With a Hillary Clinton defeat beginning to appear at least conceivable, and some think even likely, the incomparable Michael Barone looks into his crystal ball and delves into the possible effects on the Democratic Party. To put it succinctly, the Democrats can look forward to a generation in the wilderness, ruling over only the West Coast, the Northeast, and a few enclaves in what they contemptuously call “flyover country.” The Democrats will have accepted the far left agenda of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both too elderly to become candidates in 2020, and will have been repudiated. Moreover, no Democrat seems to be positioned to become the next generation of a national candidate.
The Democrats have two ways out of that fate. Either President Trump crashes and burns, leaving them an opening in 2020, or the Democrats decide to moderate like Bill Clinton did in 1992. It could be said that President Clinton did not become a true moderate until 1995 when the Gingrich Revolution provided him some adult supervision.
The Barone scenario suggests that all of the political ferment is going to be on the Republican side. If Trump tries to get a second term in 2020, will Ted Cruz try to primary him? If not, will we see a replay of the old establishment against the conservative contest with the top winner picking the top loser as vice presidential running mate and then cruising to victory?
The primary task for Republicans will be to start cutting into the Democratic death grip on minority voters to further marginalize that party. Trump is already making inroads among African-American voters and may double the traditional 10 percent that GOP presidential candidates get. Surprisingly, the fiery anti-illegal immigrant candidate Trump is doing no worse than Romney did with Hispanics. When illegal immigration becomes less of an issue, presumably because the Wall has been built and the INS has been strengthened and reformed, future Republican candidates, who might be Hispanics themselves like Cruz or Marco Rubio, could start cutting into that margin as well.
All that means that the Democrats could be a rump radical liberal party that tends not to win national elections for the foreseeable future. Will a new generation find a message more appealing to voters and start winning again? Possibly, but not for a while. #Donald Trump #Democrats vs Republicans #Hillary Clinton