the moon and the stars, then fail to deliver (its not purely their fault, the world is beyond the control of American politicians) and B) cave into their fringes on a big, unpopular issue or three (whose are held in abeyance during minority times only by minority status).

Focusing on the upcoming election, I still don't see much reason to think gays are going to desert the Democrats. Most Republican voters aren't deeply opposed to them, but you wouldn't know that from the rhetoric spouted by politicians and the fringe. Gays for Republicans are like guns are for the Democrats, not something that the party can plausibly do much about, but its very fashionable to make it clear how much one disdains them.

Whites turning against the Dems isn't something that is going to reverse itself, but once it becomes clear that the Republicans aren't going to fix their issues then they will stop hoping for anything from either party and the migration will stop.

Speaking of migration, as I've noted before, increasing competition is the reason for the worsening status of the poor and the middle class (which is a big reason Republicans have turned on not only immigration, but free trade). I see little reason to expect change. Free tade isn't a tide that lifts all boats equally but moving closer to autarky doesn't lift any boats at all.

Anthony said...

OT but did anyone watch Nikki Haley's response to the SOTU (I watched the excellent Mad Max Fury Road last night, previewing the future :) )? Does she have the charisma to have a political future at the national level or is she another Rick Perry or Bobby Jindal?

ScottDS said...

I agree with Anthony: just because gay marriage is the law of the land (give or take an overzealous judge or clerk!), it doesn't mean gay people, who are as varied as any other group, are gonna start voting for the person with an R after their name.

And I know you're fond of saying the battle is over, but: a.) most gay activists will tell you the next challenge is workplace protections (I'm not getting into any trans stuff here), and b.) you'll say this can't/won't happen but I'm sure there's more than one gay couple out there who's afraid that all it'll take is one Supreme Court ruling to undo things.

Having said that, I subscribe to the AvP tagline: "Whoever wins, we lose." :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Morning! I hear that Hailey gave a great counter speech last night that is lifting her profile everywhere. Well, everywhere but talk radio. They've added to their enemies list.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, The evidence is everywhere. The gay movement is disbanding fast, if they haven't early completely disbanded, and the left is furious at them for it. Hence, you are seeing gay issues being utterly ignored by the left or even mocked. I would expect that soon you will see the rise of the official gay libertarians.

In fact, keep in mind that before the last decade or so, gays were largely apolitical, or they were split between left and right about evenly. It's only been since the 1990s that they shifted left as the religious right took over the GOP. But that seems to be over now and there is a bigger focus on libertarianism, which is the natural political stance of most gays if you think about it -- wealthier but not charitable, single, want to be left alone by government. That does not a leftist make.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I think the GOP has one advantage over the Democrats this time: the GOP identity crisis. Unlike the Democrats who all want the same fringe ideas, the GOP is split between the crazies and the normals. The crazies have been in charge for some time, but are being locked out at the state level and largely at the federal level (except in a handful of southern states where they continue to run amok) because their failed attempt to destroy the GOP leadership. The end result is that the GOP is stiff-arming its fringe for the most part. That should inoculate the GOP to the power corrupts issue. Unfortunately, it also means they won't really do much either.

I'm not sure where the white migration will stop, but I suspect it will more than offset this idea of Democratic demographic destiny... especially as the coming wave of minorities won't actually arrive. At the state level, the GOP is more competitive now in places I never thought they could ever compete in at any point during my lifetime. That's really bad for the Democrats. If they can find a slightly better national agenda, the Democrats are doomed.

On gays, I see evidence everywhere that gays basically have already walked away from politics.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, let me add...

I'm sure there's more than one gay couple out there who's afraid that all it'll take is one Supreme Court ruling to undo things.

This is exactly the kind of thinking that will blind most people to seeing what is happening. There will always be gay activists on the left. Some are diehard ideologues. Others are making money on it. But the existence of a handful of people does not a meaningful movement make.

What makes gays useful to the left is (1) they contribute vast amounts of money to people who promise to fight for their issues and (2) they turn out about 3% of votes mostly for the left.

Here's the problem. Gays have what they want now -- official sanction. Some may still want something like workplace protections, but most states already give that and the rest will be forced to by their courts very soon. So this issue is at best a small issue that only inspires some. The rest of the gay community has nothing left to fight for. That means they are free to choose a party according to other factors than gay issues. The result is that most gays will leave politics again. Another group will swing Libertarian because (1) they hate taxes, (2) they don't want strong government because strong government has been their enemy, and (3) the libertine lifestyle is drawn to the sexual and narcotic freedom libertarianism represents. The end result is that I would expect that about 1/3 of gays will go right and another 1/3 will drop out of politics. That means the Democrats lose 2% of their base and the Republicans pick up 1%. That's a disaster for the Democrats.

