Last November, the Democratic Party suffered an embarrassing loss to Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Not only did they manage to lose the white house, but the Senate as well. A devastating blow to the Democratic Party’s ability to neutralize the efficiency of a Trump White House and congress.
The party that had looked so vibrant under Barack Obama was at a crushingly low point last November. A year later they have managed to turn themselves into the most adversarial political machine ever seen. Devoid of leadership and unity, they only know one thing: fighting.
The resistance from Democrats is not the response to actual policy by Republicans, but the digression of a bitter and divisive party. Obviously there is resentment by democrats to Trump’s policy, but this is to be expected in America’s two party system. Trump has made policy moves expected of a moderate republican commander-in-chief. He could even be described as more moderate on many issues than his Republican predecessor George W. Bush. The policy just isn’t the problem at this point.
This resistive divisiveness can be attributed to one key figure: Barack Obama.
Columnist Russell Paul La Valle describes what Obama did to democratic party with unbelievably eloquence: “a president whose basic skill set (and instinct) was always geared to dividing up the pie, never growing it. From that genesis and a monumental political defeat, Barack Obama has wrought a New Democratic Party in total disarray… whose sole mission and purpose is to burn down Trump and his administration by any means necessary.”
The words of La Valle sum up the nucleus of the Obama administration and agenda. Obama was a divisive man who used his charming charisma as a front for his need to pit Democrats against Republicans in a manner unparalleled and never seen before.
His failed policies and expansion of the welfare state undoubtedly hurt Democratic Party platform. However, the way he pitted Democrats against Republicans, races, genders and classes, destroyed the Democratic Party. Not his crappy policy, but his brand of politics. Moving forward in 2017, it seems the Democrats have not been able to rid themselves of this attitude. With Trump as a particularly volatile catalyst for Democrat, it doesn’t seem as though this attitude will change anytime soon.
This is what lost the democrats the 2016 election. Obama had put their party so far to the left and out of touch with moderates, it was impossible for Hillary Clinton to consolidate her own party. The unfortunate byproduct of Obama’s divisiveness was he divided his own party to the detriment of Clinton. Despite all of Obama’s shortcomings for voters, the Democrats were not on the outs coming into 2016. In fact, after Trump won the Republican nomination, it seemed like they were in firm control of the presidential race.
This brings me to the second core reason the Democratic Party is in shambles: they ran the worst the candidate in the history of presidential politics. Never has there been a more distrusted, unpopular woman on the face of the earth. However, the Democratic National Committee rolled over to her money and allowed their party to be in her control, something that is becoming more clear as time passes.
Clinton’s collusion with her own party against other candidates should enrage Democrats. If I were a Democrat, I would be pissed we ran a dishonest woman who was knee-deep in scandals and was so naively confident in victory she allowed her campaign to become sloppy. I would also be angry at the state of the Democratic Party a year later.
The party, as a whole, has failed to take any meaningful strides toward restoration, leaving them like a chicken running around with its head cut off. Voters are going to want to see a decisive, not divisive, leader rise to the front of the Democratic Party and bring voters back into the fold in 2020. There is enough anti-Trump sentiment for Democrats to rally behind as a whole group.
The goal for Democrats should be to find a face for the party who is new and charismatic, almost Obama like, without his destructive and divisive tendencies. From there, they can begin to attack Trump over actual policy and attempt to win voters back on merit. Until they can do this, Democrats will continue to look like whiny sore losers who are just yelling to make noise. The Democratic Party will be respectable again when they get some bite to their bark.
Jacob Maranto is 21-year-old mass communication senior from Plaquemine, Louisiana.