Lost in news on Russia, the full blown Democratic civil war

In less than a week, Democrats will mark a gloomy anniversary: the election of Donald Trump and defeat of Hillary Clinton.

Would it surprise you that Clinton's defeat is still being debated a year removed from the event?  Are you aware that there is a civil war underway not only to explain Hillary's loss, but to decide which direction the Democrats will go to win in 2020?

You can be excused if you missed all this.  The press isn't covering it, preferring to chase Russians around Washington rather than concentrate on perhaps the most impactful story of the year.  Left-wing Democrats are at war with radical left-wing Democrats. Upon the outcome will hinge how competitive the party will be in the 2018 midterms as well as the 2020 presidential election.

The left wing blames Hillary's loss on her refusal to talk about the economy in the final days of the race and her lack of appeal to white working-class voters.  The radical left blames her loss on not being...well, radical enough.

The problem for Democrats is that the farther left Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren push the party, the farther away they get from appealing to the white working class who turned out in droves for Donald Trump and were decisive in several states.

Stanley Greenberg, a Bill Clinton pollster from 1992 and longtime Democratic strategist, laid out the battle lines for the New Yorker:

"The Democratic Party today is divided over whether it wants to focus on the economy or identity," Greenberg said when we talked. That is, as he pointed out, just what the Clinton campaign was fighting about a year ago. Greenberg and others who came out of the Bill Clinton era—like the former President himself—had never really let go of the economy-first mantra that got them to the White House in a different time, and they felt that there was a generational conflict with the Obama operatives who held sway over Hillary Clinton's 2016 strategy. It was a fight that dogged the Clinton campaign all the way until its final days, when Greenberg and his allies inside the campaign pushed unsuccessfully to close with a focus on her plans for the economy.

"The caricature of this debate is, Bill Clinton says you have a problem and the numbers people say you don't," Jake Sullivan, who served as Clinton's top policy adviser for the campaign after working with her closely at the Obama State Department, recalled. But it wasn't that Hillary Clinton's team disagreed over the problem, he insisted, just over what to do about it: "Everybody recognized we had a huge working-class, non-college white issue. The question was, How do you add up to victory? Do you attack it head-on or by compensating elsewhere? That was the fundamental strategic debate."

And it still is.

"Identity" is shorthand for all the wacky social issues near and dear to Democrat's hearts.  The Clinton campaign chose to try to goose turnout from its core constituencies: the young, minorities, organized labor, etc.  The campaign made a conscious decision to ignore the white working class in favor of blacks, Hispanics, single women, and gays, in numbers that matched the Obama coalition.

Black turnout actually fell for the first time in 20 years, and, as usual, Hispanic turnout disappointed.  The Clintonistas never came close to overcoming their antagonizing blue-collar whites.

What's fascinating is that it looks as though the Democrats are going to make the same mistakes all over again.  Instead of talking about improving the economy, they want to talk about opposing Trump.  If they did it rationally and within reason, they might actually gain some ground.  But their irrational, over-the-top, hysterically exaggerated reaction to Trump personally and his policies will almost certainly make a Trump victory in 2020 more probable.  Millions of Americans do not view Trump the way that Democrats do and are getting angry about what they see as unjustified, unhinged criticism.

The Democrats will easily have as many candidates in 2020 as the GOP did in 2016.  But with the Warren-Sanders wing of the party holding sway in the primaries, it isn't likely that they will nominate someone who could defeat Trump.

Some Democrats are waking up to that reality and sounding the alarm.  But no one is listening.

In less than a week, Democrats will mark a gloomy anniversary: the election of Donald Trump and defeat of Hillary Clinton.

Would it surprise you that Clinton's defeat is still being debated a year removed from the event?  Are you aware that there is a civil war underway not only to explain Hillary's loss, but to decide which direction the Democrats will go to win in 2020?

You can be excused if you missed all this.  The press isn't covering it, preferring to chase Russians around Washington rather than concentrate on perhaps the most impactful story of the year.  Left-wing Democrats are at war with radical left-wing Democrats. Upon the outcome will hinge how competitive the party will be in the 2018 midterms as well as the 2020 presidential election.

The left wing blames Hillary's loss on her refusal to talk about the economy in the final days of the race and her lack of appeal to white working-class voters.  The radical left blames her loss on not being...well, radical enough.

The problem for Democrats is that the farther left Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren push the party, the farther away they get from appealing to the white working class who turned out in droves for Donald Trump and were decisive in several states.

Stanley Greenberg, a Bill Clinton pollster from 1992 and longtime Democratic strategist, laid out the battle lines for the New Yorker:

"The Democratic Party today is divided over whether it wants to focus on the economy or identity," Greenberg said when we talked. That is, as he pointed out, just what the Clinton campaign was fighting about a year ago. Greenberg and others who came out of the Bill Clinton era—like the former President himself—had never really let go of the economy-first mantra that got them to the White House in a different time, and they felt that there was a generational conflict with the Obama operatives who held sway over Hillary Clinton's 2016 strategy. It was a fight that dogged the Clinton campaign all the way until its final days, when Greenberg and his allies inside the campaign pushed unsuccessfully to close with a focus on her plans for the economy.

"The caricature of this debate is, Bill Clinton says you have a problem and the numbers people say you don't," Jake Sullivan, who served as Clinton's top policy adviser for the campaign after working with her closely at the Obama State Department, recalled. But it wasn't that Hillary Clinton's team disagreed over the problem, he insisted, just over what to do about it: "Everybody recognized we had a huge working-class, non-college white issue. The question was, How do you add up to victory? Do you attack it head-on or by compensating elsewhere? That was the fundamental strategic debate."

And it still is.

"Identity" is shorthand for all the wacky social issues near and dear to Democrat's hearts.  The Clinton campaign chose to try to goose turnout from its core constituencies: the young, minorities, organized labor, etc.  The campaign made a conscious decision to ignore the white working class in favor of blacks, Hispanics, single women, and gays, in numbers that matched the Obama coalition.

Black turnout actually fell for the first time in 20 years, and, as usual, Hispanic turnout disappointed.  The Clintonistas never came close to overcoming their antagonizing blue-collar whites.

What's fascinating is that it looks as though the Democrats are going to make the same mistakes all over again.  Instead of talking about improving the economy, they want to talk about opposing Trump.  If they did it rationally and within reason, they might actually gain some ground.  But their irrational, over-the-top, hysterically exaggerated reaction to Trump personally and his policies will almost certainly make a Trump victory in 2020 more probable.  Millions of Americans do not view Trump the way that Democrats do and are getting angry about what they see as unjustified, unhinged criticism.

The Democrats will easily have as many candidates in 2020 as the GOP did in 2016.  But with the Warren-Sanders wing of the party holding sway in the primaries, it isn't likely that they will nominate someone who could defeat Trump.

Some Democrats are waking up to that reality and sounding the alarm.  But no one is listening.

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