The one thing that can change this is the Santorum wing of the party, if they keep spewing their anger at gays. But honestly, they are fading fast.

EPorvaznik said...

Not that I necessarily needed a laugh this morning, AP, but I certainly appreciate your suggestion the Democrats, they of the “feelings, nothing more than feelings” mode of existence and legislating, rethink their strategies. Ooh, that’s a doozy, Judge!

Re. the possible shift in gays towards libertarianism, I should make it a point to check in with the Log Cabin Republicans at the next CA GOP convention. Not only does that group throw the best parties in the party, but it should be interesting to see if Andrew Breitbart’s (RIP) attempts to widen the GOP’s (alleged) big tent to include GOProud at CPAC a few years ago ever gained any traction in the face of the religious right’s decline.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, I admit that was a little tongue-in-cheek. I can't see the Democrats changing their strategy. They think they just need to wait and it will fall into their laps when the next few million Mexicans arrive... mana from Mexico! (They should probably check out a demographic map of Mexico.)

I still remember the 1980s and early 1990s and how there were a lot of gay Republicans at the time. I see no reason for that not to return with the rise of the libertarian right. Libertarianism and being gay are very compatible, much more so than socialism and being gay.

EPorvaznik said...

Rick Grennell = the man!

ScottDS said...

(I know, this one's another topic that's a bit above my pay grade.)

Re: the Santorum wing, I don't see them disappearing anytime soon. Sure, their numbers might be falling but the ones that remain only seem to get louder and angrier. Hell, they even complained when Ted Cruz [gag] admitted at a fundraiser that undoing gay marriage wasn't on his list of priorities.

I know you're gonna tell me that, at the end of the day, they're just not as powerful as they think they are... but to bring up Cruz again, he seems to think he can win by appealing directly to these people at the expense of swing voters, moderates, etc. (The idea being Republicans lost in 2008 and 2012, not because voters swung the other way but because hardcore religious folks stayed home.)

As for the Supreme Court, you didn't deny it either. :-)

AndrewPrice said...


As much as it may KILL Rick Santorum to hear this, the Supreme Court will support the gay agenda. They've already signaled this pretty clearly and I don't see that changing.

In terms of the fringe, you need to realize that there is a huge difference between the existence of a fringe and it having power. There will always be fringe types, but they become easy to ignore when they have no power. And the more they scream about needing to form their own parties, the less power they have.

In fact, this is something you see on both sides. The Democrats have doctrinaire rape-enthusiast feminists who want equal pay amendments and post-birth abortion, doctrinaire militant blacks want slavery reparations and proportional representation, eco-terrorist environmentalists what most economic activity stopped, the anti-Jewish/pro-Palestinian left want Israel disassembled, etc. These people exist. They make the news. They scare the fringe on the right. But they have no power. The hard-core Religious Right got power in the 1990s, but has now lost it and I don't see them getting it back. Both the gay issue and the abortion issue are settled and I don't see the GOP (outside of a couple states) inflicting this wound on themselves again. Some will try to make it happen, i.e. Huckabee and Cruz, but it won't get traction and within a year or two will be a dead issue.

In terms of why the GOP lost in 2008 and 2012, there are different reasons, but it has nothing to do with religious voters staying home. It has to do with Obama offering a "too good to be true" deal on moving beyond race combined with Bush's incompetence requiring a punishment on the GOP combined with the GOP losing women and, to a lesser extend, Hispanics. The new GOP leadership is going out of their way to undo that.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Let me add some perspective....

In my life, I've seen these hot button issue over and over. They follow a pattern. They start with a shock -- a Supreme Court ruling that goes against the strong opinion of the public. The public screams bloody murder. They pick a party and take over the agenda to change this issue. This attracts the fringes who want to use this as a catalyst to get their own issues (e.g. child molesters hanging onto the gay rights movement, black Muslim separatists hanging onto the Civil Rights Movement, etc.). The public eventually prevails and reverses the situation with some reasonable caveats added to appease the law. In effect, they solve the problem with the vast majority being happy. At that point, the issue dies almost overnight and the public goes back to their day jobs as the government does the cleanup and formalizes the solution. The fringe sticks around to try to get their issue, but they get ignored. A year or two later, the issue is viewed as settled by the public and is considered a dead issue. Years later, the fringe is still trying to exploit this, but no one pays any attention. The rest of the issue is dead.

