What’s next for Democrats af­ter los­ing ev­ery­thing?

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OPINION - By Jerry Shenk Jerry Shenk is a Le­banon County-based colum­nist whose work is fea­tured at www. pa­town­hall.com. You can email him at jshenk2010@gmail.com

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s foot­note in his­tory is as­sured, but Hil­lary Clin­ton’s Novem­ber elec­toral fail­ure set a wob­bly cap­stone on his non-mon­u­men­tal legacy.

Be­gin­ning with Obama’s first dis­as­trous mid-term, by Jan­uary 2017, the Demo­cratic Party will be shut out of power in Wash­ing­ton and their downticket ranks dec­i­mated in state houses across Amer­ica.

Demo­cratic dreams of stack­ing the Supreme Court with ac­tivist ju­rists have been thwarted for a gen­er­a­tion — at least. One of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s first ma­jor de­ci­sions will be to nom­i­nate the re­place­ment for the late Jus­tice An­tonin Scalia and Trump could fill more seats on the court.

Fol­low­ing the in­evitable fin­ger-point­ing, and af­ter emerg­ing from the de­nial stage of grief, Democrats will face dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions.

An in­ter­nal strug­gle for party power and in­flu­ence has been brew­ing for years.

Obama came out of nowhere in 2008, but, de­spite his pres­i­dency, in large part, the party ap­pa­ra­tus has been dom­i­nated by the Clin­tons. In fact, along with Obama’s un­pop­u­lar poli­cies, Hil­lary’s “in­evitabil­ity” was a pri­mary fac­tor lead­ing to the party’s dis­ar­ray — and to a very thin bench with few prospects of pro­duc­ing vi­able na­tional can­di­dates any time soon.

This year, in a throw­back to the 1990s when Democrats arose as one to de­fend con­duct they would have in­dig­nantly con­demned had the of­fender been a Repub­li­can, elite Democrats and lib­eral me­dia stacked the deck for and openly worked to nom­i­nate a cor­rupt, in­com­pe­tent mem­ber of the same fam­ily. Party-elite Clin­ton op­er­a­tives herded the Demo­cratic rank-and-file into line and then forced the Amer­i­can pub­lic to choose be­tween Hil­lary and an­other im­per­fect, but less-com­pro­mised can­di­date.

Na­tional Re­view’s David French writes: “While his­tory is re­plete with lead­ers whose vices were ex­cused for the sake of their bril­liant virtues, this gen­er­a­tion has ex­cused vices for the sake of el­e­vat­ing a man and woman of lit­tle virtue.”

If this has be­come an ac­cept­able way to con­duct their po­lit­i­cal busi­ness, then the Demo­cratic Party’s rot goes far deeper than any­one imag­ined.

Hil­lary’s loss was both a pub­lic re­pu­di­a­tion of the Clin­ton syn­di­cate and — be­cause Hil­lary was openly run­ning for his third — of Obama’s two terms.

There was al­ways a yawn­ing gap be­tween Obama’s per­sonal ap­proval rat­ings and the pub­lic’s con­vic­tion that the coun­try is on “the wrong track.”

Now, the Clin­tons are fin­ished and Obama leaves of­fice in Jan­uary. Who’s left?

Obama’s un­pop­u­lar poli­cies an­ni­hi­lated Democrats in state elec­tions, so there is no statelevel “bench” from which to draw. Hil­lary was con­sid­ered in­evitable for so long that the party never thought it needed one. Now, party lead­ers are old, white and out of ideas.

Can you name even one young, tal­ented, na­tion­ally-rec­og­nized Demo­crat?

Democrats ap­pear blind to the facts that their vaunted, al­beit self-pro­claimed “lead­er­ship“is only a pro­pa­ganda de­vice to al­low the party to or­ga­nize so­ci­ety in ways that en­hance their power and in­flu­ence, and that Amer­i­cans have been re­ject­ing that no­tion since Obama took of­fice.

The Demo­cratic Party, ar­guably, has suf­fered an in­sti­tu­tional break­down.

If its ex­treme left-wing col­lects the frag­ments, na­tion­ally, at least, Democrats may lan­guish in the po­lit­i­cal wilder­ness for decades.

It need not, but only they can de­cide if things will end that way. So, Democrats, what’s next?

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