Monday, April 24, 2017

Stop Digging

Democrats (and everybody else, probably) are doubtless stunned by the news that a recent WaPo/ABC poll shows that if there was a do-over election today Donald Trump would still beat Hillary Clinton by a 43-40 margin. In fact, he'd not only win the electoral college but he'd also win the popular vote:
Despite the public’s skepticism of Trump’s first 100 days, the survey finds little evidence voters would render a different verdict from last November, when Trump won key states needed to secure victory in the electoral college despite Clinton winning more votes nationwide.

The new survey finds 46 percent saying they [originally] voted for Clinton and 43 percent for Trump, similar to her two-point national vote margin. Asked how they would vote if the election were held today, 43 say they would support Trump and 40 percent say Clinton.
Add to this dispiriting news the finding in the same poll, a poll weighted toward Democrats (31% - D, 24% - R, 36% - I), that 67% of respondents feel that the Democratic party is out of touch with them (Republicans didn't fare much better with 62% saying that the GOP is out of touch) and things must be pretty gloomy at DNC headquarters.

Nevertheless, DNC chair Tom Perez has chosen to deepen the melancholy and put his party even further out of touch by announcing that there's no room in the Democratic party for pro-life candidates. Here's an excerpt from a story in the HuffPo:
Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez became the first head of the party to demand ideological purity on abortion rights, promising Friday to support only Democratic candidates who back a woman’s right to choose.

“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

“At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country,” he added, “we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”
To be sure, this declaration will certainly please the party elites on both coasts, but what effect will it have on rank and file pro-life African-Americans and Hispanics whose support for the Democratic party is already teetering? Twenty eight percent of Democrats are pro-life. How many of them will decide that maybe it's time for a divorce from a party that doesn't really represent their convictions on a matter of deep importance to many of them?

I also wonder whether the DNC will make an exception for elected officials like Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey who is ostensibly a pro-life Catholic, but who is also a reliable Democratic vote in the senate. I suspect Casey has already been on the phone to Perez asking him what in the world he thinks he's doing by alienating these voters and making life difficult for politicians like himself.

The first rule when your party is digging itself into a hole is to stop digging. Apparently Mr. Perez isn't yet ready to put down the shovel.