Republicans are not the only ones with a “rebranding” problem

by Robert Maynard

While the national media has been focusing its attention on Republican woes and talk of “rebranding”, the Democrats appear to have problems of their own.  A Democratic strategist sees the Democratinc Party as one in decline that wll be “at considerable risk” once President Obama has exited the political scene.  This opperative explains the reasons fro his alarm in a recent Politico article:

One of the Democrats’ most veteran strategists warns that the party is “in decline” and “at considerable risk” when President Barack Obama is no longer on the scene.

“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.

 Here are a few of Sosnik’s conclusions:

• Obama’s personal popularity does not easily translate for other candidates. The president is not building the Democratic Party’s institutional apparatus in a way that it will thrive when he’s gone.

• The losses in the 2010 midterms gave Republicans control of the redistricting process, which will be in effect until after the 2020 census. This gives the GOP a structural advantage in keeping the House.

• Millennials, born 1981 to 1994, and Generation X’ers, born 1965 to 1980, are voting Democratic, but a plurality identify themselves as independents — which makes them less reliable.

• Democrats cannot count on the same level of African-American turnout without Obama at the top of the ticket. Sosnik cites new analysis showing that in 2012 for the first time ever eligible black voters turned out a higher rate than whites.

While Republicans have a serious Hispanic problem, Sosnik explains, “younger Hispanics feel less of an allegiance to the Democratic Party than their elders.” Only 50 percent of Hispanic voters aged 18-34 identify themselves as Democrats, according to Gallup, compared to 59 percent of Hispanic voters 55 or older.

If Hillary Clinton does not run, Sosnik fears that Democrats will be left with a thin bench of top-flight presidential contenders in 2016.

Looking to 2014, Democratic base groups also tend to turn out at lower rates for midterms than presidential elections.