That picture is a gift. For the narratives it reinforces and the narratives it erodes, it might be the most politically toxic image of a President that we have ever seen. Democrats will waste it, because they still don’t know how to win campaigns in a post-patronage climate.
Poles of partisan alignment have been scrambled by a rare event, something unprecedented in our history. One of those three parties just completed a decades-long shift in its affiliation and it will take time for our system to establish a new equilibrium. This journey toward a redefinition of political parties has no certain endpoint, no roadmap, and no promise of a happy ending.
The Washington Post published a fantastic op-ed this morning on the forces that have undermined the Democratic Party.
Collapsing federal power presents states like California with an opportunity. California has not enacted single payer health care for one over-arching reason – their decision to cede leadership to the federal government. A collapse of federal power may reinvigorate state efforts to craft and refine smart public policy. In same way Massachusetts inspired the ACA, a new wave of state innovations may spawn an era of policy innovation that could break us out of decades of quagmire. In chaos, there is opportunity. If Democrats ever again want to lead in Washington, let them prove that they can lead in California.