The 2008 presidential election was the first one I was old enough to vote in, and we all know what happened: extremely unpopular sitting president and his party get walloped at the polls and the opposition party take the reins of the government. In 2012, I had everything planned out: eight years with Romney, four with Ryan, then transition to eight more years of Rubio. I saw no reason why the Republicans shouldn’t retain power for a long time to come. Obviously, things didn’t work out that way as President Obama won a second term; and the supposed deep bench on the Republican side meant nothing when Trump brought the worst the party has to offer to the forefront as he marched to the nomination and eventually the presidency.
Lets back up for a minute. The Obama’s time in the White House was horrible for Democrats. They lost the House during the first midterm, they lost 970 seats at the state level, they lost the Senate, only 15 governors mansions are still being occupied by Democrats. The Obama years led to one defeat after another for his party. Losses that deep and bad have long-lasting consequences: namely that it leaves your party with a bench so thin that by the time 2020 rolls around, Democrats will be trotting out candidates with a median age of over 70. It’s why, back in 2012, I could so easily see Republicans taking and keeping the White House for so long. The Democrats just didn’t seem to have any rising stars who could put up much of a fight.
The point of all of this is a warning to Trump and the rest of the GOP. If you like being the party that has the unmistakable advantage in being able to shape policy for this nation going forward, don’t make the same mistakes that President Obama and his party did when they were in power. Part of what happened was inevitable. Most Americans, for the most part, don’t want one-party rule. They would prefer at least one of the three governing bodies to be in opposition to the other two. It helps with the checks and balances that the Constitution put in place. However, Democrats got “shellacked” as Obama said after the 2010 midterms because they decided to overreach. They took policies that Americans were against and rammed it down their throat. They proved to be completely out of touch with where Americans were at and what they wanted out of the government. For instance, with the ACA: almost every single American would tell you that healthcare needed to be fixed prior to 2009. However, the backroom deals and the writing in secret by only the majority party, and bringing to a vote with shady scoring by the CBO, the claim of Mrs Pelosi of “We need to pass it so we can see what’s in it.” None of it was what the American people wanted or where we were at as a nation.
Now the Republicans are in power and facing many of the same challenges. They’re working on their own healthcare law in Graham-Cassidy. It hasn’t been scored by the CBO, it’s not what many Americans want, and it was written exclusively by one party. If they want to stay in power past one or two election cycles they’d be wise to learn from the mistakes the Democrats made less than a decade earlier. If they don’t, the democratic bench won’t be empty forever, and it’s only a matter of time until they once again find themselves wandering through the political wilderness; left to ponder what happened, what went wrong, and how they can get back to power.