I have liked Salena Zito in the past, even though I am mostly unskilled and uninterested in the horse-race aspect of politics. Ann Althouse highlighted the second half of this essay in the Examiner, and it adds up for me. The first part, about the hypocrisy of powerful Democrats, does seem to resonate with others more than it does with me. I expect hypocrisy and entitlement from the powerful, including Republicans.
Instead of listening to the voters, Obama spent his second term going all-in with executive action. Democrats shed their blue-collar and rural voters that had been part of their coalition and went full elite progressive. The 2014 election was the result, an even worse bloodbath for Democrats than 2010.
Two things were missed in the coverage of 2016. First, Trump was never the cause of that election — he was the result of a coalition that had been building for a decade, made up of suburban-educated voters, blue-collar and rural voters, and a growing number of middle-class Hispanic voters.
Hillary Clinton was not going to be a third term of Bill. I grant that she would have been more similar in governance to him than anyone else the Democrats were going to nominate, but she was not the same. She had always pulled him in one direction, but when he kept pointing out to her staff in 2016 that he was the only person in the room who had actually won a national election, they blundered on. The might both have gone to Yale Law and become deep Washington, but in the end his instincts were University of Arkansas and hers were Wellesley, and voters knew that, however distant it had become. Bill could sell the idea "I am the only liberal conservative enough to save you from those really dangerous conservatives," while Hillary was trying to sell "I am the only one moderate enough to save you from those crazy liberals (in the primaries) and those evil conservatives (in the general)." And she could not close the deal.
Obama was, in the end more Chicago and corrupt than he was radical, which is why liberal journalists trying to look oh-so-smart can claim he was center-left or even moderate. He wasn't, but he was about power and enforcing some version of what he liked more than about being True Left. Chicago. Hope and Change. Laughable from the start. Obamacare was a gift to many special interests more than it was to socialists, sure.
I will venture the political analysis that Republicans are in danger of believing that they are winning voters rather than that they are not offending as badly the people that the Democrats are disdaining and throwing away. Republicans are now neither any version of conservative, populist, libertarian, nor Washington-elite-at-a-discount. They are winning by not being crazy. The danger is that each of those groups believes that it is the powerful core that is delivering the victories, and can thus afford to tell the others to kiss off. Well, maybe not the libertarians, who know they are always a minority in the party.