After suffering a brutal Election Day defeat, it’s time for Democrats to start picking up the pieces.
In a video released Saturday, Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz laid out a candid assessment of the party’s losses on election night, when Republicans ousted vulnerable Democratic incumbents to reclaim control of the Senate. She said the DNC has ordered a full review of how Democrats fell short this election cycle.
“Our party has a problem. We know we’re right on the issues. The American people believe in the causes we’re fighting for,” Wasserman Schultz said. “But the electoral success we have when our presidential nominee is able to make the case to the country as a whole, doesn’t translate in other elections.”
The DNC plans to unveil the results at the committee’s winter meeting early next year after party organizers, activists and strategists have combed through a “top-to-bottom assessment” of changes Democrats need to enact to survive upcoming elections.
Republicans went through a similar identity crisis following Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential defeat. In its autopsy report, the Republican National Committee found the party was getting increasingly older and whiter, while alienating major voting blocs, including women, Latinos and young people.
It didn’t take long after Election Day this year for the finger-pointing to begin and proclamations to pour in on what went wrong for Democrats. But party leaders are realizing they face very different electorates every two years: one that shows up to the polls in droves during presidential elections, and one that stays home on off-years and midterms. Fifty-four percent of young voters (under age 30) supported Democrats in the 2014 election, according to the NBC News national exit poll. Just 43% of voters age 60 or older voted Democratic. But older voters outnumbered younger voters by 21 points in this election cycle, according to the exit poll.
“We are going to look at where we fell short. We’re going to identify our mistakes,” Wasserman Schultz added in the DNC video. “And we’re going to talk to the smartest people in our party and the most dedicated Democrats in the country to build on what we’ve done that works and find solutions for things that are broken.”