The 2016 election season is over and the verdicts are in. Not only did the Republican candidate win the White House, the GOP maintained control of the Senate and kept its overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives. The Republicans also have more governors in the 50 states than at any time in history. Toss in the huge Republican gains of 2014 and it appears America has made a clear statement.
In the days following Trump’s surprise victory I asked people of all political stripes who they thought might be the Democratic Presidential candidate in 2020. I got blank stares and dumbfounded looks. No name jumped to mind. Don’t misunderstand me, the Democrats will surely pull together a competitive field in the next four years, but my point is that currently it is a lost party.
How then do the Democrats respond? Who should take over the helm of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz served as chairwoman of the DNC through much of the carnage, raising questions as to whether a sitting member of Congress can effectively simultaneously serve as chair of a major political party. (A side question is why the party kept her on as chair after the devastating 2014 election cycle… the answer probably lies in Wiki-leaks emails demonstrating the fix was in for Hillary Clinton within the Democratic Party leadership before a single primary vote was cast … but that’s another column for another day). Donna Brazile, acting chairwoman and longtime Democratic operative, has been exposed for leaking town hall/debate questions to the Clinton campaign and then compounding that sin by lying to the media about it. More tumult.
What is the Democrat message moving forward? What is their direction? What do Democrats stand for? Whomever the Democratic Party chooses as their next chair will speak volumes to each of those questions. How they choose that person does too.
Some years back the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) had a leadership void. They needed a new commissioner. The commissioner is in charge of business relationships with corporate sponsors, handling the rules of the tour, media relationships and keeping the tour financially viable. It is after all, a business. Many within their tour pushed the idea that a Ladies tour should only be governed by a woman. In their search for a new commissioner, the LPGA opted to pass over several male candidates that had successful track records in national sports and instead chose a woman with no golf background, primarily based on gender. She had less experience, less understanding and less skill than other options for commissioner, but she met their primary criteria. She was female.
The choice turned out to be a disaster. Within a couple of years of appointing their female commissioner the LPGA nearly went bankrupt. Sponsors bolted, top-notch golf courses opted out, and tournament purses shrunk. The players revolted. The commissioner was forced out. A more experienced commissioner replaced her and eventually the LPGA Tour returned to normalcy.
Had the LPGA simply chosen the best person for the job instead of focusing on politically correct criteria they could have avoided their painful and nearly deadly mistake.
Will the Democrats repeat the mistake of the LPGA? Maybe.
If one breaks down a map of the United States county by county, coloring counties that voted a majority Trump red and those that voted a majority Clinton blue, nearly the entire country shows up as red. There is more red on the county by county analysis map than Verizon has on it’s 4G coverage map. Democrats should take notice.
Will the Democrats look for a person that can forge consensus, someone who can work across the aisle, someone who can relate and appeal to the average American? Or will they choose someone who promotes special interests and fringe groups, often at the expense of traditional America?
Representative Keith Ellison (or Keith X Ellison … or Keith Ellison Muhammed, both names he went by while working for the Nation of Islam) is the choice of many Democrats to lead their party. He has the support of uber-liberals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Ellison has spent a decade in Congress, is black and Muslim. Liberals prefer the term “progressive” now, and Ellison certainly carries that banner. If, like the LPGA, the Democrats look for someone who fits a “diversity” description rather than someone with a track record of success in a similar position, Ellison may be their man.
Ignoring history seldom changes it. Like the LPGA debacle, Ellison is a disaster waiting to happen. As a sitting congressman one has to wonder, will he short-change the voters in his district or short-change the DNC? With Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the example, it seems readily apparent you can’t do both full time. Is Ellison’s status as an active Muslim an effective tool in turning all those red counties blue in the heartland of America? In today’s politically correct world no one wants to openly speculate about the impact, but proper or not, it’s a political reality.
Even more concerning for Democrats is Ellison’s track record in Congress. He’s all for bigger government and for higher taxes. He wants more government in your daily life and is quite sure bureaucrats know better than you what to do with your money, your children and your healthcare.
The 2016 election was about America’s frustration with Washington being tone deaf. The ultimate irony will be if the DNC completely ignores this, takes a sharp left and chooses a politically correct liberal chairman who ignores the clear will of the masses.
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