Contribute
CONNECT:

research

Next Up For The Dems Is… Obama?

- August 15, 2017

Democrats Are Trying To Move On To 2018, But The Lack Of Young, Qualified Candidates Has An Old Favorite Coming Back To Lend A Hand

______________________________________________________________

TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • DNC Chair Tom Perez acknowledged that the decimation of the Democratic Party at the state level has hurt their ability to develop talent on the national stage.
  • In the four contested 2017 special elections, the Democrats' bench was thin and underqualified compared to the lineup that Republicans fielded.
  • In Texas, where Democrats expressed optimism earlier this year, they are having trouble recruiting a candidate as several have already said they are unwilling to run.
  • Even though Barack Obama's campaigning for Hillary Clinton failed to win her the White House, Democrats have turned to Obama for help as they have almost no other big names available.
  • The Democrats' sustained losses over nearly a decade will continue to hurt the their Party for years to come.

__________________________________________________________________

THE DEMOCRATS' WEAK BENCH

The Democrats' Poor Performance In Recent Elections Will Continue To Haunt Them In The Foreseeable Future

DNC Chair Tom Perez Acknowledged That He And President Obama Understand The Loss Of Over 900 State Legislature Seats Has Eliminated Potential Stars "Because Tomorrow's President Is Today's State Senator." "'Because tomorrow's president is today's state senator. And he knows that very personally,' said Perez, referring to Obama's experience as a state senator in Illinois. 'When you lose 900 state legislative seats, those are people who could have been the next governors and senators and Cabinet positions, and that is something that he's very committed to.'" (Juliet Eilperin, "Obama Returns To Political Fray For A Democratic Party Cause," The Washington Post , 7/9/17)

  • Democrats Hold A Record-Low Number Of Governorships, And Republicans Hold A Record High. "It's not immediately clear why Justice is doing an about-face. But the fact he is underscores just how fragile Democrats' hold on power is. With one politician's decision to switch parties, Democrats now hold a record-low number of governorships - and Republicans hold a record high." (Amber Phillips, "West Virginia's Governor Is Switching Parties. And Democrats Just Hit A New Low," The Washington Post , 8/3/17)
  • In 2017, Democrats Will Control Only 32 Percent Of Partisan Legislative Chambers. "Beginning next year, Republicans will control 67 of the 98 partisan legislative chambers, after winning new majorities in the Kentucky House, the Iowa Senate and the Minnesota Senate. Democrats picked up control of both the state Assembly and Senate in Nevada, and the New Mexico state House." (Reid Wilson, "Dems Hit New Low In State Legislatures," The Hill , 11/18/16)
  • Democrats Face A Stark Power Deficit In 2017, They Control Both Legislative Chambers And The Governorship In Only Six States. "In 2017, Democrats face an even starker power deficit, despite Hillary Clinton, Bill's wife, having won the presidential popular vote last November. Trump sits in the White House, while Republicans control both the House and Senate and two-thirds of U.S. statehouses. In 25 states, Republicans control the entire legislature and the governors. Democrats have that dominance in just six states, none between the West Coast and the Northeast." (Bill Barrow, "Democrats Launch Group Aimed At Republican Strongholds," The Associated Press , 8/8/17)

David Axelrod, Former Chief Strategist For President Obama, Said, "The [Democrat] Bench Is Not Apparent Right Now." "'The bench is not apparent right now,' said David Axelrod, the chief strategist for Mr. Obama's presidential campaigns. 'There are some impressive young leaders, but who among them is the next presidential nominee I can't answer. A lot of them are not there yet.'" (Jennifer Steinhauer, "Democrats' Weak Bench Undermines Hope Of Taking Back Senate," The New York Times , 8/25/16)

In 2016 The Democrats Counted On A Strong Hillary Clinton Campaign To Make Up For A Weak Bench

Secretary Clinton's "Pseudo-Incumbency" Was Meant To Paper Over The Democratic Party's Disadvantages, Like A Weak Bench. "And from the top of the party to its grass roots, Mrs. Clinton's pseudo-incumbency is papering over significant disadvantages: a weak bench, a long-term House minority and a white middle class defecting to the Republican Party faster than the Democrats' hoped-for demographic future is expected to arrive." (Nicholas Confessore, Jonathan Martin, and Maggie Haberman, "Democrats See No Choice But Hillary Clinton In 2016," The New York Times , 3/11/15)

