OPINION: Democratic leadership: a noticeable failure

| December 7, 2016

GARY WISENBAKERColumn by Gary M. Wisenbaker

“I haven’t noticed it,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) replied when asked if Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), her opponent for re-election to the position, had any significant support.

While Pelosi went on to win, she might have paid a little closer attention: her 68% share of votes within her own party was the lowest for a minority leader’s re-election bid since 1991.

Clearly Ryan’s message that the 2018 election is “not going to be won at fundraisers on the coasts—it’s going to won in union halls in the industrial Midwest and fish fries in the Midwest and the South” resonated with a third of the Democratic caucus.

(Note to the GOP: as was once said of Beethoven, “Pay attention to this young man, someday he will make a great noise.”)

And Ryan knows what he’s talking about, having won re-election in a congressional district carried by Donald Trump, a fact Pelosi used to disparage Ryan rather than accurately read the tea leaves, smell the coffee, what have you.

That the Obama-Pelosi leadership axis has been an abject failure for the Democrats is incontrovertible. Beginning in 2010, after two years under their collective reign, the Democrats lost the House, the Senate, a majority of the governorships, and over 900 legislative seats.

Obama-Pelosi helped the Democrats trim their elective office influence during this time frame by losing 63 House seats, 10 Senate seats, 12 governorships, and now the White House.

But, as Ms. Pelosi remarked to reporters after her leadership victory, “We know how to win elections.”

Indeed.

Prior to Election Day 2016 the Establishment pundits, media, and party leaders (both GOP and Democrat) were wondering how the Republican Party could possibly survive the all but certain modern day Charge of the Light Brigade led by Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

Why, not only would Hillary Clinton emerge as the first female president of the United States
and the Senate surely fall under Democratic control, but the House itself was clearly a toss-up, most likely to be ruled by a Speaker Pelosi.

But it didn’t quite turn out that way, did it?

And that did not sit well with the Left.

“We have to take the time to figure out what happened…Something went wrong and we need to figure out what it is and how to stop it,” Jim Manley, a senior Democratic strategist lamented.

And then there’s Richard Eskow of the Campaign for America’s Future who observed that the Democrats “lost the presidency on a technicality” and the problem was that they should have more closely embraced self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders since, “The future is the left.”

The voters rejected what the eurosocialist Left and Democrats were selling. Doesn’t take a Prince Machiavelli to figure that one out.

Such comments elucidate the Left’s on-going contempt for the American people who, they say, voted in an administration that entertains “ideas that are so extreme and out of touch with the mainstream” and only won because it provided “a platform for white supremacists”.

In light of Mr. Trump’s Electoral College landslide, that’s a debate just itching to be heard.

British comedian and actor Tom Walker’s liberal character “Jonathan Pie” says that labeling conservatives as evil, racist, stupid, or a “basket of deplorables” is no way to win an election: “How do you think people are going to vote if you talk to them like that? When has anyone ever been persuaded by being insulted or labeled?”

Yet this is the result when a political party’s vision for a nation is limited to fundraising on the coasts and failing to notice that which is in between.

And this failure will sentence the Democratic Party to minority status for elections to come.

Gary M. Wisenbaker (gary@blackstonestrategy.com) is a corporate communications and political consultant at Blackstone, LLC.

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