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Making Democrats Great Again: It’s Going To Take A While

| June 27, 2017

She's not the Democrats' only frequent flier toward sunset. (Hillary for America)

She’s not the Democrats’ only frequent flier toward sunset. (Hillary for America)

By Nancy Smith

Putting Humpty back together is off to a rocky start. Could there have been a more disastrous week for the Democrats?

They went 0-for-4 in special elections Tuesday, when out-of-district Democrat John Ossoff lost to Republican Karen Handel in Georgia.

That’s after spending $25 million to win a House seat in the Atlanta suburbs for a candidate who had a seven-point lead going in.

We’ll get to what happened in Florida last weekend in a minute.

Meanwhile, reflect on Georgia’s 6th District. It never was Trump country. Trump only carried it by 1 percentage point. But after Democrats lost their shirt in Virginia, Montana and Kansas, the media somehow decided that if establishment Republican Handel could lose in the 6th, then it would be a major smackdown of Donald Trump for Ossoff to win there.

I’ve never seen where just hating the other guy ever worked as a sole party strategy. 

Besides, I’m beginning to wonder if an anti-Trump fever actually exists. The media say it does — as the Washington Times  put it, they’re “hysterically trying to will Donald Trump out of existence.”  But the media said the same thing going into Election Day 2016. They sent Hillary Clinton a false positive, and the Democratic presidential candidate is still puzzling how she lost.

One of my idols, Peter Kann who spent many years as an editor at the Wall Street Journal, said “that facts are facts; that they are ascertainable through honest, open-minded and diligent reporting; that truth is attainable by laying fact upon fact, much like the construction of a cathedral; and that truth is not merely in the eye of the beholder.” Not only do I agree with him right down the line, I believe this is how most journalists did their work before the 24-7, partisan, talking-heads genre of TV news came along. And why I say what I do now about the quality of political coverage.

Anti-Trumpism could happen, certainly. But later.  And not because the media will it. The Dems would do well to heed the advice of Congressman Seth Moulton, D-Mass., who said in a Tuesday night tweet, “Time to stop rehashing 2016 and talk about the future” … Democrats “need a genuinely new message.”

Yes, they do. And new leadership. They have no one. Nancy Pelosi energizes the GOP base. And Joe Biden? Forget it. Last weekend the ungracious former vice president, in Florida as a Blue Gala keynote speaker, didn’t even pretend he was happy to be in the Sunshine State.

The point is, there’s nobody at the head of Team Blue right now or, frankly, in the foreseeable future. No one to generate excitement, no one with a fresh message. No one to move beyond the idiotic allegation that Trump’s relationship to Russia won him the election.

There is no one in the party to wave the flag once in a while, ignite a flame in the American people — and with Barack Obama gone, no charismatic leader who can impart a shining vision for this country  and the world, something we can all believe in.

The Democrats’ bad week started in Florida with the cash-strapped FDP’s $1 million Leadership Blue Gala fundraiser. What was billed as a “coming together” event turned into a proper donnybrook after Chairman Stephen Bittel’s racial trip-of-the-lip.

“They’re like children, these black lawmakers. They just don’t get it,” Bittel told Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation. “I raised more money in this amount of time than they ever could.” 

Bittel made the comment referencing lawmakers who were unhappy because their names didn’t get called on stage at the Florida Democratic Party.

The party made a decision not to introduce black lawmakers by name because keynoter Biden wanted to get the show on the road. He said the Blue Gala was cutting into the time he and his wife planned for their 40th wedding anniversary.

Bittel’s remarks exploded on social media and, apparently, though the chairman apologized profusely during a Sunday closed-door meeting, could have cost him his job. Politico reported one of the Democratic lawmakers at the meeting who spoke to Bittel said the chair would be “ready to quit if asked.”

No one asked for Bittel’s resignation, but hard feelings remain.

The Florida Democratic Party may yet shock us all and develop a winning strategy. But for the moment, it looks like a shadow — a phantom with a collection of individuals taking out papers to run who haven’t a clue how to win. Like I said — nationally and in Florida — rehabilitation’s gonna take awhile.

No wonder Republican leaders think they can get away with almost anything. They can.

nancy smith sunshine state news columnistNancy Smith is the editor of Sunshine State News. She started her career at the Daily Mirror and The Observer in London before spending 28 years at The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News as managing editor and associate editor. She was president of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors in the mid-1990s. Reach her by email here, or follow her on twitter at @NancyLBSmith.

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16 Responses for “Making Democrats Great Again: It’s Going To Take A While”

  1. Veteran says:

    They can thank Hillary, Barack, Pelosi and Shumer for their demise.

  2. woodchuck says:

    Perfect picture-just fade away into the sunset.

  3. Tired of it says:

    The Dems deserve exactly what they get. Lots of promises by high end vacation Barrack and nothing but out of touch insurance premiums and out of control debt. I hope we never see a Dem elected again. Make America Great Again by supporting our President and tell the idiots in Congress to get off their butts and do the job they were elected to do.

  4. fredrick says:

    And if they don’t STOP being obstructionists, and focus on jobs, the economy and what is right for America, they will continue to be a “nothing” party. While I despise the liberal message, this country need two parties to keep each other honest. Stop with the Trump melt down and Russia Russia Russia and other crap and do what is right for the country.

