With the rather large exception of the White House, these are dark days for the Democratic Party. The 2014 election left the party with 188 seats in the House of Representatives, its lowest count since the Truman administration. Their 46 seats in the Senate put them almost at their Bush administration nadir in that body. They totally control the governments of ten states – by having both halves of the legislature and the governor or having supermajorities in the legislature to overrule the governor – whereas Republicans control a whopping 23. Even if Democrats hold on to the White House in 2016, and even retake the Senate, winning back the House would take a miracle.
All of this has sparked debate as to how doomed the party really is. Are Democrats caught in a doom loop that ensures long-term decline? Or is there nothing wrong with the party that a loss in a presidential election, and ensuing gains in Congress and states, couldn’t fix?
After reviewing the numbers, and talking to some political scientists doing research on related issues, I think pessimists are too pessimistic, but they also have a point. A Democratic recovery is possible, but it’ll take a while. And America’s increasing racial diversity – which is usually seen as the Democrats’ ace in the hole – may not necessarily help.
To read more of Dylan Matthews’ story in Vox click here.