Might Democrats Have to do More Soul Searching Than Republicans? An SU Professor Thinks So

Nov 5, 2020

Credit file photo / WAER News

A Syracuse University political science professor says democrats might be the party doing more introspection after falling short in congressional races across the country.  Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at the Maxwell School Grant Reeher says democrats have been struggling to balance the left wing with the rest of the party since before 2016.


“How much of their party do they want to be about different kinds of identities: ethnic, racial, sexual orientation as opposed to economic status.”

On the other hand, Reeher says the republican party seems more focused on its positions, and any changes it may make.

“The brand seems to have survived Donald Trump as president, if you want to think about it that way. Certainly, he has brought some enthusiasm to the republican base without losing a lot of more traditional republicans.”

The professor says this seems to have played out in the congressional races, where the GOP beat expectations.  That’s especially true in the senate, where Reeher says republicans have been the party of "no" in stopping legislation from the House.  But he says they didn’t seem to pay a price at the polls for their inability to reach a deal on a second stimulus package.  

Politics aside, Reeher says there’s one success story that didn’t get enough attention.

“Despite all the challenges that we had, the pandemic, the active undermining of confidence in the election system itself, the fact that we were in new uncharted territory with some of the devices that different states were using in order to make it easier for people to vote because of the pandemic. Despite of all that, the election still seemed to have 'worked.'”

He says recounts and lawyers are all to be expected as part of the process, especially in close races.