This is the conclusion of a three-part series. In Part I, Courthouse News spoke with experts about what drew blue-collar workers away from the Democratic Party. Part II looked at the party’s efforts to rebuild.
WASHINGTON (CN) – With little time left to wallow in existential malaise, the Democratic National Committee has until the end of the month to choose the party’s next chair. Enthusiastic opening shots by the new Republican administration have put the pressure on.
Though protests against President Donald Trump have drawn millions across the country since the inauguration, and congressional Democrats have grown bolder in their opposition of their new commander in chief, there is little guidance about what steps the Democratic Party is taking to attract the voters who are increasingly drawn to third-party candidates.
Louis Elrod, the 28-year-old president of Young Democrats of America, says the failure to cultivate the so-called millennial vote could be fatal in the next election.
"If you're not gearing your message, or crafting a message that can be easily tailored to our generation, you're losing the next election," Elrod said in a phone interview.
Exit-poll data of the 2016 contest seems to support this. Circle, a nonpartisan research organization at Tufts University, reported that millennial support for third-party candidates spiked to 8 percent in 2016, up from only 3 percent in the 2012 election.
As compared with President Barack Obama's turnout in 2012, meanwhile, millennial turnout for Hillary Clinton dropped by 5 percent. In fact, she performed worse than he did for that demographic in every key swing state.
There are 24 million young voters ages 18 to 29 in the United States. The DNC did not return an interview request to discuss the election.
Circle, whose name is short for the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, found that only 50 percent of eligible young voters cast a ballot in 2016. Of those, only 55 percent voted for Clinton.
These numbers paint a grim outlook for the Democratic Party. Republicans not only nabbed the presidency, but control both chambers of Congress.
On top of that, Republican governors outnumber Democrats 33 to 16, and Republicans dominate both chambers of 32 state legislatures.
The only bright spot for Democrats can be found at the city level - 67 out of 100 major U.S. cities have Democratic mayors.
This group has also put forward one of the dark-horse candidates in the race for DNC chair: Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
"The solutions our party needs won't begin with Washington, they'll come from communities across our country," Buttigieg said in a campaign video.