There are many reasons for this decline in support for Democrats among certain groups. But an argument can be made that it is because Democrats have subordinated their traditional focus on helping lower- and working-class Americans move up the economic ladder in favor of other noble priorities, such as health care, the environment, and civil rights.
David Atkins at Digby, summarized:
Voter turnout was awful in 2014. People are discouraged and angry, and the economy is still only really working for the already-wealthy. This was a blow against incumbents, an unusually unfortunate set of Senate races, and was basically just going to happen. This doesn’t excuse the Dems, but does explain what happened.
I’m not sure. I’m unhappy with how poor the Democratic Party is at campaigning, in general. The Democratic Party always seems to be reeling from punch after punch, stumbling its way through elections despite representing the interests of (in my opinion) the majority of the American people. The Republican Party meanwhile manages to somehow come out a winner much of the time, despite pushing policies that often seem to me to be frankly dangerous. This is especially true for me in Texas, where I swear oil and gas could frack next to schools and houses if they found oil there.
Oh wait, that really happened in Denton until voters put a stop to it.
I don’t know what made 2008 and Obama different besides his substantial personal charisma, and GW’s poor leadership over eight years. Maybe that was all it was. Maybe the Democrats need to continue figuring out what went wrong, and maybe they need to stop beating themselves up. Time will tell, I suspect. If the Democrats go into 2016 still on the ropes, we can talk larger strategy. Until then I think we just need to calm down and see what Obama and our new Republican House and Senate do.
Suggested reading: How to win as a Democrat, Elizabeth Warren edition.