The two Democrat front runners for their party’s presidential nomination are Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. She’ll be 68 years old this fall. He’ll turn 74 in September. Three other candidates Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee have about as much national name recognition as yours truly.
With Hill’s endless stumbles and scandals freezing her coronation, Bern has picked up lots of momentum. The problem for Dems is he’s a proud Socialist, and therefore, hopefully, more electable in Greece than in today’s USA.
So the chatter is Democrats have “no bench”. Their “big hitters” are ancient, and there’s little or no help coming from anybody else in this sorry lineup. In the other dugout, the GOP looks like it has more players than it needs, lots of them with excellent resume’s. They have a “very strong bench”.
How’d it come to pass Republicans can look down a long row of office seekers and see a bunch of them able to play at the highest level, while Dems, honestly assessing their team see just the opposite? It’s simple.
Beginning about half a decade ago the GOP began developing what would be analogous to a terrific baseball “farm system”. Young, promising prospects, drawn to an appealing GOP message were recruited and allowed to grow in an organization that enthusiastically, coached and encouraged their development. Here’s just one example of how it paid off.
In early 2008, Lee Zeldin, a 28 year old, Iraq War Vet, got the Republican nod to run against incumbent, Long Island, Democrat congressman, Tim Bishop. In an election that saw Barack Obama and his party sweep the country, newbie Zeldin lost 58-42%. At 30, an undeterred Mr. Zeldin challenged a sitting Dem, New York State Senator and won 57-43%. He was re-elected in 2012, eventually setting the stage for a 2014 run against Bishop. Lee promptly term limited 6-termer Tim by a margin of 54-45%. In 6 short years, young Republican, Lee Zeldin, won the rematch vs. his 64 year old opponent, by generating an astounding 25% turn around in the popular vote.
Far from being a one-off, this scenario has proven to be a microcosm of electoral results throughout the nation. Since 2010 the Grand Old Party has been winning races not only at the federal, but state and local levels as well. They’ve won county seats, gained control of over 30 governorships, and nearly as many state legislatures. Somewhere approaching 1,000 elected positions have switched from Democrat to Republican hands over the last 5 years.
What were Dems up to during that time? They sat back, happily encouraging a complicit media to further a cult of personality surrounding “their” historic president. But big problems arose when lazy, partisan Democrats continually, reflexively defended (beginning with ObamaCare) Barack Obama’s increasingly unpopular, failed programs. Soon, they began paying a very heavy, far-reaching price at the ballot box. Constituent discontent “trickled down” from Congress all the way to town officials unlucky enough to be defined by the “D” in front of their names.
Successful franchises, no matter how storied, whether centered in business, sports, or politics, cannot succeed without a steady influx of skilled people. Specifically, baseball history is littered with fallen teams who, after badly misjudging over rated or aging superstars, suddenly realized their talent cupboard was completely bare.
Much like die hard fans, Democrats are coming to the realization the cast of characters, upon which they built their hopes and dreams, is hopelessly flawed. So they’re desperately looking for a savior from that now famously nonexistent bench.
The search will be futile. Years of rubber stamping their unpopular president’s dreadful policies will leave Dems wandering the wilderness for a long time. Building a “political farm system” won’t be easy.
After all, what gifted, intelligent, aspiring young politician would be motivated to join a party, where the pick of their presidential litter is a scandal scarred, unsuccessful 68 year old, former Secretary Of State, and a Socialist who’s 6 years her senior.