It seems like the present day Democratic Party has no discernible principles. None. Zero. They will eagerly sell out their historic base and all their once professed policy principles in a hot second to capture some yokels they've identified as critical swing voters in let's just say Stark County, Ohio or Hillsborough County, Florida or Loudon County, Virginia or to appease a handful of large influential/rich contributors. All because they feel safe that their historic base has no viable alternatives.
These modern "pragmatist" Democrats will eagerly participate in cutting Social Security, slashing education funding, shredding the Bill of Rights, murdering American citizens abroad with no legal process, giving torturers and war criminals along with the perpetrators of the largest criminal fraud in human history absolute immunity from even investigation, never mind prosecution. They will do this and more because the only variable in their calculus is that which is necessary to remain in power. There are no principles that are sacred or off limits, no ideology at all other than what serves the immediate need of remaining in office through the next election cycle.
Republicans on the other hand have principles- wrong and dangerous principles needless to say but principles nevertheless. They aren't about to sell out those principles in the hopes of getting a handful of "swing voters" in some God forsaken exurb to cross over. They have a perverse integrity born from an actual ideological basis that the Democrats completely lack.
People sense this too, that the Republicans are based on ideas and principles whereas Democrats are simply winging it, making whatever deals they can and hoping nobody notices. Nobody respects people without principles, people who have no positions they won't bargain away to make a deal, whose only purpose is re-election.
The brand is being soiled and very likely irreparably damaged by this unprincipled and cynical Machiavellian opportunism. People aren't stupid when it comes to this stuff, people will get that they cannot rely on the Democratic Party for anything except unprincipled opportunism.
Yet the alternative- of actually standing for principles, for having a coherent vision of where the Party wants to take the country, of having values that are sacrosanct and not on the bargaining table, is seen as completely antithetical to the "grown ups" who run the Party and have surrendered to cynicism and see declaring principles only as an unacceptable risk that only limits their options when the next polling data from Akron rolls in.
The Democratic Party could be so much more, could destroy the Republicans over the longer term by simply being principled, being steadfast even when the polling data says being so might entail some short term risk. On key issue after key issue the electorate polls right into the sweet spot of what should be the core values of a Democratic Party, true to its historic principles. The natural Republican demographic of old, fearful, racist rural white people is the fastest shrinking demographic in the country, yet the Democrats relentlessly chase the near fringe of this demographic in some short sighted electoral chess game and they do so at the expense of representing their actual natural constituency; a constituency that is growing inexorably, of the young, the non-white, the non racist, the working class, the poor, the majorities or soon to be majorities that want thieving financiers made accountable, want same sex marriage a reality across the nation, want to see the senseless and counterproductive war on drugs reassessed, want defense spending slashed and our troops brought home now, want climate change addressed, want the savings and simple fairness of single payer universal health care, want the wealthy to pay a fairer amount of taxes, want their earned entitlements off the bargaining table, want education protected and nurtured, want renewable energy aggressively developed, want out critical infrastructures maintained.
To hell with the billionaires and corporate campaign contributors and a few dimbulb alleged swing voters in Ohio and Florida. They don't add up to more than a tiny handful of votes put together in the end and surrendering to them will kill the Party's brand and limit its potential looking out further than the next ephemeral election cycle. The only reason the Party needs the deep pocket contributors to sell its message is because it has no actual message beyond fear of the other. People don't need to be hard sold what they already want.
This madness, this unprincipled cynicism, this craven pandering to narrow special interests at the expense of the party, the nation and our collective future must end. Enough. The Democratic Party needs to have clearly enunciated principles, ones that proudly represent the interests of the majority of Americans and needs to defend those principles with fierce and unrelenting determination. Without compromise, without equivocation, without cynical Machiavellian backroom dealing, without selling out to billionaires. The party that stands for nothing but its own self interest and hanging on through the next election cycle needs instead to stand for principles, for the people, for the future of America.