You know how much I enjoy a Shawshank reference. You could also say the party is like Tommy. Things are starting to look up, we’ve dominated congress, state and local elections and are about to run against the most unpopular democrat in a generation and boom, the warden has us shot while having a cigarette.
A couple things: That Reagan story is a frustrating myth. He visited the Neshoba County Fair (miles from Philadelphia) shortly after the convention, not to launch his campaign. He launched 9 months earlier via video as they sometimes did at the time. Mississippi was a battleground back then. And he followed that visit with a northern barnstorming designed to reach out to black voters. And the Neshoba speech was no more about state rights than any other Reagan speech over 4 decades — we believe in federalism and limited government. Ironically, Carter DID open his campaign in Alabama in the same town as the then national HQ of the KKK which Reagan criticized him for.
Not just fact checking you but also pointing out that on top of the real problems we have (conceded) the fundamental problems of the party are often overstated and people are painted with an unfair broad brush. In fact, when the media/left call Reagan a racist, or Bush a lunatic, or Romney an extremist, or some other BS, it’s so much harder to convince people that Trump really is a bad guy. Nobody believes anything anymore.
With all of that said, yes, party has to consider what the problem is as I point to above. Sure, there is a rural/urban issue and a Wall Street — Main Street issue. That should feel familiar to Democrats as well. Our leaders are making false promises (repeal with Obama in office), are speaking above voters about agendas rather than everyday anxieties and have allowed core issues like free trade to be defined by our opponents. And that immigration thing remains unresolved.
I do think that many Democrats often think the answer to Republican problems is to move left. The party may be getting passed by with young voters on a couple issues like marriage, sure, but the idea of freedom, enterprise, individual rights and government staying the hell out of your way can still be hip, man.
If Trump decides to take a Moscow vacation rather than run for president, we’d still be looking at 1000 seats gained under Obama and a solid shot at the WH. So we shouldn’t overreact. But I do concede we have some ugly times ahead in a river of shit and some major problems to resolve.
Finally, the Bernie bros sure felt like a rising issue of your own. Don’t get complacent.