When the smoke clears from this volcanic election, Democrats across our nation will have to come to grips that their party is in need of serious soul-searching. While Donald Trump’s nomination may have rocked the Republican boat for months, frightening away their own establishment from their nominee, it is now the Grand Old Party which will come into office in January, 2017, with an Executive administration, a Senate majority, and a House of Representatives majority. They also have a majority of Governorships, state legislatures, and county legislatures nationwide. Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton will be remembered as the greatest polling upset since Harry Truman defeated Thomas Dewey in 1948.
This is no fluke; at the beginning of George W. Bush’s second term, his chief political strategist Karl Rove spoke of a Permanent Majority, a national Republican governing apparatus. The collapse of the economy and calamitous invasion of Iraq briefly gave us a Democratic legislative majority and the Obama presidency, but the march of anti-establishment conservatism was deeper, and longer-term. Institutions ranging from the RNC to Koch Industries funneled millions of dollars into grassroots conservative movements, such as the Tea Party. Anti-establishment conservative candidates roiled the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterms and the Senate in the 2014 midterms. Despite the uniqueness of Trump’s brand, and some unconventionally Republican views on stimulus spending and trade policies, it’s indisputable that “drain-the-swamp”, “tear-up-the-establishment” was a deep, national political trend that predates Trump by a decade. And now the right-wing is back in the driver’s seat.
Where does the Democratic Party go from here?
Student Association Vice President for Academic Affairs
Binghamton University Class of 2018