The Democrats Screwed Up
We geniuses in the news media spent only the last month telling you how Donald Trump was losing this election. We spent the last year telling you how the Republican Party was unraveling.
And here we are, with the Democrats in tatters. You might want to think twice about our Oscar and Super Bowl predictions.
Despite all the discussion of demographic forces that doomed the G.O.P., it will soon control the presidency as well as both chambers of Congress and two of every three governor’s offices. And that’s not just a function of James Comey, Julian Assange and misogyny. Democrats who believe so are dangerously mistaken.
Other factors conspired in the party’s debacle. One in particular haunts me. From the presidential race on down, Democrats adopted a strategy of inclusiveness that excluded a hefty share of Americans and consigned many to a “basket of deplorables” who aren’t all deplorable. Some are hurt. Some are confused.
Liberals miss this by being illiberal. They shame not just the racists and sexists who deserve it but all who disagree. A 64-year-old Southern woman not onboard with marriage equality finds herself characterized as a hateful boob. Never mind that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton weren’t themselves onboard just five short years ago.
自由主义者因为不自由而错过。他们羞辱的人不仅仅是活该被羞辱的种族主义者和性别歧视者，还有所有持不同意见的人。一个不支持婚姻平权的64岁南方女性，会被视为可恶的笨蛋。其实巴拉克·奥巴马(Barack Obama)和希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton)自己在短短的五年前也没有支持婚姻平权。
Political correctness has morphed into a moral purity that may feel exhilarating but isn’t remotely tactical. It’s a handmaiden to smugness and sanctimony, undermining its own goals.
I worry about my and my colleagues’ culpability along these lines. I plan to use greater care in how I talk to and about Americans more culturally conservative than I am. That’s not a surrender of principle or passion. It’s a grown-up acknowledgment that we’re a messy, imperfect species.
Donald Trump’s victory and some of the, yes, deplorable chants that accompanied it do not mean that a majority of Americans are irredeemable bigots (though too many indeed are). Plenty of Trump voters chose him, reluctantly, to be an agent of disruption, which they craved keenly enough to overlook the rest of him.
Democrats need to understand that, and they need to move past a complacency for which the Clintons bear considerable blame.
It’s hard to overestimate the couple’s stranglehold on the party — its think tanks, its operatives, its donors — for the last two decades. Most top Democrats had vested interests in the Clintons, and energy that went into supporting and defending them didn’t go into fresh ideas and fresh faces, who were shut out as the party cleared the decks anew for Hillary in 2016.
In thrall to the Clintons, Democrats ignored the copious, glaring signs of an electorate hankering for something new and different and instead took a next-in-line approach that stopped working awhile back. Just ask Mitt Romney and John McCain and John Kerry and Al Gore and Bob Dole. They’re the five major-party nominees before her who lost, and each was someone who, like her, was more due than dazzling.
被克林顿一家锁定之后，民主党人忽略了人们渴望新鲜、不同东西的诸多明显迹象，而是采取了“轮到下一个”的方法，这个方法已经有一段时间不灵了。只要问问米特·罗姆尼(Mitt Romney)、约翰·麦凯恩(John McCain)、约翰·克里(John Kerry)、艾尔·戈尔(Al Gore)和鲍勃·多尔(Bob Dole)就知道了。他们是在她之前输掉的五个主要提名人，而且每个人都像她一样，更加老沉而不是新鲜耀眼。
After Election Day, one Clinton-weary Democratic insider told me: “I’m obviously not happy and I hate to admit this, but a part of me feels liberated. If she’d won, we’d already be talking about Chelsea’s first campaign. Now we can do what we really need to and start over.”
Obama, too, contributed to the party’s marginalization. While he threw himself into Hillary Clinton’s campaign, he was, for much of his presidency, politically selfish, devoting less thought and time to the cultivation of the party than he could — and should — have. By design, his brand was not its. Small wonder, then, that its fate diverged from his.
