Democrats, if they do hold the White House, can’t assume a presidential victory is a pure validation of their way of governing. A win will be in no small part due to a rejection of Trump more than it is an affirmation for Clinton. The GOP may appear more fractured right now than the Democratic Party, but the ingredients are there for a similar implosion if the party isn’t careful.
As Hillary Clinton was acquiescing to just about every single progressive ask for the party platform this summer, one smart Clinton operative admitted that she may have won the nomination but Bernie Sanders won the campaign to decide the ideological direction of the party. The Democrats have been benefitting from being “not them” with a lot of voters who are not quite as progressive as the party activists for now. Can Democrats keep these “not them” leaners in their coalition if they govern in a more progressive direction?
That will be just one of the first challenges a President Hillary Clinton would face. Her political comfort zone is as a more center-left Democrat. And this fault line has the potential to splinter the party. When one leaves out race, the Democratic coalition doesn’t look all that different from the GOP coalition when it comes to income. And that divide has shattered the coalition on the right between blue-collar whites and the business/Wall Street elite.
Well guess what, the Democratic coalition consists of a wealthy elite and a working class group of voters, mostly of color. It’s a coalition that survives as long as the other party is seen as less inclusive on ethnic and racial lines. Democrats may think the GOP will never be able to rebrand itself anytime soon when it comes to non-whites, but parties aren’t static.