A Harsh Outlook: The Current State of the Democratic Party and How to Fix It

Democratic-Seal-1While many Democrats have curled up into a fetal position following this year’s elections, I’ve mostly stayed away from political news as much as possible because I can’t stomach the “experts” who seem to not have a damn clue what they’re talking about.

The truth of the matter is, I’m pissed off. Not because Republicans won, but because we let them win.

Yes, some Democrats and liberals want to blame voter ID, but that’s nonsense. Did these laws help lower voter turnout? Of course they did. That’s what they’re meant to do. But these laws aren’t the reason why Democrats got their butts kicked this year. The main reason why they got destroyed was because they acted like cowards. You’re not going to inspire people to vote for you by running away from your convictions. By doing so, not only did these Democrat candidates not bring conservative voters to their side (who the hell thought that was ever going to happen?), but they also failed to inspire independents to side with them and ruined any possibility of liberal enthusiasm heading into this year’s elections.

This summarizes how most of these campaigns went:

Republican: My opponent has sided with Obama most of the time and will continue to support his horrible agenda!

Democrat: I agree, Obama pretty much sucks…but vote for me anyway.

Yeah, very inspirational. Especially considering Obama is still very popular with Democrats. As he should be; he’s been very successful despite what the media likes to tell Americans.

Right now the state of the Democratic Party isn’t very good, though it’s not as bad as some might have you believe.

A president’s party losing seats 6 years into their presidency is nothing new. It happened to Reagan, Clinton, Bush and now Obama. If anything this was predictable the moment Obama was elected.

But how do Democrats fix this? Well, that’s not easy. The weakness of Democrats also happens to be one of their strengths – diversity. And by that I don’t mean racial or ethnic diversity, I mean ideological. When Republicans fail, they sheepishly get in line and follow the status quo of what they’re told to do. It’s how they won this year. They marginalized radical candidates, put a muzzle on the ones that did win their primaries and simply rode the wave of anti-Obama sentiment to power in Congress without really standing for anything.

Democrats are all over the place. It’s great that we’re diverse in our ideology, but it’s a pain in the ass when it comes to getting a cohesive movement going. That’s why liberals tend to fail so often. As Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divide against itself cannot stand.” And that’s what happens to Democrats constantly.

So, how do we fix it? Well, it starts by getting angry. Not this whiny, “Oh, but the Republicans are so bad I don’t get why people vote for them” crap. Get pissed off. Anger can be a good thing when harnessed in the right way. When they speak, we need to be louder. When they double-down on lies, we need to do the same with truth. We need to leave every “battle” knowing that if we lost, it’s because we lost fighting – not running away.

Liberals have got to stop being so “politically correct.” I’m sorry, but this is an issue. Nobody likes someone who’s constantly telling them what to say or do. And when the hell did context suddenly stop being important? You know how tired I am of seeing liberal blogs and websites go batshit crazy because some well-known person made a controversial joke? For days they’re rabid because someone said something that someone found offensive.


If the context is offensive, then by all means, call them out. But if it’s not, just let it go. Learn to pick your battles. It’s like tattletales. Nobody likes a tattletale. That doesn’t mean someone shouldn’t point out wrongdoing when they see it, but nobody likes the person that’s telling on everyone and everything they see, no matter how trivial.

And that’s what I’m seeing far too much of with liberals.

Here’s another reality that’s going to probably ruffle a few feathers: Stop alienating white people.

Look, I love diversity. Diversity is one of the things that makes the Democratic party much better than the GOP. But even I’m getting tired of everything being turned into a “white people are the problem” argument. There are tens of millions of white people who fight for equal rights for minorities every single day. Hell, I’m one of them. Are there issues with racism? Of course there are. But you don’t improve race relations by shaping the argument as “us vs. them” and that’s what’s happening far too often nowadays. Lately I’ve met several white liberals who are getting tired of hearing how “bad” white people are when they’re constantly fighting for the equality and civil rights for minorities. I’m not asking for “sympathy for being white,” I’m just saying stop turning everything into a “white people are the problem” or “white privilege” argument.

Conservatives are the problem. And just because they mostly come in a shade of white doesn’t mean all “white culture” is bad. It just means many conservatives are assholes.

The most consistent demographic of voters in this country is middle-aged and older white people. And guess which group I never hear Democratic strategists say they need to ensure they motivate to vote for them?

And whether liberals want to believe that or not, that is an issue that’s going to start having an impact on these elections. Especially at the local level where these voter ID laws and voter suppression starts really impacting things.

Speaking of voting, we have to vote more. Liberals do great when it’s the “trendy” presidential elections. But when it comes to midterms, we sit it out and let Republicans take power nearly every single time. It doesn’t matter if we elect a Democrat to the White House if we don’t give that president a Congress that will work with them. And we never did that with Obama. Hell, we didn’t even do it for Clinton.

