Politics

Democrats fighting for relevance after Nov. 8th election

Democrats try to keep relevance

EL PASO, Texas - The election of Donald Trump dominated the headlines, but another big outcome of the election is the continued erosion of the Democratic Party's power across the country.

Republicans maintained control of both houses of Congress, and now control the legislature and governorships in more than half the states.

At the start of the Obama administration, things were much different. Democrats had huge majorities, and they also had the upper hand in the House or Representatives. Since 2008, the tide has gradually turned from blue to red.

"It is an exciting and fascinating moment because it is not politics as usual," said UTEP Political Science Professor Charles Boehmer, who said Democrats had been hoping to gain some ground this past election.

 

"There was a feeling at the national level that something needed to change," Boehmer said. Republicans extended their domination of governorships and state legislatures. "Democrats, everyone argued, we're possibly going to take back the Senate or at least make some ground in the House of Representatives," Boehmer added.

 

Instead, Republicans minimized losses in a year in which they had a lot of vulnerable seats, which has left local Democratic officials wondering about their party's future.

"There is a little bit of anxiety of what the lack of imbalance could mean to public policy," said District 75 Rep. Mary Gonzalez.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, (D) District 16, said Democrats must not lose sight of what they stand for. "I think we have to hold our ground and represent our interest and values." District 78 Rep. Joe Moody said. We need to make sure we can fight for what we can achieve."

One of the big questions about the next Congress is whether Republicans will continue the process Democrats began in 2013, of weakening the Senate's longstanding rules allowing the minority party to block legislation.

Boehmer says the Democrats needs to start thinking of their slate of candidates for the future and reconnecting with the middle class and working people, whom he believes they've lost over the years.


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