Kim Moody, a co-founder of Labor Notes and author of “In Solidarity: Working-Class Organization and Strategy in the United States,” published a tough critique of Democratic mistakes and misguided strategy, beginning long before 2016, in a Jacobi Magazine article, "Who Put Trump in the White House? The Democratic Party has been collapsing for years, but no one noticed before Trump came along."
“While there was a swing among white, blue-collar and union household voters to Trump, it was significantly smaller than the overall drop in Democratic voters,” writes Moody. Moody blames a reduction in direct door-to-door human contact campaigning with lower-income voters in favor of purchased media forms of campaigning, including TV ads, for falling turnout for Democrats.
Democrats purport to be the party that champions improved living standards for working people, but they have been unable to deliver in recent years, owing increasingly to the Republican’s strategy of all-out obstruction. Moody explains “centrist liberalism” is a doomed philosophical foundation for Democrats because it is associated with the Party’s failure to produce needed economic reforms.
Many in the Democratic Party are coming to grips with the reality that voters increasingly reject centrist public policies Democrats have been promoting, legislating, and campaign on for two decades.
Democrats lost another net 43 seats in legislatures across the country in 2016, after previously losing 910 seats during Obama's administration. Republicans added to their historic 2014 gains in the nation’s state legislatures with the addition of five state House chambers and two state Senate chambers in 2016.
Republicans are now in control of a record 67 (68 percent) of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers in the nation, more than twice the number (31) in which Democrats have a majority, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Republicans hold more total state legislative seats in the nation, well over 4,100 of the 7,383, than they have since 1920. Democrats now have total control of just 13 state legislatures.
Republicans gained 2 more states' governor-ships in 2016, after already gaining 12 over the last 8 years, increasing its total to 33, a record high last seen in 1922. Democrats had also lost 69 US House seats and 13 US Senate seats since 2009 and barely managed to stem further losses in 2016.
Moody concludes, "Democrats are going to need a much bolder economic strategy that acknowledges the failures of the past and points the way to a more robust advocacy of the kind of economic agenda that empowered the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Democrats should not allow the Trump Administration to claim ownership of a massive investment in infrastructure upgrades and twist it into another corporate raid on the federal treasury. Instead, revitalizing America’s crumbling infrastructure should be the signature project of the Democratic party, and protecting the integrity of it, is the central challenge of the next few years."
Read the full article at Jacobin