If we win, it means we can win without them. But this is aimed at being able to run the country properly. You can’t run the country as divided as it is today. And you can’t govern with just 55 percent of the country. We have to reach out to working-class white voters in order to govern.Because I can't remember the last time either American party had solid 55% support. In 2008, a roaring Democratic victory driven by Wall Street collapse and Iraq war fatigue, the Democrats got only 53% of the Congressional vote.
Perhaps Dean is right; even with Obama newly in office and holding both the Senate and the House, the Democrats were not able to pass a Cap and Trade law to limit greenhouse emissions or a comprehensive immigration law. They did pass the Affordable Care Act, but only by taking out many measures liberals badly wanted (such as the public option) to appease the most conservative Democrats.
In 2002 the Republicans won a House majority with just 50% of the vote, and they were unable to enact any reform of Social Security or indeed to pass much legislation at all.
Reagan came into office with what everyone seemed to think was a big mandate for change, and with the support of southern Democrats was able to enact big tax cuts and big increases in military spending. But his ideas to cut other spending and reform entitlements were never even taken up in the House, which is how we ended up with twenty years of gigantic deficits.
How you feel about this depends, I guess, on how you feel about the results. If you despise gigantic compromise kluges like Obamacare, or if you really hate government debt, you probably rage against this and want clear lines of responsibility. If you want radical change of any sort, you will not get it. But if you are suspicious of ideologues with their grand plans – single payer health care, Social Security privatization – you probably like things this way.
I tend to think that the current alignment of American voting puts severe limits on both liberals and conservatives. Democrats can't get a big majority because older, whiter, more rural voters despise their cultural agenda. But if Republicans ever get a majority big enough to enact Paul Ryan's plans to severely cut taxes and privatize Medicare, the result would be a huge switch of Trump voters to the Democrats. And that, I think, is probably the only way the Democrats will ever get the big majorities they dream about. As long as the Democrats are able to defend Social Security and Medicare, older white voters will continue to support Republicans for cultural reasons, and the stalemate will go on.