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The Dems are down and out and don't seem to know it

The Democrats have lost their way. They no longer represent the working class or the middle class as they continue to fall behind. They have lost America's heartland and small towns and rural areas.

Look at the political power shift to the right. The Democrats have 12 fewer U.S. senators than when President Barack Obama was sworn in, 63 fewer House members and 16 fewer governors. They have the lowest number of state legislators in more than 100 years. In only six states do Democrats control both the governorship and the legislature — the lowest number in our history. Other than President Obama, Democrats have a severe messaging problem and a dearth of winning candidates; the party is a fundamental mess.

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Most importantly, Democrats have forgotten their roots in the economic goals of the Roosevelt New Deal and the Johnson Great Society. They have abandoned an inclusive message. They slice and dice the electorate. They are now the party of diversity, and ethnic- and racial- and gender- identity. They advocate cultural issues at the expense of jobs and other working class issues.

Too many of them they look down on "the deplorables" and the poorly educated, the very ones who turned to Donald Trump for change and some glimmer of hope for themselves. This election revealed the emergence of white and other working class Americans who feel abandoned and threatened by Washington and Wall Street and the institutions and elites they represent. Some of this was nativism, e.g., a reaction to the persistent flow of illegal immigrants into the country, now augmented by new refugees from the Middle East. These white Americans feel their very identity is under attack.

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In "Strangers in Their Own Land," Arlie Hochschild, a noted liberal Berkeley sociologist, reports her study of tea party backers in Louisiana and, to her surprise, why they had become Republicans. She found deep resentment among them that certain minority groups were being advanced ahead of them in the wait-your-turn line toward a better life.

Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders made clear the reason they were running for office, and each projected a strong message that moved American voters. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton ran a staid, vision-free campaign. Her support from Wall Street and the financial industry smelled of political corruption, and this emerged as a critical issue in her campaign. Moreover, the political corruption within the Democratic Party establishment, including its anti-democratic super delegate system, stacked the deck against Mr. Sanders and other potential truly liberal candidates.

Surprisingly, since their November electoral failures, Democrats show little recognition of their current dreadful state of affairs. Little explicit admission, no looking inward, no change, business as usual.

Congressman Tim Ryan's run against Nancy Pelosi for minority leader offered new blood and a change in leadership. He received 64 votes by secret ballot — one-third of House Democrats — but only 12 of his Democratic colleagues had openly supported him. Leader Pelosi retains her post. With Chuck Schumer as minority leader in the Senate, the Democrats have opted for the old guard as their leaders in Congress.

Leader Pelosi likes to keep tight control over the troops, and currently the leading candidate to head the Democratic Party is another Congressman, Keith Ellison. That double duty worked out not so well with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Today, Republicans at all levels are better organized and politically more effective than Democrats in such critical matters as redistricting. Thirty-one of the 50 state governors are Republicans, and Republicans control 32 state legislatures and the majority of county governments throughout the country. The GOP has not seen this success in nearly 100 years.

In Washington, organizations such as Americans for Tax Reform, run by Grover Norquist, meet weekly with other organizations to inform them of their activities, to exchange ideas, and to coordinate planning and initiatives on such issues as maintaining control of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A President Trump can be expected to sign almost all the legislation the Republican Congress will send him. Republicans are on their way to stronger political control.

Democrats express no winning vision for America's future, nor any clear and compelling economic message. They have offered a flawed, old-guard, presidential candidate, and she ran a flawed, negative, non-inclusive, poll-driven campaign.

Democrats — Hello?

Perry L. Weed is an attorney and the founder/director of the Economic Club of Annapolis. His e-mail is plweed@verizon.net.

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