Monday, November 10, 2014

Democrats Must Find Core Values Again to Revive Party

We're Still Kickin'
Tuesday night was, by any measure, a blow-out here in the Hoosier State outside of a handful of counties.

Marion County is one of those counties.  Despite the sea of red surrounding it, Marion County got a little more blue on Election Day.  The nation got a lot more red on Tuesday with the Republicans grabbing more Governor's jobs and control of the United States Senate.

That's why it's easy to feel a little uneasy these days.  Republicans are now in charge of 71 seats in the Indiana House and 40 seats in the Indiana Senate.  The Grand Old Party now has 244 House seats (and leads in four undecided ones) to the Democrats 184 (with leads in three undecided seats).

Still, I have confidence that all is not lost.  I think there's a great chance Democrats will retake the Senate and maintain the White House in 2016.  Here in Indiana, Republicans have to work together with themselves to get things done.  Brian Bosma and David Long have done nice jobs keeping their respective caucuses on task, but how long can they do it?

All of these political nuggets will have a bearing on a busy 2016 election season.  Indiana figures to be in the center of it again depending on who runs for Senate.  Dan Coats, all the North Carolina jokes aside, will be hard to beat if he runs again.  The man knows how to morph from a moderate to a conservative.  Still, his fortunes in 2016 depend on the actions of the Republicans, the mood of the electorate, and who runs for the Democrats.  Let's face it, Coats doesn't ignite the electorate, but he doesn't send it fleeing either.  He's not a wacko nutjob.  He's a career politician.

For Governor, it will be interesting who shakes out.  There are many fine candidates that are mayors around the state.  Also, don't forget John Gregg still is out there and actively campaigning.  If I were the Indiana Democratic Party, I'd concentrate on finding the right guy or gal for the job.  It's crucial to win that office especially if Mike Pence decides to run for the hills and run for President.

Glenda Ritz announced last week that she would like to run for reelection in 2016, and she won't have to work too hard to get her party's nod at the Indiana Democratic State Convention.  An effort to put together a strong ticket with an Attorney General to go with Ritz is critical.

Then there's the question of the General Assembly.  I can't imagine the Republicans can squeeze out too many more seats.  These things will have to start snapping back at some point, but I've been surprised before.  I didn't think they could top 70, and they did.

The national ticket will take care of itself.  If Bernie Sanders runs, I might have to give him a long look.  Yes, I know he likely couldn't win a national election.  He's too far left, but the issues that he advocates for are right at the core of the Democratic Party.  Bernie may not be our nominee, but he deserves a place at the table.  He has a backbone, and he's not afraid to show it.

Speaking of backbone, it's time to turn the party back over to Howard Dean.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been a disaster as a party leader.  Dean is the man that can bring Democrats back to power.

Well, 2016 seems like a long way away, but we'll be talking polling, primaries, and caucuses before you know it.


Doug Meagher said...

First, defend the President's accomplishments. Second, advocate the progressive public policies that are the hallmark of our Party without reserve. Third, offer a clear alternative to the Indiana republicans; work to create an electoral majority rather than just attracting enough votes from the opposition to win now and then. Being a timid, pale echo isn't winning us anything.

politics that work said...

Good article. IMO, the core problem facing the US at present is the way that wages have failed to keep up with rising productivity. The root causes of this problem are that employers and healthcare companies are eating up too much. Those are two problems that the GOP can't even try to address politically, but there are plenty of liberal solutions available- minimum wage increases, strengthening collective bargaining rights, a public option, more progressive taxation, etc. The public is extremely aware of this problem and is looking for a solution. The Democrats have the solutions, but they're too sheepish about putting them forward.