Can the Democrats learn and move on from Clinton?

In the US the Democrats are in disarray after not only an embarrassing loss to Donald Trump but also their failure to win majorities in either the Senate or Congress.

Trump should never have been able to win the presidency, but alongside other factors the Democrats managed to make a mess of their selection – Hillary Clinton – and their campaign.

Is there any sign of learning from their mistakes and rebuilding their chances?

Howard Kurtz at Fox: After Hillary: Are the Democrats ready to move beyond Clintonism?

The question now: Has the Democratic Party moved on from Clintonism?

Both the left and right are asking that question as the party tries to rebuild in the Trump era. I have no idea who might emerge for 2020, given the strikingly thin bench, or whether the party wants to go further left or try to recapture the working-class voters that it lost to Trump.

It seems the Democrats haven’t really had that debate, even with the low-profile chairman’s race won by Tom Perez. But some in the media are starting to examine the rubble left by 2016.

It’s not that Hillary herself has a political future. In a Rasmussen poll, 58 percent of likely voters don’t want her to run again, while 23 percent would like to see that.

But a Clinton-like candidate might face the same lack of excitement for a program of incrementally improving government, even without her flaws as a candidate.

On the other hand, a Bernie-style populist could connect on issues like trade, but might simply be too liberal to win a general election.

But surely the Democrats can come up with someone fresher and newer than Clinton or Sanders.

Salon: To win, the anti-Trump resistance must learn from the Clinton campaign’s mistakes

What’s interesting is how Salon sees Clinton as having blundered by pretty much running as the anti-Trump:

“Of all the strategic blunders made by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the most consequential — apart from neglecting the Rust Belt states — may have been the campaign’s ill-advised decision to portray Donald Trump as an outlier in the GOP who did not represent true Republican values.

“In the early stages of her campaign, Clinton went out of her way to defend the Grand Old Party’s reputation and highlight some of the conservative critiques of Trump, so as to emphasize her opponent’s uniquely ‘deplorable’ nature.”

That “backfired spectacularly,” the piece says, by alienating progressives and boosting Trump’s underdog status.

“The grand irony here, of course, is that liberals — not leftists — are the ones who have started to sound increasingly like alt-right conspiracy theorists. While alt-right Info-Warriors spew their conspiracy theories about the deep state’s planning a coup against Trump or about former President Barack Obama’s wiretapping of Trump Tower, liberals have gone in the other direction, embracing their own overwrought conspiracy theories with an all-powerful Vladimir Putin at the center of it all.

“But Putin is not responsible for the Democratic Party’s losing control of nearly 1,000 state legislature seats and all three branches of government during the Obama years.”

It is yet to be proven whether Russia interfered with the US election but even if they did the Democrats should have been able to benefit from the allegations. Remarkably Trump won despite being linked with Russia.

Clinton was a poor choice but even then a decent campaign is likely to have succeeded. Trump didn’t win by much (a few hundred thousand votes in a few states made the difference).

The Democrats are in a mess of their own making.

Labour in the UK are also in a self inflicted mess.

Labor in Australia have been in disarray for years.

Labour in New Zealand is trying to make a comeback after struggling after Helen Clark lost in 2008 and stood down, but they are still languishing in polls and have conceded reliance on the Greens to try and compete in this year’s election.

Are these all coincidental messes? Or are left wing parties losing their way in the modern world with no hope of success unless they rethink and rebrand?

Report from Europe

Missy is back with an update on issues in the UK and Europe.


EU / Brexit

The EU had a leaders meeting (minus Britain) in Bratislava last Friday. Not much of what came out of it has been reported in the UK, but the most interesting thing that did is the statement from the Eastern European nations who have stated that they will veto any Brexit deal that does not guarantee the rights of their citizens to remain in the UK. Other EU nations reiterated the stance that any access to the single market will have to include free movement.

On that, yesterday Theresa May was reported as saying that the EU will have to make a deal with Britain as the EU exports more to Britain than the other way around, and anything that does not protect that trading will be more detrimental to the EU. This has been the stance of the Leave campaign from day one on the trade with the EU, the fact that the EU loses more if no deal is reached, than what Britain will lose. German business organisations, and businesses, have been lobbying their Government since the vote to ensure there is a deal reached with the UK, one media report in June suggested that about 15-20% of German businesses could go bankrupt if they do not have tariff free access to the UK.

Last week Juncker admitted that the EU faced an existential crisis, interestingly though his solution to the crisis is greater integration. His state of the Union speech clearly spelled out plans for an integrated foreign policy and EU army – something that the leave campaign in the UK were rubbished for suggesting was in the pipeline. Farage of course now feels vindicated for pushing that line.

Germany

As I am sure has been reported in NZ, Merkel’s coalition suffered severe losses in the Berlin elections, and the far right AfD party has gained quite significantly. As one media report in the UK said, the irony in Merkel trying hard to overcome the ghosts of the Nazi’s is that she has created the conditions for the rise of a new era of far right – Nazi like – political force. This has to be worrying for Merkel as Germany heads to a General Election next year.

There are indications Merkel may be looking at backpedaling some on her open door refugee policy, though for many it is a case of too little too late.

France

Refugees/Illegal Migrants are still an issue in France, specifically those in the Calais Jungle. Last week a refugee – who claimed to be 14, but some say looked more like 24 – was killed when he tried to climb onto a lorry to stowaway into the UK. The actions of those in the Jungle are becoming more dangerous, and will cause more than their own loss of life. The building of a wall along the side of the motorway at Calais has begun, this is meant to try and stop the migrants from trying to stowaway in vehicles heading for the UK – the UK are picking up the majority (if not all) of the bill for this. There are some that believe that this wall may just push the problem a little more inland from Calais, time will tell.

UK Labour

There has been a lot happening within the Labour party over the last week, though most of it is claims and counter claims with regards to who is doing what – and much is related to the leadership race, so I won’t go into it, unless some of the hyperbole develops into something significant.

The voting for the Labour leader closed today, and the leader is due to be announced on Saturday – though it is expected that Corbyn will be confirmed as the leader, this is due to be announced on Saturday, before the conference. The Labour party conference starts Saturday, so I guess they found a security provider for it. Some MP’s will have bodyguards at the conference due to fears for their safety from the hard left activists.

And finally on Labour, Jeremy Corbyn (official account – not parody) tweeted that the average donation to the Labour party is 18GBP, looks like all those celebrity Labour supporters are big spenders – though to be honest I will probably spend more than that in the pub tomorrow night!

I think that is enough for tonight, I will try to be more regular with my updates, and luckily for me all the clocks are due to change soon, which makes the time difference less!