Something I find incredibly puzzling is the strange determination many progressive have to diagnose what the “problem” is with Democrats that makes them so “bad” at electoral politics. They actually seem to me to be fine. Look at the 30 year span from 1980 to 2010. The Democratic candidate won the popular vote in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2008 (4 times) whereas the Republican candidate won in 1980, 1984, 1988, and 2004. It’s true that in the real world the poor ballot design in Palm Beach County, the Supreme Court, and the Electoral College put George W Bush in the White House but none of that is the fault of Democratic Party messaging tactics.
Democrats controlled the House for 18 out of those 30 years, and controlled the Senate for 14 out of 30 years. In the new year, they’ll control two out of the three branches of government. None of that sounds to me like a political party that’s having trouble persuading people to vote for it.
What’s more, you need some kind of baseline against which to judge this. Over the 60 year lifespan of the Federal Republic of Germany, Social Democrats have run the government for 20 years. Over the 50 year life of the 5th Republic in France, the Socialist Party has held the presidency for 14 years. The basic idea of a center-right party is that it represents a coalition of the business establishment with the socio-cultural mainstream. That tends to give you a dominant position in politics.