It is not unusual for the party that loses a presidential election to make quality inroads in congress, as well as in state races - including always-important contests for governorships - when the mid-term elections are held two years later.
But will that be the case this time around? Not likely, if the tenor of the hard left inside the Democratic Party does not modify by even a little.
A piece over at Politico does a good job outlining the concerns of many moderate Democrats about the immediate future of the party and its political influence.
There are 27 Republican-held governors’ seats up for grabs in 2018, and while those contests present a great opportunity for the Dems to regain some national traction, the vicious – and worsening, apparently – infighting inside of the party between moderates and progressives may well see that opportunity vanish into thin air.
The last Democrat to serve as governor of South Carolina, Jim Hodges, outlines the core problem:
“Here’s the challenge in many Southern states now: You have a more liberal primary base, because the more moderate voters are less likely to participate in Southern primaries, so it makes it more dicey. That certainly presents an opportunity for candidates who want to make a point rather than win an election — those candidates are less likely to be successful in a general election. In Southern states, you’re going to need candidates who have more moderate stances to be successful.”
While the internal, progressive threat to the party comes in the form of a variety of factions, one particular group making a lot of noise is the post-presidential election manifestation of Bernie Sanders’ effort to win the White House, an outfit called Our Revolution.
The organization probably doesn’t need much more explaining beyond the name – it is what you think it is.
Anyway, according to Politico, Our Revolution is a good example of an effort that is concerning to more moderate and otherwise “establishment” Democrats in commonwealths where cacophonous progressive outcries don’t play well to the electorate, including – and especially – in southern states.
As Stacey Abrams, Minority Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives and prospective 2018 candidate for her state’s governorship, puts it, “It is critical to recognize that there is a different set of policy issues in the Deep South that are not in play in the coastal areas or the West. My hope is that Our Revolution — or anyone else — will understand that purity to a progressive ideal does not [necessarily] mean purity in service of the community.”
Good luck with that, Stacey.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large