Nancy Pelosi just got re-elected to lead the House Democrats, but almost a third of them voted for a much younger representative who urged the party to shift focus in a major way. Hillary Clinton underperformed among minorities and young people, which contributed in a big way towards her loss in the presidential election. And Barack Obama, in a Rolling Stone "exit interview" just revived one of the major Democratic problems he ran against, by saying: "The point is that politics in a big, diverse country like this requires us to move the ball forward not in one long Hail Mary to the end zone, but to, you know, systemically make progress." This, from a man who ran on: "Yes we can!' as a campaign slogan.
Archive of Articles for November, 2016
Sorry, but there will be no new column today, as I am busy getting the annual pledge drive together. There will be kittens. Consider yourselves duly warned!
-- Chris Weigant
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant
Mitt Romney may soon be faced with a dilemma. If Donald Trump offers him the job of secretary of State, should Mitt take it? Normally this wouldn't even be an open question, much less a dilemma. The position is one of the most prestigious in the federal government, and any career politician would jump at the chance to fill it, in normal times. But this is Donald Trump's administration we're talking about, which will complicate Romney's choice (to put it mildly).
A key question now worth contemplating -- right before everyone goes home for Thanksgiving (and the inevitable family political squabbles) -- is how many of the promises Donald Trump made to his supporters can he break before they'll abandon him? Because so far, Trump has been doing some pretty serious backpedaling on some of [...]
Deficit hawk sightings used to be quite common in Washington, D.C., but early indications are that this bird's about to become a lot rarer. It may even wind up on the endangered species list, in fact. This sort of thing normally happens every time a Republican is in the White House (remember Dick Cheney's infamous "deficits don't matter" line?), but this time around it's already looking like the deficit hawks could disappear entirely from within the Beltway.
We have one prediction for Donald Trump's presidency that we haven't noticed elsewhere, so we thought it worth mentioning up front. Donald Trump will quite likely use the "bully pulpit" of the presidency better than anyone since the man who coined the term, Teddy Roosevelt. Well, Franklin Roosevelt certainly connected with the people, so maybe that's an unfair omission, but no matter who you put on the list of presidents who effectively used public opinion against Congress, Trump is very likely going to wind up pretty high on that list.
Change is coming soon to the Democratic National Committee. The D.N.C. will elect a new chair soon, and so far the two frontrunners for the position seem to be Representative Keith Ellison and ex-D.N.C. Chair Howard Dean. Both bring interesting skills to the table, but both also have their drawbacks. Who the party elects is going to be crucial to their chances of rebuilding and fielding good candidates for the next few elections. It will also be crucial for the Democrats' chances of getting a clear and strong message out to the public of what, precisely, they stand for. Since Democrats will have no president or congressional majority leaders for the next two years, the D.N.C. chair will become not only the leader of the party, but also likely the most prominent voice in the media as well.
The Democratic Party is currently struggling with the question of who should be leading it, heading into the future. Should they stick with known leaders, or is it time for fresh blood? Most notable in this power struggle are the questions of who should lead the Democrats in the House, and who should lead the Democratic National Committee. The Senate had largely decided their own leadership question before the election, since Harry Reid had already announced his retirement. The Senate leadership handoff that just happened had already been worked out months ago, and Senator Chuck Schumer will (starting in January) be known as Minority Leader Schumer for the next two years. Over on the House side, a fierce debate is taking place as to whether Nancy Pelosi should continue as the Democratic leader or whether someone younger might be a better option. The D.N.C. leadership may be the biggest fight of all, though, as multiple candidates have already thrown their hats in the ring.
Democrats are, to put it mildly, in disarray right now. There's a very open debate taking place as to which direction the party should head, and who should be leading it. This is all normal after losing an election. The 2016 election was a disaster at the top of the ticket, but wasn't so bad further down. Democrats actually picked up some House seats, and flipped two Senate seats back. Of course, this was disappointing because they had expected to pick up a lot more seats in both houses, but it could have been much worse -- Republicans might have expanded their majorities.