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DNC Deputy Chairman: Obama wasn't a good party leader - responsible for Dem losses
It's the agenda, stupid.
Democrats are still trying to figure out what happened to their party. 2016 could have been their decisive killing blow. Instead, it was the latest in a long, long, loooonnnggg string of losses that put Dems at their lowest level of power since the early 20th century.
In short, 2016 was only the most recent example of their collapse.
Part of trying to understand their predicament is an attempt to decide where they want to lay blame. Sure, they had a terrible presidential candidate in Hillary Clinton, but their slide into oblivion - at both the federal and state levels - began well before their most recent defeat. They can't really blame the party proper, since they are the party proper, and Barack Obama is their sacred calf so he's off limits too.
...At least, he used to be off limits.
Maybe the winds of change are blowing, since DNC Deputy Chairman Keith Ellison just dropped a big ol' meatball of blame in the former president's lap. Asked if Obama bears any responsibility for the party's current woes, Ellison said:
“Barack Obama could have been a better party leader, and I think the fact that he wasn’t has put his legacy in jeopardy.
....Given that we lost a lot of state house seats, governorships, secretaries of states, his true legacy is in danger and I think that he can't say that he wasn't part of those losses. I mean 'who else' right?"
Whoa. This is sort of the political equivalent of an 18th century Frenchman slapping someone with a white glove.
Ellison tries hard to defend the Obama years, but it's clear that he understands the Obama machine wasn't particularly helpful. The thing is, he makes an effort to outline all of the "achievements" from the last eight years, while simultaneously ignoring the fact that it was heavy-handed policy that dug the DNC grave.
If we were only talking about one election, Ellison would have a solid point. We're not. We're looking at a trend spanning two decades of elections across the country. Obama's personal numbers were always high. Issue by issue he, and the broader party, had problems.
You can make a solid case that he might not have been great at marshalling the party and its various players, but the fact is that the Democrats' agenda has worn terribly thin.
Clearly, they're not interested in changed course. That's good news if you'd like to see them extend their losing streak.