We never do it. 

Keeping Republicans out of power is simple: We have to show up to vote. That’s about it. There’s a reason why Republicans scored such big victories this year – because voter turnout was abysmal. When fewer voters turn out to vote, Republicans benefit the most.

The power lies with us. When we vote, we win – it’s that simple. The problem is, far too often, we’re not doing it. Just like this year and in 2010. If we want real change in this country, it starts with us. But if we don’t start participating every election, none of this matters. We’ll just be a dog chasing our tail wondering why we can’t ever catch it.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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  • Stephen Barlow

    An overlooked part of the problem is found in the movie “300”. Where the entire Persian Army was slaughtered @ Thermopylae. BY only 300 guys.

    The DEMS seemed DETERMINED to LOSE. The one thing the REDs have in spades is UNITY. They are a colony with a single purpose, like termites, bees or ants. One Mindset and they are ALL drones, working to feed the Queen.

    The Blues are singing the BLUES because:

    A) they didn’t choose the battle ground. Grant chose the high ground, Lee LOST Gettysburg. WHO chose Waterloo, Nappy or Wellington? The REDS chose women’s rights, then advertised AGAINST Obama, leaving Abortion as the low ground and the DEMS got sucker punched 2 ways.
    1) by fighting a nonissue (according to RED ads) and
    2) by taking it on the chin HARD. By backstabbing a President who they really haven’t fought to support since day one. The NRA ad about Obama playing golf and the ‘tough lie’ REALLY was a CLEO award advert. The DNC didn’t post a SINGLE AD that I saw. I live in Colorado, you’ld THINK they would pitch in and help keep a real liberal senior Senator @ his desk.

    B)The OBSTRUCTIONISM and GRIDLOCK of the REDS worked! Just like the perfect siege. The Fems locked up their castles and stayed home. But the MOST devastating truth is this. This election, the Blueifiots (as in if only) treated the WOMEN of America like the GOP does. Like chattel (just votes), like objects, like supermodels and trophy wives. The prize in the CrackerJackoff box.

    The DNC ignored the VERY validation the women in America NEED and WANT. By NOT even tabling the Middle East, Police Militarization, Equal Pay, Immigration the BLUEifiots became the PARTY OF NOTHING. They gave NO REAL HOPE for change. No plan, not even a real invite to the Party. Just Mark UTERUS!

    At least the PARY OF NO stood for SOMETHING.

    THAT was the REAL loss. The one of principles and self respect. While we don’t agree with their morals or ethics, you gotta admit, the REDS have BOTH, as disgusting as they are.

    Wanna win in 2016? We need a Freedomworks style manifesto to McConnell and Boehner. We need a bullet point set of goals and a “mission statement” plan for each one. A contract with America concept to SELL. UNILATERALLY, ACROSS THE BLUE BOARD. By every last hand on deck. We have broached as a party and are about to be boarded by Pirates whose sole goal is to RUN US THROUGH! And WE choose to walk our own plank!!

    This election added about 50 guaranteed RED electorial votes to 2016. All the ‘maybe’ states that went RED, might very well GO RED. Also, the “safe” 243 votes the BLidiots had for 2 Presidential years, might have evaporated by a few as well.

    We need a purpose, a plan and a person out front early. We need a Payton Manning to lead the team, a line of blockers who aren’t afraid to get bloody and mean and hurt if need be. We need an attack squad who chases down the RED liars and runs them into the dirt. We need some bullies and we need them for Christmas, because when your New year’s hangover is almost gone, the REDs take over the entire legislative process and the BLUE “300”
    is gonna only be one Gladiator. With a ‘Pen’ he hasn’t used in years!!

    Who for six years has been CONSTANTLY “Pantsed” by the jocks on the Right. Who has yet to even get ANGRY in public. He’s also NOT fighting on narrow spit of sand with a rock cliff on one side and an ocean on the other. He also has no one to help him stack up the Republican dead to make a berm to fight from.

    But the BLidiots couldn’t really help him because they LEFT NO RED BODIES TO STACK!!! Not ONE surprise RED defeat in this election.

    Obama now stands alone with a ‘pen and a phone’ on the Great Plains like Cochese. And he has Democratic arrows sticking out of his back like a porcupine in heat. The Great Mongol Hordes of Emperor Genghis McConnell AND Kubla Boehner decending from the mountains in a great cloud of dust, like a herd of Buffalo on that one lone vegan punk rocker with a banjo!

    Thanks DEMS, for your loyal bravery when your country needed you most. My Canadian Visa should be here before 2015. I NEED My healthcare!!

  • Jim Valley

    The public sides with the Democrats on every issue but votes overwhelmingly for republicans. This has GOT to be the fault of the Democrats themselves, does it not? Who else could be to blame?

