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Democrats Play King of the Mountain

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kingofthemountain.jpgMany media pundits deride the current state of the Democratic Party as being disorganized and lacking a clear message for voters. And without that message, they won’t capitalize on Republican scandals and ineptitude. I suggest that they are creating a “problem” that does not exist. In the normal process of democracy, parties go through periods of change. They try out new ideas, fight with each other, and select new leaders. This naturally occurs during the period between elections — Duh! We are now in such a timeframe. It is perfectly natural that the Democrats don’t have a single leader to state their message. The leaders, and potential leaders, are busy playing King of the Mountain, struggling for that top spot.

Without a chief, everyone plays chief. A clearly defined hierarchy does not exist — no President, no Speaker of the House, no Senate Majority Leader. And because of the nature of politics, no one who is contending for leadership of the top jobs, whatever their title, is willing to cede any authority to a potential rival. If I were thinking of running for President, for example, I would not abdicate the stage to Hillary Clinton to deliver my party’s message. I would only be hurting myself by doing so. I want to be the person delivering the message, not her, or anyone else. Right now we have a situation where many Democrats want that position and are unwilling to walk off the stage.

From a strategic standpoint it makes sense for the opposition to make fun of the Democrats’ lack of cohesion, painting it as incompetence. It is smart political strategy. The implication? If the Dems are disorganized as a party, how can they effectively run the country?

We are eight months from a mid-term election. Why do these people think that everything is supposed to be decided now? It seems to me like a normal part of the process. The perception of the election cycles has gotten so ridiculous that the mainstream media (MSM) worries about who is running for the next presidential election a couple of hours after the polls close from the last one. If no one is a clear favorite, they assume there must be something wrong. I find it simultaneously amusing and disgusting.

I think two issues are at work with the MSM. First, many political analysts on TV these days seem to lean right. I suppose I should confirm this by make a list of all the analysts and commentators on the three major networks, plus CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. I would bet that there are many more right-wingers than left, especially on cable. If all of them repeat that Democrats are disorganized and have no idea what they are doing or where we should go, they plant a seed. Say something enough times and people start to believe it. If commentators and analysts report the normal political pre-midterm free-for-all as extremely negative, then viewers buy it. This only helps Republicans.

[ADBLOCKHERE]The other issue is that the MSM fights to keep ratings and readers. They do this by reporting “Big, Important” stories. If they don’t have an important story, they make one. To get viewers and readers, they keep the excitement level high and create a crisis right then. In this case, they’ve turned the normal pre-election process into a disaster. “The Democrats Crash and Burn,” “They can’t take advantage of the Republican scandals,” “The Democrats have no message,” “They can’t lead themselves, how can they lead the country?” and “The Rudderless Democrats”; take your pick. This arouses interest, gets viewers and solidifies their jobs.

Anytime one starts a project, a period exists when you pull together lots of thoughts, ideas, pictures, and information, whatever. Stacks of papers cover desks and tables. You have a general idea where you are headed, but the final pieces are not yet in place. You are working on it; you have no fear. You will get it done. You have been through this before and you will again. The election is eight months away. There is still time.

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  • JP

    Glad to see this thought put into writing! I’d also add that it’s impossible for everyone not on board with the administration’s war strategy to BE unified behind a single alternative. By default, you’re going to find people against war altogether, those who debate the rationale used to go to war who assume that war is acceptable with proper justification, and those who debate the way the war is handled but assume we should be fighting it. Finding a single voice to articulate all three positions is impossible!

    One point of contention: Anecdotally we hear about the liberal media, but it’s difficult to prove. Outside of Fox and CNN, even as a progressive I’d be hard pressed to paint them conservative. Journalists and writers in the mainstream media are often liberal, although organizations such as FAIR argue they’re more centrist. I’d suggest that it’s more ignorance than conservative bias at play here. However, if one looked at the *ownership* of mainstream media channels, a different story could emerge.

  • SonnyD

    “The election is eight months away. There is still time.”

    Well, good luck with that. The Democrats have been dead in the water for at least the last ten years. I’m still waiting for any party to come up with an idea or a candidate that I can feel good about. But I’m not holding my breath.