In 2016 Senate Races, Democrats Were Hurt By "Less-Than-Stellar" Candidates In Races That Were Important To Regaining The Majority . "But just as Senate Republicans blew their chances in 2010 and 2012 before finally taking control in 2014, Democrats find themselves hobbled by less-than-stellar candidates in races that could make the difference in winning a majority." (Jennifer Steinhauer, "Democrats' Weak Bench Undermines Hope Of Taking Back Senate," The New York Times , 8/25/16)

Congressional Democrats Were Counting On A Strong Clinton Campaign To Regain The Majority. "Congressional Democrats are counting on a strong Clinton campaign to help lift them back into the majority. Party leaders at all levels want her fund-raising help and demographic appeal." (Nicholas Confessore, Jonathan Martin, and Maggie Haberman, "Democrats See No Choice But Hillary Clinton In 2016," The New York Times , 3/11/15)

  • Clinton's Candidacy Was Central To House Democrats' Hopes Of Winning Back The Chamber. "For House Democrats, Mrs. Clinton's impending candidacy has figured centrally in pitches to donors, who are skeptical of their chances to win the chamber back." (Nicholas Confessore, Jonathan Martin, and Maggie Haberman, "Democrats See No Choice But Hillary Clinton In 2016," The New York Times , 3/11/15)

Now, In The Wake Of A Stinging Defeat, The Democratic Party's Bench Is Weaker Than Ever

The Weak Democratic Bench Makes It Hard Predict Who Will Emerge As A Face Of The Democratic Comeback In The Wake Of Hillary Clinton's Defeat. "It's hard to see who will lead the party back now. Smart analysts have been warning of the weak Democratic bench for years, but the Clinton loss makes it even more urgent." (David A. Graham, "Does The Democratic Party Have A Future?," The Atlantic , 11/9/16)

A Political Party, Much Like An Army, Must Bring Recruits Up Through The Ranks In Order To Have Effective Generals, However In The Democratic Party New Recruits Are Continually Being Voted Out Of Office. "Think of a political party like an Army. To have effective generals, you need to bring leaders up through the ranks. If everyone keeps getting killed off on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of any given November, you're not going to be able to win many battles." (Philip Bump, "The Decimation Of The Democratic Party, Visualized," The Washington Post , 11/10/16)

DURING THE FOUR CONTESTED 2017 SPECIAL ELECTIONS, DEMOCRATS FOUND THEMSELVES LIMITED BY THE SAME ISSUE:A WEAK BENCH

Once Again The Democrats Were Hurt By Weak Candidates In The 2017 Special Elections

Ross K. Baker, Rutgers Political Science Professor And Columnist, Said That " Republicans Simply Had Better Candidates" In All Four 2017 Special Elections. "What few recognized was a single factor common to all four campaigns: The Republicans simply had better candidates." (Op-Ed, Ross K. Baker, "Memo To Democrats After Special-Election Losses: Find Better Candidates," USA Today , 6/28/17)

In Four 2017 Special Elections, The Democrats' Bench Was "Pretty Thin Compared To The Lineup That Republicans Fielded." "Another lesson from this year's House races is the importance of the party's 'bench,' the pool of potential candidates you can recruit from. While Democrats are bullish about many of their 2018 House prospects, in these four special elections, the Democratic bench was pretty thin compared to the lineup that Republicans fielded. (James A. Barnes, "Democrats Beat The Spread. But That's Not Enough," CNN , 6/21/17)

In Kansas, There Was A Significant Experience Gap Between The Republican, Ron Estes (R-KS), A Former State Treasurer, And First-Time Democratic Candidate Jim Thompson. "The experience gap was conspicuous in the special election contest in Kansas between former state treasurer Ron Estes and Democrat Jim Thompson, a first-time candidate. Estes benefited from a $120,000 cash infusion from the National Republican Campaign Committee, while Thompson was turned down by the Kansas Democratic Party for a modest $20,000 contribution. Had Thompson mastered the other attribute of a quality candidate - fund-raising prowess - he might have done better." (Op-Ed, Ross K. Baker, "Memo To Democrats After Special-Election Losses: Find Better Candidates," USA Today , 6/28/17)

