The New York Times reports that Democratic elites, caught off guard by the outpouring of fury from their base in the wake of Trump’s inauguration, are losing the ability to set their party’s agenda:
Reduced to their weakest state in a generation, Democratic Party leaders will gather in two cities this weekend to plot strategy and select a new national chairman with the daunting task of rebuilding the party’s depleted organization. But senior Democratic officials concede that the blueprint has already been chosen for them — by an incensed army of liberals demanding no less than total war against President Trump.
In other words, the Democratic leadership is now in thrall to the same dynamics that consumed the Republican Party early in President Obama’s first term: An explosion of grassroots energy, aversion to compromise of any kind, and escalating mistrust of a party establishment they perceive as impotent and corrupt.
And as with the grievances of the Tea Party movement, the sense of suspicion of leadership among the Democratic rank-and-file is not unfounded. After all, they were just led to the most spectacular defeat in decades by an establishment candidate with an extensive political machine employing the best experts and consultants liberalism has to offer.
But the collapse of authority of the Republican establishment did not necessarily lead the country in a productive or healthy direction. It led to six years of scorched earth opposition rather than policy innovation, and then, of course, to the nomination of Donald Trump. So perhaps the long-term questions for the Democrats is this: After waging all-out war on Donald Trump for four (or eight) years, will they nominate Meryl Streep, Kanye West, or Michael Moore?