This is how all controversial issues go. The gay issue will be no different.

Moreover, political parties have a way of purging themselves of the people who make them look bad. In the 1960's, Buckley drove out the Birch Society wing from the right. In the 1970's, the GOP purged the anti-semites. In the 1980's, the GOP purged the racists. The Democrats needed to purge their own racists in the 1970's. In the 1990's, they purged their bleeding hearts. In the 2000's, they purged their cowards and anti-American types.

Things change all the time.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, I remember that. I doubt the same would happen today, honestly.

EPorvaznik said...

>> In the 2000's, they purged their cowards and anti-American types.>>

While the Dems put theirs in the Oval Office and Obama admin.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, I would say that the Dems actually did drive out their worst elements, but old habits die hard. Clinton to a degree did his best to drive their party back toward middle America and to make the Democrats like the rest of us again. The result was a huge number of Blue Dog Democrats. Obama and his elitists lost that, but they have thrown aside their pacifism. In fact, he's proven to be kind of a butcher.

And either way, they've toned these people down and isolated them in fringe groups like Code Pink.

Anonymous said...

Despite his horrible foreign policy outcomes, Obama has not shied away from drone warfare or tried to dismantle the apparatus designed to keep america secure. They've micromanaged it, but it's been largely accepted/co-opted by the obama team as a fait-accompli

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, Exactly. I can't see Carter or Kerry or Dukakis or even Clinton using drones so easily as Obama has. Obama has also sent troops to a dozen countries. So that is one thing Obama has definitely changed -- he has ended their flirtation with pacifism.

EPorvaznik said...

Touche, but you'll still never convince me Obama and his posse aren't anti-American.

tryanmax said...

I'm just waiting to figure out why the hell Obama came to Omaha. He's scheduled to start reading his teleprompter about now.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - I tend to agree with you about the Dems as a party. I hesitate to say that all is lost for them. James Carville said something similar about the Republican Party after the 2009 inauguration. He was convinced that the Republicans would be out of power for the next 40 years.

Though I do see that the world has finally had almost enough of the Clintons. I hope Chelsea doesn't have her heart set on running for anything. I'm not sure if any of them will be earning large speaking fees in the future either. That's just my take.

BevfromNYC said...

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz probably won't make it to Nov as DNC Chair...I would bet she probably won't make through the Primary season either.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, I didn't say that! I think Clinton did his best to make the Democratic Party like America again. That produced the Blue Dog Democrats. They got destroyed by Pelosi/Obama/Reid. What's left are elitists who dislike America very much. Obama strikes me as someone who doesn't like America at all.

That's a different issue than the pacifism though.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Either he's there to visit some nice steakhouse or he's there to get a handjob from Warren Buffett. That's my guess.

tryanmax said...

So far, he spent some time in the living room of the only woman in Omaha who is worried about climate change.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, You can never count any party out forever in politics, but the Democrats are going full speed in the wrong direction right now.

I hope Chelsea is finished with them as well, but I could definitely see a nostalgia attempt with her in ten years or so under the tagline "not like her mother!"

Speaking of being finished, apparently Sanders is pulling ahead in Iowa and New Hampshire and the Clinton people are freaking out. This could get interesting.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, LOL! That reminds me of this thing I saw today with this great quote. It's apparently a real quote involving Calvin Coolidge as the recession grew during his administration and his popularity sank.

Coolidge to his Secretary of State: "Can you lend me a nickle so I can call a friend?"

SoS replies: "Here's a dime... call them all."


AndrewPrice said...

BTW OT: Al Jazeera is going down in flames. They will close up shop in the US in April. Despite paying $500 million to Algore for the channel, they struggled to get beyond 30,000 viewers.

I am not surprised. This was always a bit like starting a German news channel in the US in 1942.

tryanmax said...

Obama's Omaha speech is literally a re-run of his SOTU address. It's a stunt to make people actually pay attention to him. LOL

BevfromNYC said...

The viewing numbers haven't been published for Obama's SOTU yet which leads me to believe that no one was watching. So maybe he's decided to go door to door to deliver it in person...;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Bravo, Bev! :)

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