First, let me remind you of the obvious facts. The Republican Party controls not just the Presidency but both Houses of Congress. There is very little at the moment to point to as strengths of the Democratic Party. Why is this true? To me it is very clear. We Democrats have not only forgotten about many states, but we have also forgotten about many of the people, particularly those who feel left out today, within states where we have some strength. The result is fewer Governors elected and most legislatures in Republican hands. This, for now, leaves Republicans in charge of reapportionment and the gerrymandering that follows for both state and congressional district maps. With a new decennial census coming, now would have been a very good time for more savvy and in tune Democratic leadership. I expanded on this idea a bit more in my recent blog post, “Reflecting on the 2016 Presidential Election.”
So what did the Democrats do when electing their new leadership for the coming two years? They re-elected the same team that got us to where we are now. I respect Leader Pelosi and acknowledge she has had much success. Similarly, I like Assistent Leader Steny Hoyer. He was a big help to me when I was the Archivist of the United States. But they represent the past and only coastal states, leaving out that broad area in between. How can they lead to a future that expands our base by reaching out effectively to the young and the many who feel left out? Then, in the Senate, we have Senator Schumer from New York who is experienced and skilled but has little appeal to the key, broad middle of the country.
Coming soon is the selection of a new National Chair of the Democratic Party. We tried a part-time chair the last time, and I believe most would agree that didn’t work. We need one that is obviously capable, appeals to a broad segment of the entire country, and will certainly give their full attention to leading the party in a direction that includes all fifty states.
If this country is going to get its act together in so many key areas, it will be the Democratic Party this time that will have to respond and step up to the challenges we face. With much of the Republican Party at the national level currently controlled by the far right, progress will depend on a much more practical and effective Democratic Party. That hasn’t always been the case, but it is today and the future of the country just might depend on it.