The Democratic Party has an image problem and it extends well past it’s inability to win elections. In the last presidential election both the Democrats and Republicans managed to put forth their most unpopular candidates.
This is really the core of the problem. The Republican Party also has an image problem but they, at the very least, try to fight their image problem. Even if it is only admitting the issue, but not really fixing it they are a step ahead of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party chooses to ignore their image problem.
The Democratic Party’s Use of Super Delegates
Despite all of this the leadership of the Democratic Party fought very hard to push Clinton as the torch bearer of the party. Part of this was it’s use of the Super Delegate. Because of the Super Delegate system Clinton already had a huge lead before a single vote was cast. Barack Obama was able to overcome this problem in 2008, Bernie Sanders was not able to in 2016.
For whatever reason (I will not get into it in this article) African-Americans love the Clinton’s. The leadership used this in order to paint Sanders in a negative light with African Americans. This despite the fact that Sanders had been fighting for civil rights when he was still in college and Clinton did not get involved until the late 1960s after being a Republican.
With the use of the Super Delegates the candidate that the leaders want as their nominee will always have a huge advantage in the delegate count. It was not until June that Clinton had enough regular delegates to secure the nomination.
Sadly, issues with the Super Delegates in two competitive elections do not appear to make the Democratic Party want to stop using them.
The Democratic Party’s Non-Support for Lower Candidates
The National Democratic Party has a horrible track record of supporting candidates that they think can not win. A Democrat could have won in Kansas two weeks ago, but saw virtually no support from the leadership. There was a legitimate chance that the Democrats could have turned that seat blue. However, up until the last week of the race they spent no money and threw no support to the Democratic candidate.
Bernie Sanders correctly called out the leadership of the Democratic Party for this miss. However, certain supposed “liberals” took umbrage to Sanders’ dressing down of the party. One in particular, Steve Marmel, on twitter was very vocal in his distaste for Sanders, now. He had been a Sanders supporter.
Sanders was 100% correct. This was a huge opportunity that Democrats could have won and it can be laid directly at their feet. I am not going to pretend to understand the sudden change of heart from supposed “liberals” on Sanders. He has not changed his message from the primary but I suppose that because he is challenging Democrats, it just does not fly.
The Image Problem
Maybe Ronald Reagan had it right when he decreed that Republicans should not talk badly about other Republicans. The Democratic Party is in flux right now and the leadership does not seem to want to do anything about it. Or, even worse, they do not care.
The Democratic Party in my home State of Arkansas is non-existent. In most state races they do not even bother to run candidates. The national party seems to have written off the state as having any potential to win a state office again. That sends a clear message to state Democrats. If you want to run for office you either run as an Independent or even in the Green Party.
The Democratic Party can win again if they focus on all races and not just safe districts. There is a coming tsunami in 2018 (there typically is in an off year election) and the Democratic Party needs to fix it’s image before they can focus on winning seats.