The Democrats’ heyday took place from 2006 through 2009. During those few years, the Party “worked hard to attune itself to the national mood,” offers Kimberley A. Strassel in the WSJ.
Nancy Pelosi in 2006 proposed a modest agenda, with proposals like college tuition, clean energy, and stem-cell research. She recruited centrist candidates, and their victories reclaimed the House for Democrats for the first time since 1994. Barack Obama built on this in 2008, with a promise to unite red and blue America.
Then in 2009, it all imploded. The $800 billion stimulus bill, coupled with the forced passage of ObamaCare, was the impetus for picking off Mrs. Pelosi’s Blue Dogs.
Democrats hemorrhaged away a filibuster-proof Senate majority. Under the usual rules of politics, a party that fails to convince the public of its ideas goes back to the drawing board. It conducts “autopsies,” turns to new leaders, modulates its agenda.
Only this time, the left didn’t bother …
Instead it nominated Hillary Clinton, whose progressive platform (and 10-ton baggage) didn’t sell. It was Democrats who handed the presidency to Donald Trump—who in turn appointed three Supreme Court justices. Even after the extraordinary loss in 2016, the Democrats didn’t bother to recalibrate, instead spending four years throwing fuel on institutional bonfires.
Democrats might have at least noted that Mr. Biden won his nomination by promising not to be Bernie Sanders. They might have noted that Mr. Biden (barely) won the presidency primarily by not being Mr. Trump, and on a narrow promise to do something about Covid. They instead took his victory as license to impose a Sanders-like agenda that now draws a straight line to the current economic mess and Democratic problems this fall.
Even if Democrats acknowledge these failures, Ms. Strassel asks, is it now too late?
Mr. Biden can’t fix inflation and other big problems by November, so the party figures it may as well campaign against the high court. But sooner or later, Democrats are going to need to perform that autopsy. Or risk longer-term decline.
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