Ross Douthat has an op-ed in the Times that I find hard to understand. I think his suggestion is that you move to the center (and I do not think he means Rockefeller Center) because that’s how you win elections.
But which of these arguments as to why Democrats should do this works as reflecting accurate facts?
Democrats lost the popular vote.
Democrats lost the demographic groups that are expanding.
Democrats lost to a campaign that embraced the agenda of corporations and banks
Democrats lost to a person who has shown he values the “family values” that Democrats supposedly have contempt for.
The key to winning was states that will gain electoral college votes, specifically those in the Midwest.
The voters agreed with the wining candidate on most issues.
The policies the winner seems to be pursuing will help the people who voted for him.
There are plenty of reasons for the defeat, and they will become clearer over time. But I very much doubt that any of them really support a “move to the right” strategy, even though after most elections moving to the center would be a good idea.
No, this election needs a more sophisticated analysis of what is going to happen to low-information voters as they realize that the job situation for them is going to get worse and worse into the foreseeable future, and specifically, that the person they voted for does not have their interests at heart. In other words, what does the fact that Tea Party voters, feeling betrayed, turned to Trump, tell us about what Trump voters will do after realizing a second betrayal. Or rather, what will happen when the Trump campaign is willing to turn more intensively to demagoguery to hold their voters support in the face of that risk (like recycling the flag issue, surely not.)
The answer, surely, is simply turning low information voters into high information voters.