Tuesday, August 02, 2016

bruce wilder 08.02.16 at 7:41 pm

RP @ 40:

I think it’s useful for analysis to distinguish each Party’s Presidential Party from the Party’s Congressional Parties and numerous State Parties.

The Democrats have a strong Presidential Party in the long-standing Clinton organization and because Obama, a Democrat with whom the Clintonites are politically and ideologically congenial, has been President successfully for nearly 8 years, with all that implies for patronage, fundraising and so on.

The Republicans have a weak Presidential Party, the weakest since Wendall Willkie. People talk as if Trump is causing that weakness, when he is the product of that weakness. The singular failure of the Bush organization, with more money than they knew what to do with, deserves more attention.

I am sure fear of the down ballot consequences of Trump is real among Republicans, but we ought to notice that the Republican Party at the Congressional and State levels is not at all weak, generally. (Very weak in my own State, where it was once a powerhouse — Reagan and Nixon were Californians.)

The Democratic Party is weak in much of the country, including some States where Clinton is very competitive. The Congressional party is suffering under unusual degrees of gerrymandering and voter suppression precisely because of state level weakness. 31 States have Republican Governors — the Party is in no danger of confining itself to one region. 68 out of 98 partisan state legislative chambers are Republican, the most ever.

Clinton won’t be turning toward a campaign to win control of Congress or the States, because her politics depends on keeping the Republicans near enough to power so that she does not have to contend with left demands. She needs practical considerations to “dictate” her neoliberal course. She wants to have to choose “moderate” Supreme Court Justices, for example, so that she can be seen fighting to get them thru the Senate, just as Obama will need solid Republican support to get TPP thru in the lame duck.

No 50-state strategy from the Clinton Kaine crowd. To keep the breadth of the Democratic coalition at the Presidential level, she needs to keep the leftish trapped by lesser evilism even while she caters to the neocons and “moderate” Republicans drifting in from the Trump debacle. Which means she needs the “incompetence” of the likes of Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the Congressional and State levels of Party organizing.

It is a tricky thing. The Dems are coming to their demographic turnover several years later than the Republicans. Pelosi and Reid will be gone at last. Sanders, at 75, won’t persist. The under 35 millennials have very different economic experiences and interests, a radically different experience of social class, in contrast to the boomers and early gen-X.

Clinton’s pretend and extend status quo politics are heading into rough policy waters and that is another consideration: whether her politics is ready to adapt over the next 4 years when policies that kinda worked in the past run out of road. I am thinking of zero interest rate macro or superpower middle east politics of bully bombing and drone strikes. We are in a period of escalating violence with political overtones that is likely to continue to 2020. And, a weather disaster or three are going to bring all the contradictions of climate policy to a head. She is coming into power with high negatives and Trump will attack her legitimacy hard.

It is just possible I think, that the Dems collapse at the state level (to loose the dead hand of a Clinton DNC) and come back at the state level as a very young Party, with boy and girl wonder governors and the like.

bruce wilder 08.02.16 at 8:02 pm

I think the U.S. Party system, in the political science sense, shifted to a new state during George W Bush’s administration as, in Kevin Phillip’s terms the Republican Party was taken over by Theocrats and Bad Money.

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