Chronologically speaking, I think you can trace back the complete meltdown of the Democratic Party to 2009, shortly after the death of Ted Kennedy. In the following 2010 midterm, the Democrats were soundly crushed, losing control of Congress. Although former President Obama was able to win a second term, the Republicans have still dominated Congress. Now they have the Senate, and President Trump, ever the gambler, is probably going to get lucky and push 3 or 4 Supreme Court justices through.
I don’t think the timing is coincidental. Senator Ted Kennedy was a tremendously savvy politician with great instincts. I hated the bloated and murderous jerk, but I can respect the incredible amount of power that he wielded within the Democratic Party. He was no pushover. He struck deals. He navigated the Democratic Party successfully for years. But moreover…I think we are seeing that Ted Kennedy also offered an element of restraint. Right now, the Democratic Party is completely unhinged. They are chasing every single red herring that President Trump is throwing their way. He is, in fact, leading the Democratic Party around by the nose. It is as obvious as it is embarrassing to watch. Russian conspiracy theories, delusions of impeachment, and character assassination galore…it’s an ugly cocktail, very unbecoming of the modern day Democratic Party.
Wake up, Democrats. Ted Kennedy NEVER would have allowed the Democratic Party to fall into such sorry shape. Just look at the plethora of mistakes…abandoning flyover country, losing the Rust Belt, NOTHING in the Bible Belt, and desperately seeking the endorsement of a single, sorry Independent from Vermont? This is not the Democratic Party I knew. What happened to the Unions? What happened to the middle class? What happened to the Yellow Dog Democrats, the Dixiecrats, and the blue collar white voters? What happened to the Democratic Party?
Somehow, they’ve found a way to alienate large swaths of voters. They overzealously pursued the toxic gun-control wedge issue, which drove away moderate Democrats. They let Bernie Sanders into their club and he wrecked the party. He took younger voters too far to the left, and the more moderate Democrats left in disgust. They also opened up a Pandora’s Box with the Affordable Healthcare Act, which ultimately has become political poison. This too drove away more moderate Democrats. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. The Democrats miss Ted Kennedy’s guidance to keep the party unified and restrained. As they are right now, they are in disarray and chasing shadows left and right. One only need look at how Democrats are handling President Trump firing FBI Director James Comey. It’s ridiculous. Democrats already attacked Comey for costing Hillary the election, now they are bending over backwards to defend him. There is no restraint, no shame, and no wisdom. These are the types of situations that Ted Kennedy was so good at helping the Democrats avoid, all by exercising a little restraint.
If Democrats don’t shape up and exercise some restraint, the real nightmare will unfold. Any poly-sci 101 class will inevitably point to the Reagan Democrats as being a powerful political force. As it is usually explained, Ronald Reagan was able to win over numerous constituencies by appealing to massive groups of voters that usually belonged to the Democrats (Unions, the middle class, white blue collar voters, etc…sound familiar?). Historians regard President Reagan quite kindly for his ability to take so many usually Democratic strongholds, and they glibly refer to this shift in political ideology as “The Reagan Democrats”. I know Trump isn’t the Gipper, but any sharp political observer can plainly see that President Trump likewise has managed to steal away a sizable chunk of the Democrat’s constituency. Even if the Union heads voted for Hillary, massive numbers of the workers under those Union heads did not. Moderate Democrats are on the brink of fleeing the party because it has become such a national laughingstock.
The more Democrats continue going down this dark road, chasing every morsel Trump offers, the more obvious it becomes that they have no restraint. There is no Ted Kennedy to tell them what they need to focus on to win back voters. Instead, it seems like they are taking their political cues and talking points from Trevor Noah, Jimmy Kimmel, and Chelsea Handler. This continued alienation of moderate Democrats is already in the early stages of giving birth to the Trump Democrats.
It’s up to the Democrats to stop behaving so foolishly. Republicans are deservingly reaping the benefits hand-over-fist these days, so why should they bother to stop doing what they are doing? They are winning. Democrats? Not so much. They need unity and restraint, they have neither.
Ted Kennedy is spinning in his grave.
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