He anointed Clinton over Joe Biden, though Biden had more charisma and a better connection with the white voters who ultimately supported Trump. Had Biden been the nominee, he probably would have won the Electoral College as well as the popular vote (which Clinton indeed got).
And had Bernie Sanders been? Michael Bloomberg would almost certainly have jumped into the fray, sensing unoccupied territory in the political center, and an infinitely saner and more capable billionaire might well be our president-elect.
让伯尼·桑德斯(Bernie Sanders)来怎么样？迈克尔·布隆伯格(Michael Bloomberg)感觉到政治中心还有一块无人占据的领土，本来肯定应该加入战局，一个清醒得多也更有能力的亿万富翁可能是总统的好人选。
Democrats bungled a terrific opportunity to retake the Senate majority by ignoring the national mood as they picked their candidates. A party that prides itself on looking out for the little guy went with the biggest names it could find.
That happened in Wisconsin with Russ Feingold, in Indiana with Evan Bayh and in Ohio with Ted Strickland, all of whom were defeated by Republicans who couldn’t be tarred as insiders or as emblems of the status quo because the Democrats had just as much mileage on them.
这种情况包括威斯康星州的拉斯·费恩戈尔德(Russ Feingold)、印第安纳州的埃文·巴赫(Evan Bayh)和俄亥俄州的特德·斯特里克兰(Ted Strickland)，他们被共和党候选人打败了，而这些共和党人都不能被视为内部人士或维持现状的象征，因为民主党的候选人们也相差无几。
Senator Rob Portman, the Ohio Republican, campaigned as the outsider and the underdog, and he ended up beating Strickland, the state’s former governor, by more than 20 points. Like Feingold and Bayh, Strickland could hardly claim the mantle of revolution.
In contrast, Democrats had success in a House district in Central Florida that didn’t initially appear to be promising turf by running Stephanie Murphy, a 37-year-old first-timer, against John Mica, 73, who had been in Congress for nearly a quarter-century. “Change” was Murphy’s mantra, and, like Trump, she used it to turn inexperience into an asset.
相比之下，民主党在佛罗里达州中部的一个最初不被看好的众议员选区内取得了成功，候选人是37岁、第一次参选的史蒂芬妮·墨菲(Stephanie Murphy)，对抗73岁、在国会待了将近1/4世纪的约翰·米卡(John Mica)。“改变”是墨菲的口号，像特朗普一样，她用这个字眼把自己的缺乏经验变成一种资产。
A party that keeps the White House for eight years customarily suffers losses elsewhere, as if the electorate insists on some kind of equilibrium. That happened under Bill Clinton and again under George W. Bush — but not to the extent that it has happened under Obama.
坐镇白宫八年的政党通常会在其他地方遭受损失，好像全体选民坚持保持某种均势似的。这种情况曾经发生在比尔·克林顿(Bill Clinton)与乔治·W·布什(George W. Bush)任期结束之时――但没有奥巴马任期结束之后这样严重。
His presidency will end with Democrats in possession of 11 fewer Senate seats (depending on how you count), more than 60 fewer House seats, at least 14 fewer governorships and more than 900 fewer seats in state legislatures than when it began. That’s a staggering toll.
While the 2016 race for governor in North Carolina remains undecided, the settled contests guarantee the G.O.P. the governor’s office in 33 states: its most bountiful harvest since 1922.
If Democrats don’t quickly figure out how to sturdy themselves — a process larger than the selection of the right new party chairman — they could wind up in even worse shape. They’re defending more than twice the number of Senate seats in 2018 that Republicans are, a situation that gives the G.O.P. a shot at a filibuster-proof majority.
Meantime, the perpetuation of Republican dominance at the state level through 2020 would grant the G.O.P. the upper hand in redrawing congressional districts after the next census.
But new presidents typically get an electoral whupping after their first two years, and there’s every reason to believe that Trump will govern — or fail to — in a fashion that prompts one. Will Democrats respond in a way that puts them in the best possible position to deliver it?
That hinges on whether they can look as hard at the errors in their party as at the ugliness in America.