There's Some Trouble in the Parties

We all know that the Republican Party is in the midst of a dramatic change. The last election proved that the GOP just didn’t grasp the shift in campaign strategies that the Obama campaign capitalized on. Worries of a divided Democratic Party appeared to fade away after the Democratic National Convention (although one wonders how much unification happened in Unity, New Hampshire).

In the weeks after the election, members and leaders of the Republican Party have made it well known that the party needs to be rebuilt and changed. Organizations such The New Republicans and Rebuild the Party highlight new ideas and plans for the future of the GOP. No doubt, the Republican Party must be overhauled and done so quickly to have any impact in the 2010 mid-term elections.

With the cries of unity coming from the Democratic Party, it looked as though Obama and other leaders had achieved the impossible and united the party after the contentious primaries. Majorities in the House and Senate coupled with control of the White House have conservatives worried about the impact the Obama administration will have in the next four years. However, articles are now appearing in major political/news organizations that question the unity between the Democratic Party.

Politico released an article detailing a potentially explosive situation centered on Rep. Charles B. Rangel, chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. An ethics investigation is being conducted into Rangel’s financial dealings that could show abuse of his chairmanship. Speaker of the House Pelosi is caught in a delicate situation with many calling for Rangel to be replaced but the Congressional Black Caucus, an influential force within the House Democratic Caucus, has promised to resist any such moves.

CNN also released an article beginning: “Congressional Democrats have a bigger majority than they’ve enjoyed in decades, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be unity on Capitol Hill.” Scary, especially coming from CNN. The Democratcs made strategic inroads in the past election by replacing Republicans with moderate Democratcs. Blue Dog Democrats hold conservative fews when it comes to how to pay for Obama’s proposed plans and make no qualms about voting against the party should the money not be available. When it comes to the automaker bailout, one side of the party favors helping the big 3 auto companies with money that was originally targeted to encourage more fuel-effecient cars. However, the pro-environmentalists in the party are set against such a plan.

Overall, the Democratic Party now has several different camps under its umbrella and that may be it’s biggest problem. Norman Ornstein, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, said, “We’re not just talking ideology here. The broader your majority, the more you’ve got different regions of the country that have different economic and social interests that you have to take into account.” The Democratic Party leadership definitely has a long road ahead of it when it comes to maintaining and controlling the party.

Both the Republicans and Democrats have significant challenges withing their respective parties. From your view, what steps should the parties be taking in the coming year?