In South Carolina, Democrats Picked Archie Parnell, A "66-Year-Old Former Managing Director Of Goldman-Sachs And Ex-Tax Attorney For ExxonMobil" To Run Against A Former Five Term State Legislator Ralph Norman (R-SC). "In South Carolina, Democrats turned to Parnell, a 66-year-old former managing director of Goldman-Sachs and ex-tax attorney for ExxonMobil, who also worked on the House Ways and Means Committee from 1976-1980. Republicans had as their standard-bearer Norman, a former five-term state legislator who had represented a chunk of vote-rich York County." (James A. Barnes, "Democrats Beat The Spread. But That's Not Enough," CNN , 6/21/17)

In Montana, Greg Gianforte (R-MT) Had Considerable Business Experience While The Democratic Nominee Rob Quist Was A Folk Singer. "Neither Republican Greg Gianforte nor Democrat Rob Quist had ever held office or been a candidate. But Gianforte had considerable business and entrepreneurial experience that often serves as a surrogate for office-holding. Quist was a folk singer with no government experience aside from having been appointed to the Montana Arts Council." (Op-Ed, Ross K. Baker, "Memo To Democrats After Special-Election Losses: Find Better Candidates," USA Today , 6/28/17)

In Georgia, A Seat Democrats Viewed As Ripe For An Upset, They Fielded A First-Time Candidate Who Did Not Even Live In The District Against A Veteran Politician, And Lost Despite Spending $31 Million

In Georgia The Democrats Ran Jon Ossoff, A 30-Year-Old Former Congressional Aide, He Faced A Former Secretary Of State And Former Chair Of The Fulton County Board Of Commissioners In Karen Handel (R-GA). "In Georgia, Democrat Ossoff was a 30-year-old former congressional aide going up against a veteran pol in Handel, who was a former secretary of state and former chair of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners." (James A. Barnes, "Democrats Beat The Spread. But That's Not Enough," CNN , 6/21/17)

  • Ossoff Admitted That He Did Not Live In The District He Was Running To Represent. "Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff said Tuesday he's 'been very transparent' about the fact that he lives outside the Georgia district he is running to represent, telling CNN that he moved outside it to accommodate his girlfriend's medical studies." (Louis Nelson, "Ossoff Defends Living Outside District Where He's Running," Politico , 4/18/17)

Ossoff Lost The Georgia Special Election Despite Hopes That The High-Income Area Where Hillary Clinton Performed Well Was "Ripe For An Upset." "In Georgia, Republican nominee Karen Handel beat back a challenge from Democratic hopeful Jon Ossoff, 52%-48%, in a suburban district north of Atlanta that was supposed to be ripe for an upset, because it was the kind of college educated, largely upper-income turf where Hillary Clinton had performed well against Trump." (James A. Barnes, "Democrats Beat The Spread. But That's Not Enough," CNN , 6/21/17)

During The Georgia-06 Special Election, Ossoff Spent $30,288,428.25 To Handel's $6,158,885.71. (“Georgia District 06,” Federal Election Commission, Accessed 8/15/17)

Despite His Loss, Ossoff Was A Panelist At Netroots Speaking To Progressive Democrats About How To Win Elections In 2018 On A Panel Called "Leaving It All On The Field: The Midterm Elections In The Resistance Era ." "Jon Ossoff will be a panelist at Netroots Nation's conference in Atlanta on Saturday speaking about how to win elections - even though he lost his race earlier this summer. The progressive organization's annual conference will feature Ossoff, the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Georgia's 6th Congressional District special election, and three others in a Saturday morning panel 'Leaving it all on the Field: The Midterm Elections in the Resistance Era.'" (Anna Giaritelli, "Jon Ossoff Featured On Panel About Winning Elections Despite Losing Election," The Washington Examiner , 8/10/17)

