Democrats

Kennedy Will Deliver State of the Union Response

Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), a rising star in the Democratic Party, will deliver the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union on Tuesday, Politico reports.

“Kennedy is a closely watched member of the House Democratic Caucus, not only because of his famous last name, but for his future ambitions. Many Democrats expect Kennedy to follow in the footsteps of his elders and run for Senate when a seat opens in Massachusetts.”

Why Democrats Keep Winning Special Elections

Reid Wilson: “Pollsters routinely measure how enthusiastic voters are about upcoming elections. This year, those surveys have found a gap between an energized Democratic base and a comparatively demoralized Republican electorate.”

“The dozens of special elections that have occurred since Trump took office indicate the enthusiasm gap is real: Compared with prior elections, Democratic voters have shown up at higher rates in ordinarily low-turnout special elections than Republicans have.”

“In the last year, states have conducted 98 special elections for legislative seats, ranging from a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama to state House races in New Hampshire. Democrats have flipped 16 of those seats… Republicans have won only three formerly Democratic-held seats, in Louisiana, Mississippi and Massachusetts.”

Is Running Against Trump Enough for Democrats?

Dan Balz: “Despite the positive indicators about the midterms, Democrats face questions about their future as a party that now controls nothing in Washington and far less in the states than they did at the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency. Among those questions are such basics as their agenda, their geographic limitations and their leadership.”

“Democrats could assume they can push those vulnerabilities to the sidelines during a midterm election year with a campaign message that is almost exclusively anti-Trump. But as even many Democrats acknowledge, something more than that will be needed to regain widespread trust of voters across the country and begin the process of rebuilding the party in places where it suffered losses over the past decade.”

Dean Tells Older Dems to ‘Get the Hell Out of the Way’

Howard Dean told MSNBC that older members of the Democratic Party need “to get the hell out of the way and have somebody who is 50 running the country.”

Said Dean: “I think my generation needs to get the hell out of politics. Start coaching and start moving up this next generation who are more … fiscally sane. Neither Republicans or Democrats can claim they are fiscally responsible anymore.”

He added: “This young generation is going to pay for that if we don’t get the hell out of the way and have somebody who is 50 running the country.”

Two Different Paths for Democrats

CNN: “One congressman is a low-key member of a political dynasty who is strategically inserting himself into policy debates and laying out what he thinks Democrats still need to learn. The other is a retired Marine and combat veteran who has tangled with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and has already logged a high-profile trip to Iowa more than three years ahead of the next presidential caucus.”

“Massachusetts Reps. Joe Kennedy III and Seth Moulton take different approaches to their work in Washington. But as Democrats focus on retaking the House next year, these lawmakers in their late 30s are getting a fresh look as potential future leaders in a party where many in the senior ranks are well into their 70s.”

Democrats Now Have a Southern Strategy

Ron Brownstein: “Jones’ victory was centered on minorities, millennial voters and college-educated suburban whites, especially women. That’s exactly the formula Democrats now depend on in most states. But even with strong African-American support, Southern Democrats until recently come up short, largely because they haven’t attracted nearly as many college-educated whites as their party does elsewhere.”

“Now, with Democratic constituencies energized and suburban swing voters uneasy about Trump, Southern Democrats are suddenly finding it more possibe to assemble the coalition that the party relies on in other regions. And that could create new opportunities for Democrats across the South, most immediately in suburban House districts in 2018, but potentially also in statewide contests such as the 2018 governor’s race in Georgia and Senate battle in Tennessee.”

Democrats Have Worked Through Their Stages of Grief

Amy Walter: “The shift in mood among Democrats over the last year has been as dramatic. It’s been a bit like watching someone work through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief. Democrats spent much of December of 2016 in a state of disbelief: Did that really happen? How did that happen? By early 2017 they had moved on to anger: Hillary ran a terrible campaign; Democrats had no message; the Obama coalition is unsustainable. By spring there was bargaining: We must not focus our attacks on Trump or his voters. We have to make peace with the white working class electorate who is anxious and angry and desperate for real change. Democratic leaders in Washington tamped down talk of impeachment and focused instead on ‘A Better Deal.'”

“Today, however, that reticence is gone. Democratic senators are openly calling for the President to resign over allegations of sexual harassment. Not one red state Democrat supported the GOP tax bill. The fear of Trump and his legions of establishment-hating voters has receded. Democrats are now living off the adrenaline and energy that comes with an awakening of their own base; a base that was disillusioned and dispirited in 2016. Anger is the most powerful GOTV force there is.”

Democrats Missed Their Opportunity

Amy Walter: “We are reportedly at a ‘watershed’ moment on the issue of sexual harassment. Women, emboldened by the Harvey Weinstein revelations, have come out of the shadows of shame and stigma to tell their own stories of harassment and assault. It’s also been a time of ‘reckoning’ for Democrats who once excused or defended President Bill Clinton over accusations of abuse and harassment. From an electoral standpoint, this new focus on empowering and energizing women voters should be an opportunity for Democrats.”

“In Alabama, Democrats have a chance to steal away a bright-red Senate seat thanks to assault accusations against Republican Roy Moore. It’s also an opportunity for them to prove to voters that the party demands the highest standards of conduct from its representatives in Congress. An opportunity to show that Democrats won’t put party over doing the right thing. Yet, I have been struck by the lack of ‘watershed-level’ response to Democrats’ handling of allegations against Sen. Al Franken and Rep. John Conyers, two members of their own party. Instead of meeting the moment, Democrats have missed it.”

Democratic Group Looks to Train 50K New Candidates

“The National Democratic Training Committee, which makes a free online candidate training program, plans to spend $4 million in 2018 in the hopes of getting 50,000 Dems to use their services to run for office,” Axios reports.

“The digital approach could help the party attract younger candidates — ultimately helping address the Democrats’ old-people problem.”