Politico reports that angry party centrists are blaming a combination of the leadership’s smugness in imagining that an anti-Trump message would be sufficient to win the day, as well as the inability of candidates in tough races to escape the taint of the left wing: “Moderates in Trump-leaning districts couldn’t escape their ‘socialist’ shadow.” Stephanie Murphy, head of the party’s Blue Dog caucus, was frank about the cause of the party’s difficulties: “That far-left agenda is not what wins districts and holds majorities.” . . .
In this sense, the rise of identity politics created a moral hazard of its own, leaving the party with a false sense that ethnic groups have common interests that lead their members to vote as a bloc. There’s limited truth to this contention, and this year the limits became apparent. The Democrats seemed to assume that their portrayal of Trump as irredeemably racist would suffice to win them the support they needed among non-Whites. But apparently not every voter in that group was persuaded; at the very least, many found other issues more salient. And Whiteness was less important this time around. Preliminary exit polls tell us that Trump actually lost considerable ground among White men. At the same time, he made significant gains among people of color, both those with college degrees and those without.