IN THE TEXAS GOVERNOR'S RACE, THE DEMOCRATS HAVE NO CANDIDATE AT ALL

Texas Democrats Had Hoped That 2018 Would Be A Great Year For Them

Democrats Hope That A Booming Hispanic Population Will Help Them Make A Resurgence In Texas, A State Where They Haven't Won A Governor's Race In Nearly Three Decades. "Democrats haven't won a Texas governor's race in nearly three decades, but a booming Hispanic population and the party's dominance of the state's largest cities have made them willing to invest in the contest to keep hopes of an eventual resurgence alive." (Will Weissert, "A New Low: Texas Democrats Don't Have Candidate For Governor," The Associated Press , 8/8/17)

On The DNC Unity Tour In Texas, Bernie Sanders Said "Don't Tell Me We Cannot Win In Each And Every State Of This Country, Including In The Great State Of Texas." "Sanders said, scoffing at people who claim red states like Texas are out of reach for Democrats. 'When you've got people working longer hours for lower wages, when you've got right-wing governors attempting to throw people off of health insurance and tax breaks for billionaires, don't tell me we cannot win in each and every state of this country, including in the great state of Texas.'" (Patrick Svitek, "Sanders Brings Democratic Unity To North Texas," The Texas Tribune , 4/20/17)

Gilberto Hinojosa, Chairman Of The Texas Democratic Party Said, "Mark My Words: 2018 Will Be The Best Midterm Of Our Lives." "'Mark my words: 2018 will be the best midterm of our lives, but it won't be easy,' said Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party." (Patrick Svitek, "Sanders Brings Democratic Unity To North Texas," The Texas Tribune , 4/20/17)

Democrats Have Been Unable To Find A Candidate Willing To Run For Governor In 2018, Which Could Hurt Their Chances Of Recovery Down The Road

Democratic Leaders Haven't Lined Up A Substantial Candidate To Lead The Ticket In 2018 Despite Months Of Trying. "Democratic leaders haven't yet lined up a substantial name to represent the party and its message despite months of trying. Any continued faith in a Democratic turnaround in Texas is now colliding with pessimism that it will happen anytime soon." (Will Weissert, "A New Low: Texas Democrats Don't Have Candidate For Governor," The Associated Press , 8/8/17)

  • Several Big Name Candidates Who Were Long Expected To Run For Governor Have Opted Out Of The 2018 Race. "Several big-name Democrats have opted against a 2018 race for governor. This was the year that former U.S. Housing Secretary and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro was supposed to make a long-anticipated campaign for governor. He declined." (Gromer Jeffers Jr, "Texas Democrats Searching For A 'Dynamic, Authentic' Candidate For Governor In 2018," The Dallas Morning News , 7/12/17)
  • Leading State Representatives Have Been Approached For The Candidacy And All Have Declined. "Other leaders have not stepped up. Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas and former Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio at this point won't be in the statewide mix in 2018, though both have been mentioned and approached for statewide candidacies." (Gromer Jeffers Jr, "Texas Democrats Searching For A 'Dynamic, Authentic' Candidate For Governor In 2018," The Dallas Morning News , 7/12/17)
  • When A Prominent Democratic Fundraiser Attempted To Recruit A Well-Known Businessman To Run, He Was Met With Laughter. "Arthur Schechter, a Houston attorney and prominent Democratic fundraiser who helped organize events for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, said he recently tried to recruit a well-known businessman who is economically conservative but more progressive on social issues to run for governor. 'I thought we could raise some money for him very quickly and get him underway," Schechter said. "But he just chuckled at me.'" (Will Weissert, "A New Low: Texas Democrats Don't Have Candidate For Governor," The Associated Press , 8/8/17)
  • The Lack Of A Serious Candidate In 2018 Coupled With Their Poor Showings In 2010 And 2014 Could Make It Difficult For The Democrats To Capitalize Even If There Is A Favorable Demographic Shift Down The Road. "And the lack of a serious 2018 candidate, following the dismal showing of the Democrats in the 2010 and 2014 governor's races, could make it harder to capitalize later if the political climate improves, as the party expects. 'You run the risk of looking irrelevant,' Rottinghaus said." (Will Weissert, "A New Low: Texas Democrats Don't Have Candidate For Governor," The Associated Press , 8/8/17)

WITH SUCH A WEAK BENCH THE DEMOCRATS ARE FORCED TO TURN TO OLD FACES

With Few Democrats Elected To Lower Level Offices That Are More Accessible To Younger Candidates, They Are Forced To Turn To Older Candidates To Find Their Rising Stars

