Democrats Can't Party Like It's 2001
Looking back on it now, the result of the election is even more unfathomable than when media outlets first called the race.
Thanks to a strong economy, the two-term Democratic president enjoyed an approval rating well over 50 percent--with good reason. Despite near-total Republican opposition to his health care and stimulus plans and dire GOP warnings about "job-crushing" tax increases that would "kill the current recovery," the Democrat presided over the creation of millions of new jobs and a falling unemployment rate which dropped below 5 percent. Though U.S. troops were still in the field protecting Muslim populations, Republican attacks that the American military had "deteriorated badly" and had two Army divisions "not ready for duty, sir" were simply untrue. At a time of relative peace and prosperity, the president's obvious successor and the clear choice of the Democratic establishment should have won a comfortable victory.
But it didn't work out that way. The Democrat's mistake-filled campaign could not escape an immovable media narrative that the candidate was inauthentic, aloof, calculating, and corrupt. Despite the impossible math behind his massive tax cuts for the rich, the CEO-turned-Republican nominee was instead portrayed as the guy voters wanted to have a beer with. And despite America's clear popular vote victory for the Democrat, mere thousands of votes across key states enabled the GOP's man to win the Electoral College and so become president of the United States. Nevertheless, in the run-up to their inauguration, the president-elect insisted he had a mandate to govern as he sees fit. As his running mate put it:
"[He] ran on a particular platform that was very carefully developed. It's his program, it's his agenda, and we have no intention at all of backing off of it. It's why we got elected."
And in 2001, Democrats let George W. Bush pretty much get away with all of it.
Sixteen years later, their response to Donald Trump must be "not this time and never again."
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