Democrats who confuse hating Donald Trump with Mom and apple pie as the all-American recipe to win elections are blowing their chances, such as they are, for the 2018 midterm elections. If you’re a Democrat it’s never too soon to fret and stew about the prospects.
But Democrats are having so much fun despising the Donald they’re forgetting duty to party and responsibility to exploit opportunity. The party on the outs nearly always picks up a few seats in the midterms. But sore losers forget the ancient bipartisan admonition that “now is the time for every man to come to the aid of the party.” And that includes the women.
Even if the diehard losers can get their act together soon, the job of making a dent in the Donald’s Republican prospects will be daunting. Thirty-three seats in the Senate will be up for election in 2018, and 25 of those are now held by Democrats. Additionally, two independents who caucus and usually vote with Democratic senators will be completing their six-year terms.
Republicans, who had to defend a host of incumbents last year, survived with a slightly reduced majority intact, and will have to defend only eight seats two years hence. Other seats may become open, due to appointment to higher office (particularly among Republicans), resignations or deaths. It just doesn’t look like 2018 will be a year for Democrats to write books about. The arithmetic just isn’t there. The chances of taking over the Senate are roughly nil, zero and none. The party is likely to win a few Republican seats in the House, but not nearly enough to flip control.
The action will be in the Senate. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, the campaign chairman for the Senate Republicans, is already at work and the Democrats still have no party chairman. The favorite to be the face of the party is Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Muslim. Mr. Ellison is no doubt the paragon of virtue, tolerance and forbearance that Democrats, pundits and Muslim enthusiasts say he is, but any marketing man in America will tell you that Islam is not a hot brand in America just now, and isn’t likely to be one soon. Worse, Mr. Ellison is a onetime protege of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, the particularly harsh strain of the Mohammedan faith who won’t win any popularity contests, either.
But it’s the continuing inability of the Democrats to get beyond the first stage of grief and mourning that threatens to push the party to the edge, where it would fall into a very deep ditch. The party’s in the position of the widow who can’t stop crying, even though her man was a scoundrel, knave and wastrel, and was not very nice besides.
The gathering thousands are arriving hourly in the nation’s capital to celebrate — and to repudiate — Donald Trump, some with high hopes eager to raise a toast to the nation and the new president with champagne, others with low hopes for a disaster eager to raise a toast with wormwood, bile and gall. The cops, reinforced by the National Guard, are prepared for jerks to do their worst.
One blogger describes the demonstrations and the threat of boycotts, counterdemonstrations and rotten eggs as “a big circus organized by entitled smug celebrities who think they’re in charge of the culture.” The Democratic women, with a few men riding shotgun (so to speak), marching on the day after the Donald is sworn in, will put finis at last on the Obama years. Their goals are not quite clear, but they say they won’t rest until women have something called “parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society.” That sounds fine and good, like something written for a feminist website, but nobody knows quite what it means. Sisterhood may be more fun than powerful.
The sorehead losers who tried everything they could think of to upset the upset — attempting to subvert the Electoral College and then trying to prevent Congress from affirming the vote of the Electoral College — organized a claque around Rep. John Lewis to declare the Donald the illegitimate president. When that didn’t impress anyone, the Democrats went to work to organize a “boycott” of the Inaugural, something like standing in the street to protest not being invited to a neighbor’s dinner party. Some of the LGBQTs are even doing that, too, with a dance and kiss-in at Mike Pence’s home in suburban Maryland.
This is energy that could be spent to do something positive for the party, which will need all the energy it can muster to get through the next four years. America needs two parties to make the system work — but it doesn’t need this one.
• Wesley Pruden is editor-in-chief emeritus of The Times.
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