But what the steady stream of stories that Republicans are doomed miss is that there are signs that Democrats are about to begin their own crisis of confidence and unity.
- A national party controlling the White House sinks or swims with the President and the administration is taking water. When public confidence recedes like the tide, candidates begin to abandon ship. Differences in interests and viewpoints tend to become more visible and more likely to be fought over.
- Colorado as a bellwether state is demonstrating many of the fractures that will frame the 2014 election and gain higher national profile as the 2016 presidential campaign begins. The party’s environmental wing is fighting openly with the party establishment over the role of the oil and gas industry. In Colorado, fracking is the cutting edge issue and its contribution to global warming vs. the economy. The differences may make the November ballot and harm the Democratic ticket.
- Liberal education reformers, leaders in the minority community, the progressive business community and many members of the party establishment are at loggerheads with organized labor over changes in education policy. The fight divides Democrats from legislatures to the school districts.
- The administration and Democratic congressional leadership have called for local Democrats to embrace the Affordable Care Act. In states like Colorado that is a non-starter for Democrats like Mark Udall and Andrew Romanoff, who are in competitive races. The latest national polls affirm Obamacare is a drag on Democratic candidates and could get worse if health care prices start to climb.
- As the gun control recall of Colorado Democratic state legislators last fall demonstrated, the party has problems with its blue collar and more socially conservative voters. The party’s new coalition of the rich, well-educated and very poor has left out much of its traditional working class and old ethnic voter base. And, the new party elites are socially liberal, brightly green, and hostile to many traditional Democratic Party policies and union-type perks.