The Democrats in Opposition

The Democrats in Opposition
AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File

I do understand power, whatever else may be said about me,” Lyndon Johnson once said. “I know where to look for it and how to use it.”

Of all the indictments that can be leveled against the Democratic Party, perhaps the most serious is that it no longer understands power—where to look for it, how to build it, how to hold it, how to use it. It's not that the values that Democrats express are at odds with those of most Americans. After all, Democrats have won the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections. In 2017, however, Republicans will control all branches of the federal government, not to mention the governor's office and both houses of the legislature in 25 states. The Democrats have comparable control of just six states, all of them, save California, small.

Yes, there are extenuating circumstances. There's the Constitution, which gives Wyoming the same number of senators it gives California, which has 67 times more residents. There's the Electoral College, with which our founding fathers, who were both pre- and anti-democratic, saddled us. There's the gerrymandering that's given the House, and numerous legislatures, over to the GOP. There's Democratic clustering in cities, which concentrates Democratic voters in too few congressional and legislative districts. There's Republicans' voter suppression. There's James Comey.

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