The Democrats used to bill themselves as the party of unshakable optimism with jaunty, confident presidents like FDR or JFK, “Happy Warriors” like Al Smith and Hubert Humphrey, or the “Man from Hope” himself, Bill Clinton. But a new Pew Research study shows the party of “Happy Days Are Here Again” and “High Hopes” is now the party of “Eve of Destruction.”
The percentage of Democrats who say they feel “little or no confidence in the country’s future” nearly tripled in the past two years – from just 12% to 34%. Meanwhile, Republican spirits have soared – with 59% expressing “a lot of confidence” in America’s future – up 19 points since Trump’s election.
In politics, optimism generates energy and attracts votes while panic and negativity tend to repel the electorate. In every presidential race in the last 90 years, the more cheerful, positive, ebullient candidate has prevailed. That suggests the Democrats’ current gloom will only serve to seal their own doom.