The donkey blues

The GOP is divided, a division that has grown over years.  Obamacare's repeal effort has revealed real frictions.

However, the Democrats have huge problems, too.  It starts with their ideas and an effort to rebrand the party.

Steve Malanga has a good analysis of the party's search for ideas: 

At the state level, the party faced a sustained run of bad results that included losing some 900 local legislative seats, while watching Republicans capture 31 governorships. 

Republicans now boast 25 state "trifectas" – in which they control the legislature and the governor's office – compared with just six for Democrats. 

To comprehend the magnitude of Democratic losses, consider that Republicans hold more power in the states than at any time since the Civil War.

Democrats knew after 2014 that they had serious problems. A party task force examining that year's election results acknowledged the stark losses. But the group's recommendations for revival were bland at best, focusing largely on organization and infrastructure rather than on ideas that might appeal to the electorate. 

Recommendations included expanding voting rights, working harder to control redistricting, and building an "open and accessible" party. 

The resulting document said almost nothing about policies except in the broadest terms, and ignored the fact that Republicans were winning in many states with an agenda that included fiscal restraint and a pro-business approach to economic growth. And the task-force report made no acknowledgment that the increasingly leftward drift of the party had driven away many of its traditional blue-collar constituents. 

As early as 2013, trade unions whose membership once formed part of the Democratic Party's core were in revolt against the Affordable Care Act, the growing power of public-sector unions, and the increasing influence that the environmentalist, no-growth agenda had on the party. 

Many of those trade union members defected to Trump in 2016.

The problem is that they don't have any new ideas.  They are simply painting the donkey in a different color, but it's the same message of class warfare, identity politics, and "Trump is awful." 

Furthermore, how can you rebrand a party by having Nancy Pelosi outline the new ideas?  Does anyone, including most Democrats, believe that Pelosi has any new ideas?

As we've seen in several special elections, the Democrats have a message problem.  They can't connect with people who own small businesses, mothers who believe that boys and girls go to different bathrooms, or naturalized U.S. citizens like me who believe that sanctuary cities are an insult to the rule of law.

We will hear a lot about the GOP's troubles, and we have our share.  However, our issues are nothing like those of the Democrats, a party still thinking the answer to every problem lies in more government.

Hank Williams or B.B. King would call it "having the donkey blues"!

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