Democrats Going the Way of the Whigs?


There’s nothing all that new in Bill Curry’s post at Salon today, It’s time for a revolution: Bankrupt policies, historic losses call for new generation of leaders. Many progressives, including yours truly, have transmitted the same message.

But Curry’s wording is awesome, especially this first paragraph:

As a wise man once said, never underestimate the capacity of an entire social order to commit suicide. The Democratic Party’s old order is doing it now. It may seem strange but make no mistake, the Democrats’ leaders are already unconscious. If they don’t wake up soon, they’ll go the way of the Whigs. If progressives don’t wake up now, they’ll go with them.

Curry’s critique of Democratic Party leadership is searing, to say the least. His primary focus is on how old and tired and out of ideas Democratic Party leadership is. It’s not so much that Democratic caucuses, as Curry notes, are literally run by gerontocracies, it’s that the same people with the same tired ideas and the same ties to the same consultants and the same donors have been in power for decades.

Which creates a feeling of hopelessness for the objective progressive observer:

Schumer gets a lot wrong, but credit him at least for speaking up. After their last defeat Republicans tripped over themselves to confess old sins and proclaim new visions. Congress opened with hardly a whisper of any new Democratic strategy or agenda. Instead Democrats prepare for 2016 in their usual way: raising money to pay for polls, to craft ads, to woo voters. Someone must break their tragic cycle of dependency and begin to build a new model of politics and governance. Who will it be? We know for sure it won’t be them. How could it be? They’re practically dead.

Curry’s message is one progressives would be well advised to keep firmly in mind.  His call for a new generation of leaders must be answered. Somehow.

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Bob Lord
Bob is a tax and business lawyer who had given up on politics until deciding to run for Congress in 2008 (CD3), when he tried to unseat John Shadegg. He since has returned to his law practice and golf addiction. Bob has been writing for Blog For Arizona since late 2011, concentrating mostly on federal issues, with an occasional foray into Arizona state politics.


  1. As usual, Bob, I am impressed with your willingness to tell an unpleasant truth when you think it is a message others should hear. In this case, I agree with you. Democrats are still putting up a decent showing in most elections, but the enthusiasm I remember seeing in earlier years isn’t there anymore.

    I haven’t seen anything fresh or new proposed by Democrats in a very long time. All I see is the same old game plans of class warfare, envy of those who have done better in life and speeches filled with despair and hopelessness all trying desperately to scare (or guilt) voters into voting Democrat. I am truly surprised that it works as well as it does because it is the same old thing, year after year.

    I suspect, though, that those who hold power in the Democrat Party are more interested in keeping that power than in saving the Party.

    • Actually, Steve, you missed the point a bit. Part of the problem with Democrats is that they’re NOT engaging in what you label class warfare. Instead, the focused on wedge issues like abortion rights and LGBT rights, the latter of which is rapidly becoming a non-wedge issue, while cozying up to their Wall Street masters.

      • When I speak of class warfare, I am primarily referring to the constant play of “poor” versus “rich”, “haves” versus “have nots”, etc. IMHO, it has always been the most successful of Democrat agendas because it appeals to one of the baser instincts: Envy.

        Anyway, I hadn’t thought about the fact that the same sex marriage revolution has taken a very big arrow out of the Democrat quiver. I wonder what will replace it? And you are correct. It was a lot of wedge issues that divided us into manageable pieces.

        When you say “cozying up to their Wall Street masters” you don’t sound like you. You normally sound less hopeless than that. Besides, I thought it was only the GOP that is held in thrall to Wall Street. ;o)

  2. I am glad to see the democrats on this blog are starting to say NO more rich old white men running for office in arizona. Let us run younger browner candidates not rich old white farts!

    • Starting to say NO more?

      Actually, I’ve been hammering this message for years. That doesn’t mean the other writers agree with me, however. We each have our own views. Your comment, however, suggests you view the writers here as a group voice of sorts. That’s not the case.

  3. If the Democrats don’t get some momentum going, that would be the equivalent of giving the GOP a blank check to go as far right as they want to, and we know what happens then.

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