Steven Hale has pretty much the definitive story on the fall of the Democrats. The only piece that seems to be missing to me is the roll of the Rosalind Kurita episode. Maybe it doesn’t, but it seemed to me at the time–and still does–as a crucial pivot point that really read differently to the Democratic Party than it did to voters who traditionally voted Democratic.
I think the Party thought it was playing hardball with someone they perceived of as disloyal.
I think a lot of voters felt that this was a clear demonstration that the Party was so corrupt and so good-old-boy-ish that it would demolish anyone who put the good of the state over the good of the party.
It’s possible that the Kurita incident would have blown up in Democrats’ faces no matter what the Party did. But what it did do sent a couple of messages the Democrats still don’t want to take responsibility for sending. One is the primacy of party interests over state interests–though it sounds from Hale’s article like they may finally get this. The other is the message it sent to women about how the Democratic party treats female candidates. If you know you live in a state where the baseline–across parties–is not very woman-friendly and one party at least puts women in leadership positions, why would you leave your loyalty with the other party?
I mean, I know why I do. But why would a regular Tennessee woman?
Until the TNDP has some good answers to that question, all they can do is wait for the Republicans to fuck up so bad (while hoping their own Democrats don’t go down with them) that women will come back to them in disgust.
I would, if that is the strategy, invite all skeletons in any prominent closets to be dealt with now. Because voters whose motivation is disgust can be easily motivated to leave you for the same reason.