    • Jeff Clauser

      The conservative media misinformation machine, led by Fox, Hannity, Limbaugh et al, is a big player. Witness tens of millions of people believe things that have nothing to do with reality. Why do you think they believe nonsense? Because they were told to.

      • Jim Valley

        You are totally right, Jeff.
        The part that fascinates me is that they seem to be missing the “Hey now, wait a minute” response that most of us have when we hear something that sounds fishy or self-serving. But these people will apparently believe ANYTHING, without checking or asking any questions, as long as what is said confirms what they already believe.

        I have found myself wondering whether this behavior is related to the fact that so many of them are religious, since religion also calls for believing in things that can’t possibly be true just because somebody told you to. In fact, in that setting believing impossible things is considered a VIRTUE!

      • dmarie

        Yes, and it’s rather sad that these tens of millions of people have heard the truth at some point, but these jokers have used Nazi-era brainwashing to make them think differently. It’s a technique Hitler used. Say the falsehood enough times, over and over and over hundreds of times and people begin to believe it. This also creates a groupthink phenomenon. I doubt that the likes of Limbaugh even believe the garbage they spew out because they’re getting paid to say it. I would tend to think that the players behind this have studied sociology and psychology well and used every study ever done on groups to determine how a populous might react when told their President is an evil Muslim monster with horns growing out of his head.

    • Timm Bacher

      No. Yes. No one.

  • MadameAlto .

    The thing that is lacking is passion. If you talk to most any conservative you will hear that they are passionate in their convictions. People will go vote when they feel passionate about an issue. I am sort of hoping that the conservatives will be able to pull off the changes to Social Security and Medicare that they want. THEN you will see a swing to the left. The same goes with the rest of the changes conservatives want – when enough people are negatively impacted by them (teachers, women, gays, union workers, minimum wage earners, etc.) maybe, just maybe the US will come to its senses.

    • Libby De

      I want to believe that, but difficult; for two examples, Wisconsin just reelected Scott Walker governor after all the public workers he hurt and Kansas reelected the governor who has harmed the state so much economically. Must times get even harder before the wake up call is heard? I do agree everyone must vote to change this situation. The higher the voter turnout, the better Democrats do.

    • dmarie

      Yep, conservatives are passionate alright — passionate about hate. When a group of people become so passionate about hating it gets kind of scary.

  • ejgreene

    As a lifelong democrat it is impossible to reason with a republicsn, though Lord knows I’ve tried. It’s all God and guns with them. The only way democrats can win and keep their agenda front and center is to get off our collective asses and let our vote speak for us. If you don’t do that one simple thing then don’t expect miracles.

    • Jeff Clauser

      You forgot one….It’s all God, guns and the biggest one….money.

      • ejgreene

        The republicans I know don’t have great wealth. Another head scratcher for me. Why, I keep asking and wondering.

  • Jeff Clauser

    Well stated. Allen and I are the same page here. Honestly, we can blame the conservative media machine for its, obviously, highly effective misinformation campaign but why? We are in charge of both the truth and who we vote for. We just need to get off our butts and get it done.

  • Robin MacKay

    Hear hear….cowards indeed. Cowards in 2000, cowards now. WTF Dems……we have a President with a good record under a terrible onslaught from the right…..and what do you do….you turn your back on him. While I am angry about voter suppression and gerrymandering, the Reps. play down and dirty and you my dear legislators stood around and watched it happen.

  • dmarie

    I’ve often wondered how many people, especially minorities really understand how our government works. It is one thing to have the turnout that we did in the 2008 and 2012 elections for POTUS, but with these mid-terms, do people get how Congress even works? Maybe we needed to run a few ads to stress the importance of turning out to vote again with a little re-education of what was at stake. And look at what Fox News did while we sat back on our thumbs. Fox News created Mundo Fox and we all know whose side Fox News is on! I wonder how much of the Hispanic vote we lost after that happened, or if Dems were even paying attention?

  • Jane Doe

    To save the Democratic Party, they need to stop hiding from the word LIBERAL. It’s not a dirty word. Sell CONSERVATIVE as the new dirty word and you will win supporters.

  • Leaning Blue

    Allen, sometimes I think you’re reading my mind. And yes, thank you for pointing out two things. Liberal “political correctness” and maligning white people, both drive me nuts. I disapprove of white, black or latino conservatives alike, if their policies are bad ones. Yes, liberals have to stop doing this. I’m Latina but my children and many of my relatives are white, so it also offends people like me. And you know what else? We criticize the rabid r/w crazies for voting against their own interests, but not voting is the same as if you’re voting against your own interests. So tell me, who are the real crazies now?

