The problem is not so much President Obama or Nancy Pelosi, although their policies and the manner in which they have governed have certainly alienated many of the former supporters and hastened the party's approaching date with the political grim reaper. Rather, the problem is that the principles which animate the Democrat party are no longer feasible in a world beset by debt, recession, and a dearth of fiscal resources.
The Democrats have, since FDR, won elections on the promise of giving people more of everything, but that's a promise that everyone now recognizes is impossible to keep. The Democrats can no longer campaign on showering people with ever more goodies, but that's their whole raison d'etre. If they cannot offer the masses access to the public purse they have nothing else with which to entice the electorate.
Perelin asks us to imagine two third graders running for class president:
Johnny's platform includes a detailed program to improve various school matters and a commitment to work hard. His opponent, Mary, promises free ice cream for everyone. Mary is elected by an overwhelming margin.Perelin argues that after 80 years of the ice cream strategy the ice cream has run out and with it the only reason anyone had for voting for the Democrats has disappeared. Thus, the party has no viable future and will, within the next decade or so, morph into something else or be euthanized by the voters.
Johnny's election campaign is similar to Republicans', while Mary's is similar to Democrats'. Republican principles are not as effective in an election campaign when competing against free ice cream. Sacrifice, abstinence, and/or self-reliance are a form of political "root canal" when compared to "freebies."
The ice cream strategy was implemented by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. Arguably, this strategy created the modern Democratic Party. It rescued a floundering party and enabled it to become dominant. From a political standpoint, the strategy was pure genius. From an economic standpoint, it produced a slower growth path for the country.
There's much more at the link. I don't know if Perelin is right, but his column is certainly provocative.