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In the first part of our three-part survey on the effect of a Donald Trump victory in November, we asked how the Democratic Party would react.

blame bernie

Donald in the House? Get Those Fingers Pointed—Dick Price & Sharon Kyle

You might think that the logical, constructive Democratic response would be to recognize that they have left their one-time working class and progressive activist base behind so, naturally, they should shift their policies to the left to develop a stronger, more inclusive party to combat Trump and the Republicans down the road.

That would be the constructive and logical response but most of the survey respondents didn't think the party would take that route.

Indeed, at midnight, just 11 percent thought the party would shift policies to the left and another 8 percent thought Democrats would try to build a stronger party.

Brian Anderson was one exception to this trend. Said he:

"The future of the Democratic Party is in the hands of much younger people, that is clear. What’s not clear now is who will step up to run for president in 2020 or 2024. Those of us who’ve stood with the party since McGovern have a lot of work to do—along with younger generations—shaping policy and promoting candidates at the grassroots."

A deeply bitter taste lingers among Bernie Sanders' many supporters from the way party insiders, the corporate media who act more like press agency flacks, and the plutocrats who gave Hillary $180 million in August cooked the books in the primary.

But more generally, a deeply bitter taste lingers among Bernie Sanders supporters who have expressed disgust for the way party insiders, the corporate media who act more like press agency flacks, and the plutocrats behind Hillary who cooked the books in the primary. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, few think the Democrats would get busy rebuilding their old campaign juggernaut.

Perhaps we should take a page out of an old Republican book. Some of us are old enough to remember when Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater was absolutely shellacked in the 1964 presidential election, he and his running mate, New York Congressman William Miller, losing 44 states to incumbent president Lyndon Johnson and his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey.

At the time, some thought Goldwater's landslide loss—he and Miller took only Goldwater's home state of Arizona and five Deep South states—might spell the demise of the Republican Party or that the party would have to greatly remake itself in a more centrist direction.

But instead, Goldwater's loss set the stage for the nation's rightward swing in the second half of the 20th Century.

“He made it palatable to be a conservative. It wasn’t clear then that that would be the result, nor was it clear that out of the ashes of that disaster would come Ronald Reagan,’’ says Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley. "We also don’t know the result of the Trump nomination. It may be a disaster for the Republicans—or the beginning of a new Republican populist movement.”

Now, the parallel here is hardly exact. In their worst nightmare, Hillary Clinton's team fears a photo finish loss, hardly a shellacking. And this contest is not fought on ideological grounds: Trump has one-liners and tweets, not an ideology, and Clinton has an ever-shifting position that critics say depend on the latest polls.

But a Hillary Clinton loss of any dimension—to a blowhard reality show host who appeals to the worst angels of America's soul—would be psychologically crushing for true blue Democrats.

So the Democratic Party and the millions of Democrats who have faithfully supported it should remake itself the way the conservative wing of the Republican Party did starting in the 1960s. Right?

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Wrong, at least according to this poll.

Change How It Picks Candidates

At best, a minority of respondents—10 percent—think the Party will change the way it picks candidates, but not in a good way, or at least not in a progressive way.

Here's Bill Quam on that point:

“As we saw after Watergate time or any other periods in American history when there are only two of the lesser or two evils, the only change in the Democratic Party is that the rules change to keep more change out of the process. After the McGovern election the DNC establishment enacted rules to keep any popularism out of the nominating process. And to enforce “party unity” there is a process to expel anyone who supports a third party candidate for five years.”

It certainly does seem likely Democratic Party insiders will work to prevent another surprise from someone like Bernie Sanders, not a person already inside their tent but an outsider bursting through the tent flap with millions of supporters who owe little allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Yes, rather than build on that influx of new voting energy, the Democratic Party has already shown that it will pull a great many shenanigans—an awfully gentle term for the dirty tricks employed by the DNC and the Clinton Machine during the primary season—to blunt the will of the people.

Really, the Democratic Party as it stands can't move to the left, can't appeal to populist energy. No, it has built itself around appealing to the nation's very wealthiest plutocrats to support its candidates and eventually provide party insiders a cushioned ride in the private sector.

Echoing the 46 percent that said the Party would do nothing, Katherine Schock had this to say:

“Seeing what their actions have been during the primary election, I also do NOT expect them to change a thing! They are too busy searching for more money and more lies to cover-up their complicity in the gifting of the presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton!”

Start Pointing Fingers

That leaves what the vast majority of respondents thought will happen should Trump win: 55 percent think the Party will blame third party candidates and the Democrats who switched over to them; and fully 59 percent think they'll blame dear Bernie and his supporters.

Here's how Jim Fuller puts it:

“The self-programmed “best and brightest”— the Ivy League, PhD crowd that runs the Democratic Party—cannot accept the possibility that they are or have been wrong about anything, so they will dig in, blame everybody but themselves and hang on tightly to control the party, probably doubling down on their disdain for the concerns of everybody who is not them. The party is going to go on failing, and the plutocrats will tighten their hold on this country until it is no longer recognizable. Anybody who can should run for the border.”

That tsunami of finger-pointing has already begun with the talking heads on what is laughingly called liberal media and in social media.

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Next up in our three-part survey is a question about what affect a Donald J.Trump presidency would have on the country and finally how you personally will respond.

Dick Price and Sharon Kyle
Editor and Publisher, LA Progressive