Why Democrats Have More to Lose in November
November 9th, 2016. America will have chosen its next President.
Let’s assume, for a second, that our new President is a Republican — say, Trump, Cruz, Rubio, or in some bizarro world, Ben Carson or Jeb Bush. Bernie fans weren’t pleased with Hillary getting the nomination, and as such the Democrats suffer a crushing defeat due to a lack of voter turnout.
They’re, to put it bluntly, screwed. You see, should the Republicans lose the election, the GOP will be forced to reboot itself — but that’s what it’s been toying with all along.
The Republicans have taken advantage of the fact that they haven’t won a Presidential election since 2004 by trying so desperately to answer the “Where to next?” question. In 2008, it rallied behind John McCain as a traditional answer to the then-apocalyptic fears of an Obama presidency. In 2012, Romney tried to invoke a Reagan-esque picture of American optimism and, unsuccessfully, argued that he was the one to bring a limping economy back on its feet. In the background, the Tea Party emerged as a “more constitutional” antidote to the Occupy movement. In 2016, the Republicans find themselves with diverging paths for the future of their Party: a hardcore-conservative Cruz, an idiosyncratic Trump, and a “traditionalist” Rubio, Kasich, or Bush.
Fortunately enough for the GOP, should one fail in November, they’re left with two other backup plans for the future.
The Democrats aren’t nearly as lucky.
The 2016 general election will be the largest test the left has faced in years, and it’s a consequence of the party rallying behind the progressive shouts of leaders like Obama, Clinton, and Sanders, while immediately shunning more moderate blue-dog candidates like Jim Webb. In November, the left will be faced with a referendum on the path of its bullet train of social justice, and if they lose…
Where to next?
The Democratic Party has found itself with the dilemma of putting all of its eggs into one basket. Party leadership (and, admittedly, voters) have banked on a progressive message of hope and change, and should Hillary or Bernie find themselves in the White House come January, it will have paid off. But if the GOP pulls off a victory — especially with one of the more extremist candidates, like Cruz or Trump — the Democrats will have lost not just an election, but the principles of its party. Hot-button, progressive issues like same-sex marriage and protecting the environment have fallen out of the purview of the electorate, and their replacements — namely the acceptance of Syrian refugees, various police brutality countermeasures, and abortion rights — are incredibly controversial and divisive, and loud, vitriolic rebuttals fall on receptive ears. Should the Democrats lose in November, they will have no choice but to completely revamp their platform and find out what does appeal to voters.
The years since President Obama’s reelection in 2012 have been some of the most divisive ones in American history, and should a candidate like Trump win this November, it’ll be the Democrats tasked with the hardest job: finding out exactly why Americans changed their minds over the past four years.