Democrats Have Worked Through the Stages of Their Grief — Now What?

downloadIn “The Kübler-Ross Politics of 2017,” Amy Walter of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report sums up where both political parties stand now. Here’s a sample:

The shift in mood among Democrats over the last year has been as dramatic. It’s been a bit like watching someone work through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief. Democrats spent much of December of 2016 in a state of disbelief: Did that really happen? How did that happen? By early 2017 they had moved on to anger: Hillary ran a terrible campaign; Democrats had no message; the Obama coalition is unsustainable. By spring there was bargaining: We must not focus our attacks on Trump or his voters. We have to make peace with the white working class electorate who is anxious and angry and desperate for real change. Democratic leaders in Washington tamped down talk of impeachment and focused instead on “A Better Deal.”

Today, however, that reticence is gone. Democratic senators are openly calling for the President to resign over allegations of sexual harassment. Not one red state Democrat supported the GOP tax bill. The fear of Trump and his legions of establishment-hating voters has receded. Democrats are now living off the adrenaline and energy that comes with an awakening of their own base; a base that was disillusioned and dispirited in 2016. Anger is the most powerful GOTV force there is.

Republicans More Optimistic About Their Party


Of Republicans say they are very or somewhat optimistic about the future of the Republican Party, according to Pew Research. “In early November, on the eve of the election, 61% of Republicans expressed optimism about their party’s future. … Democrats’ optimism about their party’s future has declined by a comparable margin over the same period – though a majority (61%) continues to be optimistic. Before the election, 77% of Democrats were optimistic about the party’s future, which is almost identical to the share of Republicans who are upbeat about their party’s now.”

Democrats Have 5-to1 Advantage Over GOP in Ground Game

5 to 1

Number of paid Democratic staffers versus the number of Republicans, according to an NBC News analysis of Federal Election Commission filings. “At the end of August, the most recent date for which data is available, Democrats employed at least 4,200 people working to elect Hillary Clinton, with about 800 at the Clinton campaign, 400 at the Democratic National Committee, and nearly 3,000 on the payrolls of state parties in 13 battleground states, which typically employ a majority of field organizers. … Republicans, meanwhile, employed about 880 people during the same period, with about 130 at the Donald Trump campaign, another 270 at the Republican National Committee, and roughly 480 at the 13 state parties.”

Is a Third Party Emerging?

Listen to the early sounds of the 2016 presidential campaign, in which candidates of the left and the right sound almost identical populist, anti-Wall Street, antiestablishment themes, and the idea doesn’t seem so crazy. When you have Republican presidential contenders opposing free-trade agreements, and at least one backing an increase in the minimum wage; when Democratic firebrand Bernie Sanders (technically an independent to begin with) is speaking to overflow crowds; and when left and right come together to halt a prominent national-security program backed by the foreign-policy establishment—well, something is going on.

— Gerald Seib, in the Wall Street Journal (login required).

Voters Appear Set to Hand Control of Congress to the Party They Like Least

House Speaker Boehner, left, and prospective Senate Majority Leader McConnell
House Speaker Boehner, left, has a 28% favorable rating; prospective Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s is 25%, according to GOP-leaning Rasmussen

With the midterm elections less than a month away, polling suggests that voters will give the Republican Party majorities in both houses of Congress for the first time since 2006, when they booted GOP out of power after its disastrous six year run as George W. Bush’s “Rubberstamp Congress.”

The NBC poll found that while 59 percent of Republicans say they’re engaged in the election, just 47 percent of Democrats are paying attention

FiveThirtyEight gives Republicans a 60 percent chance of taking the Senate, and, largely because of Republican gerrymandering in 2011, there is little chance Democrats will take back the House. To keep their majority in the Senate, Democrats need to hold and/or win six seats, including five current seats in red and purple states — Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and New Hampshire — and one blue state that looks wobbly, Colorado. They are likely to hold the open seat in Michigan, the race for the open seat in Georgia is considered winnable, and — if they’re having a good night — upsets are possible in Kansas and South Dakota.

How likely is that Democrats will have a good night on Nov. 4? An NBC poll this week found that likely voters favor a Republican-led Congress by two points, 46/44 percent, while the larger cohort of registered voters prefer to put Dems in charge by the same margin, 46/42 percent. The preference for Democratic-control by registered voters ought to be encouraging — the Dems have put time and money into getting out the vote in critical states — but NBC also found that while 59 percent of Republicans say they’re engaged in the election, just 47 percent of Democrats are paying attention.