In The Wake Of Obama, Democrats Face A Problem Because "As Much As It Advertises Itself As The Party Of A Rising Generation, The Democrats' Farm Team Is Severely Understaffed, And Many Of Its Leading Lights Are Eligible For Social Security." "A vexing reality for the post-Obama Democratic Party: As much as it advertises itself as the party of a rising generation, the Democrats' farm team is severely understaffed, and many of its leading lights are eligible for Social Security." (Nicholas Confessore, Jonathan Martin, and Maggie Haberman, "Democrats See No Choice But Hillary Clinton In 2016," The New York Times , 3/11/15)

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) And Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Are Both Candidates That Have Generated Interest, But They Will Both Be More Than 70 Years Old On Election Day In 2020. " Bernie Sanders electrified many voters, and there's a raging battle among progressives today over whether he might have fared better in a general election, but given that he is 75 today, he is unlikely to be a repeat candidate for president. Who then? Elizabeth Warren is widely loved by the most progressive Democrats, but she, too is aging-she'll be 71 on Election Day 2020-and somewhat unproven, having only won a single election in the bluest state in America." (David A. Graham, "Does The Democratic Party Have A Future?," The Atlantic , 11/9/16)

President Barack Obama Is Reentering The Political Scene To Campaign For Fellow Democrats

Less Than Six Months After He Left Office, President Obama "Will Formally Reenter The Political Fray." "Former president Barack Obama will formally reenter the political fray this week less than six months after leaving office, headlining a fundraiser for a group that could prove critical to the Democratic Party's rebuilding efforts." (Juliet Eilperin, "Obama Returns To Political Fray For A Democratic Party Cause," The Washington Post , 7/9/17)

His Work Will Focus On Fundraising And Campaigning For Fellow Democrats Like Ralph Northam, The Candidate For Governor Of Virginia. "Many of his efforts will center on fundraising and campaigning for people like Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam, experts say Obama needs to be careful with Donald Trump." (Julia Glum, "Obama Is Returning To Politics This Fall, And Trump Isn't Going To Like It," Newsweek , 8/12/17)

Obama Has Been Historically Unable To Aid Fellow Democrats Up And Down The Ballot

Democrats Lost More Power During Obama's Presidency Than Any Other Two-Term President Since World War II. "Democrats suffered a greater loss of power during Obama's tenure than under any other two-term president since World War II." (Juliet Eilperin, "Obama Returns To Political Fray For A Democratic Party Cause," The Washington Post , 7/9/17)

President Obama's Popularity "Could Not Save [Hillary] Clinton" Proving That He Doesn't Have The Capacity To "Single-Handedly Drag A Democratic Nominee Over The Finish Line." "Obama, whose strong popularity ratings could not save Clinton, will remain a leader for the party for years to come, but he will never top a ballot again, and this cycle proved that he doesn't have the capacity to single-handedly drag a Democratic nominee over the finish line, either." (David A. Graham, "Does The Democratic Party Have A Future?," The Atlantic , 11/9/16)

In The 2016 Election, Republicans Gained 46 Seats In State Legislatures, While Democrats Lost The Same Number . "Republicans picked up a net gain of 46 seats in Tuesday's elections, while Democrats lost 46 seats, according to the latest vote counts from The Associated Press." (Reid Wilson, "Dems Hit New Low In State Legislatures," The Hill , 11/18/16)


Previous post

Meet Four Dem Senators Telling Donors They’re In For 2020

Next post

Justified
Republican National Committee

Connect With Us

Republican National Committee
Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
News & Videos
  • 310 First Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
  • 202-863-8500

By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive calls and SMS/MMS msgs, including autodialed and automated calls and texts, to that number from the Republican National Committee. Msg&data rates may apply. Terms & conditions/privacy policy apply 80810-info.com.

Paid for by the Republican National Committee. Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee. www.gop.com

By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive calls and SMS/MMS msgs, including autodialed and automated calls and texts, to that number from the Republican National Committee. Msg&data rates may apply. Terms & conditions/privacy policy apply 80810-info.com.

Paid for by the Republican National Committee.
Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee. www.gop.com