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My Turn 10-15
Democrats in denial
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Nearly nine months into Donald Trump’s presidency, the media is all abuzz with rumors of rifts within the Republican Party.  Alleged differences in politics and policies run the gamut from both houses of Congress to the president’s cabinet and White House inner circle.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party appears to be united and energized against President Trump and all he stands for. However, beneath that veneer of unity and comity lies a party divided and in disarray.
Incredibly, the Democrats remain in deep denial on how and why they went from coasting to the White House on the wings of Hillary Clinton, to losing the electoral vote for President 232-306 to self-described “outsider”  and political upstart Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton could well be dubbed “The Queen of  Denial.” In her book and beyond, she mostly casts blame for her defeat on Russia, the FBI and others, with some on herself, though not much. However, she never really answers the rhetorical question of “What Happened,” which is the title of her campaign memoir.
The 2016 House election outcomes left the Democrats with just 194 seats to the GOP’s 241 seats. In the Senate, they ended up with 46 seats to the GOP’s 52 seats.
Democrats are in worse shape in state politics around the country. For example, they have  only 15 of the 50 state governors-the fewest since 1922. Republicans also control 67 of the 98 partisan state legislatures. The Democrats’ “bare bench” at the state level  has serious implications for their future as a major political party. This is where candidates are recruited, trained and funded to run for office, including the highest office in the land. Indeed, governors from both parties have ascended to the presidency. Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican George W. Bush are the latest in a long line of governors to make that leap.
In addition to being in denial on how and why they lost last year, too many Democrats continue to fixate on what they are against, but voters want know “what are they for?” The answer to that question could help determine whether they find their way out of their self-inflicted wilderness or continue to languish in the dustbin of defeat and denial.
With Hillary Clinton now consigned to history as a presidential candidate, the conundrum confronting Democrats is “Who will lead our party back to victory in 2018 and 2020?” For now, the frontrunners seem to be Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, but so was Hillary Clinton, and we know how that turned out.
Retired Army Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at