It’s a plot device in hundreds of “coming of age” stories. At a low point, a group of scrappy friends decide to “get the band back together” and ride a wave of nostalgia and personal growth to a happy, meaningful ending. As Democrats recover from their historic rout on Tuesday, they can be forgiven for longing to rev up the Clinton machine and dream of new triumph in 2016.
They ought to move a bit more quickly through the stages of grief and accept the fact that the Clinton magic was tried again this midterm and showed it has lost its luster.
In the closing weeks of the midterm elections, the Clintons affected a takeover of the Democrat party and became tireless surrogates for candidates coast to coast and up and down the ballot. Wednesday morning, America Rising helpfully reminded us that the Clintons campaigned for 30 candidates in 25 states. Since September, Hillary has led 45 events for Democrat candidates. With the exception of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, every Democrat in a competitive Senate race she campaigned with lost.
In Governors’ races, she campaigned furiously for Gov. Pat Quinn in Illinois, Anthony Brown in Maryland, Mike Michaud in Maine, and Charlie Crist in Florida. All of them lost. Two of them are in deeply-blue states, one is in a perennial swing state, and one (Illinois) is her home state and home to President Obama. If the Clinton revival show fails in these states, her presumptive position as the frontrunner in 2016 is seriously overvalued.
Bill Clinton even closed out the campaign in his home state of Arkansas, stumping for Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor and for Democrat Mike Ross, who was running for Governor. Not only was Pryor crushed by Republican Tom Cotton, Ross was soundly defeated by former Rep. Asa Hutchison. When he was in Congress, Hutchison was an impeachment manager against Clinton. Even Arkansa voters, it seems, have moved far past the Clinton drama.
One major factor in the Democrats’ historic losses was the considerable drop in support from young voters. In the Obama era, they have become a critical component of the Democrats’ base coalition. The idea that Hillary, a 70-something-year-old grandmother can excite this fickle cadre of voters is yet further evidence that DC pundits are seriously out of touch with the rest of the country. “The Google” didn’t even exist when Clinton last left the White House.
It should not be lost on Democrats that a large number of their candidates this year were legacy candidates, not unlike Clinton herself. Landrieu, Pryor, Udall, Begich, Nunn, Carter, and Grimes are just the most prominent of losing Democrat candidates whose greatest claims to fame rest tucked away in family scrapbooks of their parents.
How can a party of young voters continue to offer up candidates better known to these voters’ parents and grandparents? As a conservative, I sincerely pray the Democrats persist with this Clinton addiction. As a consumer of political narratives, though, I want to jump in the road and yell, “Stop.”
Left edited out of countless stories is the fact that after you get the band back together, you remember that it actually kind of sucked.