Democratic strategist: Party ‘in decline’
By JAMES HOHMANN, Politico
5/10/13 5:05 AM EDT
“Since Obama was elected President, the Democrats have lost nine governorships, 56 members of the House and two Senate seats,” Doug Sosnik, the political director in Bill Clinton’s White House, writes in a new memo.
While Republican branding problems get the lion’s share of attention, the Democratic Party’s favorability rating has declined by 15 points since Obama took power. A Pew Research Center survey this January showed that the Democratic Party was viewed favorably by 47 percent of Americans, down from 62 percent in Jan. 2009.
With the likelihood of gridlock and near-record-low confidence in public institutions, Sosnik expects 2014 to bring the fourth change election in the past eight years.
Obama neither directly campaigned nor raised money for down-ticket Democrats last year. The post-election creation of Organizing for Action to push his own agenda has upset party regulars because it makes the Democratic National Committee less relevant than ever, squeezes fundraising for other Democratic groups and emphasizes issues that put moderates in a bind.
“Obama not only got elected by running against the party establishment, but he has governed as a President who does not emphasize his party label,” writes Sosnik. “It’s hard to be a change agent if you are lugging around a party label in an era where voters are so strongly disaffected from our institutions.”