The Third Way researchers have been conducting research on why people voted the way they did in 2016 and their beliefs are being severely tested. They thought people would stay in the middle ground of politics and in their way of thinking, but they found a far more polarized citizenry.
When even The Third Way think tank needs to realign their beliefs, the Democratic Party needs to do so too only in a better fashion. Who the DNC picks for our next presidential candidate will probably be a deciding factor in whether or not the Democratic Party can survive.
The Democrats can’t afford to lose any more seats than they already have.
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On Safari in Trump's America
The country’s elites are desperate to figure out what they got wrong in 2016. But can they handle the truth?
The last focus group, a bunch of back-to-the-land organic farmers and artisanal small-businesspeople, was over, and the researchers had retreated to their car to debrief. There was a long pause after Hale turned off the tape recorder on which they were recording their impressions.
“I had a very hard time with that meeting,” she finally said. “The longer the meeting went on, the more it started to feel to me like just another community that had isolated itself, and it was right and everybody else wasn’t, you know?” The hippies should have been her kind of people, but the attitudes they’d expressed had offended her sense of the way America ought to be. She had come seeking mutual understanding, only to find that some people were not the least bit interested in meeting in the middle. And now she was at a crossroads: Would she have to revise her whole worldview to account for this troubling reality?
Third Way’s researchers are far from the only Americans inspired to undertake anthropological journeys in the past year. Nearly a year after Donald Trump’s election shocked the prognosticators, ivory-tower types are still sifting through the wreckage. Group after group of befuddled elites has crisscrossed America to poke and prod and try to figure out what they missed—“Margaret Meads among the Samoans,” one prominent strategist remarked to me.
For all intents and purposes, it was Third Way’s vision that had been on the ballot in 2016—and lost. The think tank, inspired by the New Democrat centrism of the 1990s, had advised Hillary Clinton on her 2016 policy platform. In debates within the Democratic Party, Third Way advocated for the sensible center. It argued that a left-wing platform could not win elections, and that what voters preferred was a pragmatic, moderate, technocratic philosophy, socially liberal but pro-business and wary of big government. It used research and data to demonstrate that these policies made good politics.
The Third Way is NOT the way to win elections.
The sooner the Democrats figure that out the sooner they can correct their course and maybe start winning elections again.