Democrats talk about the years since 2010 as the Lost Decade, a time when a generation of future leaders was wiped out by a pair of devastating midterm elections and the absence of a strategic plan to recoup from those losses. That’s one reason this year’s gubernatorial elections are the most important in years.
Most of the current political focus, understandably, is on the upcoming congressional elections, when Democrats could retake control of the House and possibly even the Senate. Democratic control of the House would put a roadblock in the path of President Trump and dramatically alter the terms of debate heading toward the 2020 election.
But the Democrats need significant gains in the gubernatorial elections this November if they want to begin a broader rebuilding effort to restore the party to the kind of strength it once enjoyed. Without vitality in the states, the Democrats will remain what they became in recent years: a hollowed-out political institution.