What are they good for? Absolutely nothing? Not quite, but they have become a very ineffectual, weak party.
Consider that with a majority in both houses, President Obama could only pass the insurance-friendly Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which may have brought some coverage to a great many poor people, but did nothing to control health care costs. The Act was weak enough that several states were allowed to discourage advertising, enrollment and expansion of Medicaid. Even though the mandate seemed to be a boon to insurance companies, many have been withdrawing from money-losing markets. Recent staggering increases in premiums have been cited as affecting the recent election, and many potential customers routinely choose the penalty as more affordable than the coverage.
Consider Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy. He was not a particularly liberal pick, but the Republican-controlled Senate withheld consent, hoping for a very conservative pick by the next President. The Democrats could do nothing. Republicans seem to have won that battle, unless President-elect Trump nominates Judge Judy Sheindlin.
Consider that the Populist/Republicans now control the Presidency, Senate, House of Representatives, and far more statehouses and state legislatures. Many of the Democrats that do hold office are far from progressive.
So while we can be properly grateful for the social gains initiated by the Democrats, we have to be concerned that they haven’t got the political muscle to protect or expand them in the future.
Good God, y’all!