A Christ­mas wish for dis­con­so­late Democrats

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Mercedes Sch­lapp

My one wish this Christ­mas sea­son is that Democrats can find peace, move on — and fi­nally ac­cept the elec­tion re­sults. I wish they would un­der­stand that Repub­li­cans had to en­dure eight holiday sea­sons of a left­ist pres­i­dent and we man­aged to sur­vive and re­bound even in the midst of a civil war within our own ranks.

Af­ter the rogue elec­tors failed in their coup at­tempt to change the out­come in the Elec­toral Col­lege ear­lier this week, Democrats lost any hope of stop­ping Don­ald Trump from be­com­ing our next pres­i­dent. Re­al­ity should be set­ting in, and Repub­li­cans can of­fer a model on how to cope.

Repub­li­cans can feel their pain, hav­ing lost two elec­tions in a row them­selves. Some es­tab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans still are strug­gling to come to grips with the fact that Mr. Trump won the pri­mary and beat the Clin­ton dynasty in the gen­eral elec­tion.

But the fu­ture is bright and hope­ful. Eco­nomic con­fi­dence is at a 10-year high as Pres­i­dent Obama leaves of­fice. The Dow has reached an all-time high. Let’s hope this eco­nomic ex­cite­ment will rub off on the Democrats. In this new po­lit­i­cal or­der, Mr. Trump is fo­cused on his eco­nomic growth agenda where he can hope to find com­mon ground with the Democrats. But will the Democrats be open to giv­ing him a chance? My guess is that Mr. Trump will have no hon­ey­moon and will have to be pre­pared to bat­tle the main­stream me­dia and the lib­er­als from his very first day in of­fice.

Nor­mally, pres­i­dents pass on their wis­dom and pos­i­tive en­cour­age­ment to the next com­man­der in chief, but that’s not been the case with the Oba­mas. In an in­ter­view with Oprah Win­frey, Michelle Obama spoke about how painful the elec­tion was and how Amer­ica will now feel hope­less. And de­spite Mr. Obama’s ini­tial pledge to give Mr. Trump a chance and over­see a smooth tran­si­tion, his words rang hol­low when he pro­ceeded to politi­cize the charges that Rus­sia had hacked our elec­tion.

The post­elec­tion pe­riod has been one long ther­apy ses­sion for the Democrats, many of whom who re­main in a state of anger and de­nial. Many Democrats hold on to the no­tion that the elec­tions were rigged. Even Mrs. Clin­ton’s cam­paign chair­man, John Podesta, ques­tioned if the elec­tions were “fair and free” and be­lieved the Rus­sians were to blame for his can­di­date’s loss. De­nial and un­will­ing­ness to ac­cept re­al­ity will not help Democrats heal and move for­ward.

For weeks fol­low­ing the elec­tion, many Democrats have con­tin­ued to place the blame on oth­ers for their loss, whether it’s the Rus­sians or FBI Di­rec­tor James B. Comey. They can’t fathom how any­one would vote for Mr. Trump. For­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton even went as far as to tell a news­pa­per in­ter­viewer that Mr. Trump “doesn’t know much. One thing he does know is how to get an­gry, white men to vote for him.”

What Mr. Clin­ton fails to see is the real les­son from the Novem­ber vote: that global elitism and iden­tity pol­i­tics lost and Amer­i­can na­tion­al­ism and an ef­fec­tive eco­nomic mes­sage won.

It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand that Mr. Trump, like Mr. Obama, cre­ated a move­ment and trans­formed a po­lit­i­cal party. While Mrs. Clin­ton was a safe pick for the Democrats, she couldn’t gen­er­ate grass-roots en­thu­si­asm and failed in her mes­sag­ing, po­lit­i­cal strat­egy and ground game. Her cam­paign raised hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars, yet poorly al­lo­cated the funds and ig­nored lo­cal party ac­tivists’ pleas for help in key bat­tle­ground states. Her ca­reer will likely never re­cover from 2016, but there comes a time when you pick up the pieces, learn from your mis­takes, and re­al­ize that the old po­lit­i­cal play­book does not guar­an­tee a win in the next elec­tion.

Mr. Obama is al­ready talk­ing about his next job as a kind of tal­ent scout for his party, one who can help re­build the Demo­crat’s de­pleted lead­er­ship ranks. The first fight will be the race for chair­man of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee, where Mr. Obama’s La­bor Sec­re­tary Tom Perez is run­ning against the con­tro­ver­sial pro­gres­sive U.S. Rep. Keith El­li­son of Min­nesota. The win­ner will help shape the Demo­cratic Party for the next few years as it de­ter­mines which di­rec­tion it should go.

I hope the na­tion can find com­mon ground in the days ahead and al­low for a peace­ful tran­si­tion, which has been a crit­i­cal and unique part of our na­tion’s his­tory. This Christ­mas, I’ll be pray­ing for peace on earth and good will to all. Es­pe­cially for my Demo­cratic friends.

Mercedes Sch­lapp is a Fox News con­trib­u­tor, co-founder of Cove Strate­gies and for­mer White House di­rec­tor of spe­cialty me­dia un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

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