  5. Brian says:

    Nancy, you are right on point. Democrats are finally drying those cryin’ sore-loser eyes and realizing that they are lost in the wilderness with no message. Since November 8th they have awoke each morning looking for any little silver bullet to sabotage the Trump administration. They and the left-wing media, of course, who are so consumed by their hatred for Trump that they are now resigning, retracting, or being fired. I think that the Georgia election last week bolted them into reality – the American people don’t care about Russia Russia Russia Comey Comey Flynn Kushner – they are in most part supportive of the great job Trump is doing. The “Resistance” is not going to get them anywhere and I think they are awakening to that fact. I actually find it all fairly amusing, and I truly hope that they choose to hitch their star to an 80-year-old communist.

  6. Anonymous says:


  7. Pogo says:


    How much does the so-called Sunshine State News pay for shelf space on this site?

    A Bush era operative quoting from Rev Moon’s tabloid about what Democrats ought to do and think is as useful an opinion as that of Coulter, Conway, or Limbaugh.

    As darkness swallows the definition of fact and truth – thanks for nothing.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      Sunshine State News does not pay to appear here. FlaglerLive has an arrangement with Nancy Smith to run her columns, thus providing us with a witty, broad minded and valuable conservative voice.

  8. Capt says:

    Not to worry Democrats. The latest actions of our leader and his Twitter insults and narcissistic comments will provide the Democrats a victory in 2020. Count on it.

  9. Pogo says:


    No quarrel with your response. But – only this morning for me – someone else explains my complaint better than I:

    Fair use?

    From The Rise of the Thought Leader,
    By David Sessions
    June 28, 2017

    “…In his book The Ideas Industry, the political scientist and foreign policy blogger Daniel W. Drezner broadens the focus to include the conditions in which ideas are formed, funded, and expressed. Describing the public sphere in the language of markets, he argues that three major factors have altered the fortunes of today’s intellectuals: the evaporation of public trust in institutions, the polarization of American society, and growing economic inequality. He correctly identifies the last of these as the most important: the extraordinary rise of the American superrich, a class interested in supporting a particular genre of “ideas.”

    The rich have, Drezner writes, empowered a new kind of thinker—the “thought leader”—at the expense of the much-fretted-over “public intellectual.” Whereas public intellectuals like Noam Chomsky or Martha Nussbaum are skeptical and analytical, thought leaders like Thomas Friedman and Sheryl Sandberg “develop their own singular lens to explain the world, and then proselytize that worldview to anyone within earshot.” While public intellectuals traffic in complexity and criticism, thought leaders burst with the evangelist’s desire to “change the world.” Many readers, Drezner observes, prefer the “big ideas” of the latter to the complexity of the former. In a marketplace of ideas awash in plutocrat cash, it has become “increasingly profitable for thought leaders to hawk their wares to both billionaires and a broader public,” to become “superstars with their own brands, sharing a space previously reserved for moguls, celebrities, and athletes.”

    Drezner does his best to take an objective view of the thought leader as a new kind of intellectual who fulfills a function different from that of the public intellectual, though an equally legitimate one. “It is surely noteworthy,” he writes, optimistically, “that a strong demand has emerged for new ideas and vibrant ways of thinking about the world.” But he seems to portray this thirst for new ideas as a positive development even while conceding that the ideas currently thirsted for are at best shallow and banal, at worst deeply anti-democratic, and at times outright fraudulent…”

  10. Mark101 says:

    Make the democrats great again, give me a break. With who, Hillary pretty much killed the whole party along with Pelosi . People want to save the democratic party, well first thing you have to do and listen carefully, is replace all of those Congressional members that have been residing there longer than 12 years. Its like driving a new car you purchased back in the 80’s, sooner or later its going to break and no amount of money you put into it will make it actually new again. The democratic party is broken, its time to replace its parts.

  11. Sherry says:

    We certainly need “term limits” for ALL Parties in Congress!

    Please note. . . Of the top ten longest serving members of the House of Representatives, 5 are Republicans and 5 are Democrats. In the Senate there are 6 Republicans and 4 Democrats. They have all served for well over 20 years!

    The current Congressional Job Approval polls put them at a dismal over 60% DISAPPROVAL rating. . . with the Democrats slightly higher. The Congress is the swamp. . . yet they are voted in again and again! Take a look:

  12. Sherry says:

    It’s incredibly hypocritical to gripe about Democratic Obstructionist in Congress, , , when the Republican were complete Obstructionists during the 8 years President Obama was in office! For just a tiny example. . . the Republicans left our country without a Supreme Court justice for almost a full year because of their unethical party politics!!!

    Yes, the Democrats have their problems. . . but the Republicans have elected a completely disgusting human being and the WORST president in American history!

    The Republicans have had 7 years to develop a better health care/health insurance plan, and they have only thrown together a package that gives massive tax breaks to the wealthy while ripping apart the health care safety net for those who need it the most !

  13. Sherry says:

    To Nancy Smith. . . the writer of this article. . . touting that the Republican leaders can “get away with almost anything” is disgraceful! That is a phrase right out of the screen play for the “House of Cards”. Our political leaders should not be looking to “get away” with things. They should be admonished for such attitudes. . . regardless of their political party.

    Perhaps you meant to admonish the Republicans . . . but, that did not come across loud and clear. Such statements tear at the very fabric of a once highly civilized society. One that is being shaken to its core. I am disappointed in you.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The Democrats need to get George Wallace reincarnated and run him against Trump. The Dems might have a slight chance then!

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