Democrats are a lot of things these days: depressed, confused, anxious, stunned and disoriented to name a few. But mainly they are furious; apoplectic that Donald Trump turned reliably blue states red, that the Electoral College has more weight than the popular vote, and that even if we see recounts in a state or three, Trump is still almost certainly taking the oath in January.
All that considered, I understand why they are angry. But at Republicans? It seems to me Democrats should be mad at other Democrats; indeed, madder now than they were right after the election. Because as the big name Dems here in D.C. perform their post-mortem on the vote, do you know what they are changing to get better results in the future? Almost nothing.
For a couple weeks, it looked like younger Dems with new ideas about the party’s future might get some traction. But now, with Nancy Pelosi re-electedas head of the House Dems, it appears the same leadership that pushed relentlessly for Hillary Clinton will remain firmly in charge. This is kind of like the captain and crew of the Titanic being pulled from the icy waters only to immediately be chosen by the rest of the survivors to assume command of the rescue ship.
Remember, old guard Dems marginalized Bernie Sanders and then alienated many of his followers instead of blazing a path for them to get behind their hand-picked candidate. They dismissed warnings about Clinton’s poor ratings for likeability and trustworthiness. And they sat blissfully by while working class voters in state after state drifted away from the party of their parents…dismissing those very people as bigots, xenophobes and “deplorables.”
Of course these pillars of the party can lay claim to some legislative gains and some big fund raising. But on their watch both houses of Congress, more governorships, more state legislatures and now the White House all wound up in Republican hands. So trashing Trump may be satisfying, but if Democrats don’t seriously call their own leaders on the carpet now, they’ll likely have little chance of holding Republicans accountable when it really matters.
(CNN’s Tom Foreman is the author of “My Year of Running Dangerously”)