  • harleyblueswoman

    I tried to fire up the base….I was mad and disgusted with the GOP line of dirty play and tried to point out the lies and propaganda…..I tried to play up all of our Presidents great accomplishments and emphasize the importance of mid term elections….nothing seemed to work….you get a few likes and comments but always from the same ones who are also trying to do the same….the rest seem so apathetic and uncaring….I was so frustrated that it seemed impossible to fire up the troops when you need them….I am not sure what went wrong except for the media was filled with propaganda that people seemed to eat up and the republicans ran on Obama hate and their ads were three to every one of dems….I am at the point that I think Australia has it right….MAKE people vote…require voters to register….don’t give them a choice…require people vote….don’t give them a choice….seems to work!!!! And seems like places where people could vote by mail….the Dems won…Dems like “easy”…so let’s do it everywhere!!!

  • mariannmusings

    You have to frame the message and keep repeating it over and over again. And you need to start today! The republicans were so good at driving home the message about how bad Obama is, that the Democrats began believing it too! The people heard it so much and the democrats and they all voted for those god fearing and just republicans. It didn’t matter that the message had no facts. People began to believe how bad Obama was because they heard that message everywhere they went – for years! We have to start our message now about those bad republicans and every democrat leader has to say the same thing over and over again! Every day, every week, every month, every year, democrats have to know and repeat that message daily, hourly if possible. And Democrats MUST start shouting about all the good Obama has done, with so little support! The democrats better get unified now and not a minute to waste!

  • Wolfgardens Wildlife

    There is a long standing misconception that there are two major parties.
    Lets just clear that up.

    The Democratic Republican Party was founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in 1791–93 to oppose the Federalists.

    It was often referred to as the Jeffersonian Republican party.

    The Party splintered in 1824 into the Democratic party and the National Republican party.

    That said, there has always been a wide difference in beliefs between the people of this country on how our government should function. That is fine, it means that we are not robots.

    The problem is that today, those differences have become so radicalized that these two members of the same party have come to hate each other.

    That is not good.

    I have long believed that it is past time to eliminate political parties all together. There was a time when our country actually functioned like that.

    There are a lot of things that politicians have forgotten. The first of those things is that the Government belongs to the People, the People do NOT belong to the government.

    If the Democrat Party is to be fixed at all, then it has to understand that the only voices that count, are the voices of the people. (All of the People).

    We have allowed “Politics” to become a racial motivation. It should not be, Race should not even be a consideration. Each person should have an equal voice and we as the People have to make sure that we understand something. Voting is NOT a right, it is a responsibility. If we the People do not accept our responsibility in voting, then politicians usurp the power of the people and institute laws that take our voice and our rights away from us.

    Today we have come to a point that money is all that counts. The political offices of our government can be bought and paid for. You receive all the justice that you can afford and if you have a health problem, pray that is is a cheap one.

    Every thing that I am saying is not just how to fix the Democratic party,it applies to the Republican Party equally.

    We have to stop electing novelty candidates and we have to STOP allowing candidates into the political race.

    The answer is one that will anger most everyone other than the folks that feel their voice is never heard regardless of their ethnicity.

    Any American citizen that is capable of meeting the constitutional requirements to run for the office of president should be able to do so. Each Person should be on every ballot in every state and the tax payers should pay for the campaign . Each candidate should be given equal time to speak without interruptions. The first candidate to interrupt or to sling mud should be disqualified permanently.

    Candidates should be restricted to telling the people what exactly they want to do and how they plan to make that happen. A strict guideline should be provided by the people to all of the candidates and every candidate should be required to follow those guidelines at the risk of disqualification for not following those guidelines.

    A moderator for each group of candidates should be chosen by the people.
    Debates should also be directed by the people under strict guidelines.
    Each candidate should be required to answer the question asked of them and any candidate not answering the question would be disqualified from the debate.
    All new outlets should be required to cover every debate equally as a public service rather than a media extravaganza.

    There should be NO projections or predictions of who will win and no announcements of who has won should be announced until every single vote in every state has been counted and confirmed.

    Now I know that none of this is likely to happen. But in speaking with people that I know and have known for years as well as strangers that I have never met before, I am hearing the same kind of ideas fro mall of them.

    The people are sick and tired of politics period. It is time to stop the crap and get serious.

    We hear statements from politicians that leave us speechless. statements like, “This is what the People told me they want” what people? No one asked me at all but they seem to think they know what I want.

    What I want is simple. I want politicians to first thing, pick up the constitution and READ it. It is not difficult to read it is written at a 9th grade comprehension level at best, and considering the number of words that are misspelled maybe even a sixth grade level.

    It need no interpretation, we can all understand it and those who can not can have a a family member explain it to them not a politician.

    If the current parties intend to survive, they had better wake up and take politics out of the parties and put people in.