People who claim Democrats are in denial and need to be Conservative, they are wrong.
The rough gist of several recent (and not so recent) editorials is that the voters tend to skew conservative on mid-terms, so the Dems need to follow thru in order to try and hold on.
But I think the solution is not to go conservative, but to go liberal. (pasted from a reddit comment I made:
Dems have not run as Liberal for some time now. I have a theory that the "distance" between the "middle" of the two parties is relatively constant. So as the GOP pushes ever rightward, the Dems have been pulled into the vacuum between them and thus pulled rightward.
The Dems have been playing right-of-center for decades now leaving a HUGE gap to the left of them. All those people left of the Democratic party now are disenfranchised and feel left out. Sure those people will vote Dem if they bother to vote, but they are not motivated much by a party that sits squarely where the Republicans sat a generation ago.
I do not want to go on for long (not to mention that I just do not have the skill to go on for long on anything!), but the Dems are definitely too far right for most liberals. Many of us only bother to vote Democrat because we are more voting against the Republicans.
This kind of lack-luster support shows at the State and Local levels with weak Democrat candidates and weak Democrat platforms. It is no surprise that Dems have a hard time locally when liberal voters feel no candidate really represents what they want. When the party in general is afraid to stand up for liberal positions, the liberal voter feels left out.
The Democrat party needs to solidly move to the left.
For one, it will re-vitalize the disenfranchised liberal voters and draw a clearer line between the Democrat position and the GOP position.
Moving left will also give the "moderate" GOP candidates somewhere to move to.
Right now, if a GOP candidate moves left, they end up right in the middle of the Democrats. They have nowhere to run to make a solid case against the extreme members of the party so they come across as weak and get killed by extremists.
The Democrats should make more room between themselves and the GOP and pull the Republicans back from the lunatic fringe that is running the show before the lunatics take over the whole asylum.
Bernie Sanders is doing so good this time because for the first time in a long while we have a Democrat spouting Liberal ideas (Obama spouted many liberal ideas, but has ended up being more or less a copy of W).
With any luck, more liberal candidates will pull the party back across the middle and back to the left where it belongs.
sroberts 20 Oct 2015
(edited Nov 3 - Remove Vox article since it was not really relevant, added links to more relevant editorials and commentary)