The policies of the Democratic Party lost them the election — and it’s too late for tears

The shaken and stirred — sorry, movers and shakers — of the Progressive Left, including “George Soros and other rich liberals who spent tens of millions of dollars trying to elect Hillary Clinton,” are convening “in Washington for a three-day, closed door meeting to retool the big-money left to fight back against Donald Trump.”

The conference, which kicked off Sunday night at Washington’s pricey Mandarin Oriental hotel, is sponsored by the influential Democracy Alliance donor club, and will include appearances by leaders of most leading unions and liberal groups, as well as darlings of the left such as House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairman Keith Ellison, according to an agenda and other documents obtained by POLITICO.

The meeting is the first major gathering of the institutional left since Trump’s shocking victory over Hillary Clinton in last week’s presidential election, and, if the agenda is any indication, liberals plan full-on trench warfare against Trump from Day One. Some sessions deal with gearing up for 2017 and 2018 elections, while others focus on thwarting President-elect Trump’s 100-day plan, which the agenda calls “a terrifying assault on President Obama’s achievements — and our progressive vision for an equitable and just nation.”

Yet the meeting also comes as many liberals are reassessing their approach to politics — and the role of the Democracy Alliance, or DA, as the club is known in Democratic finance circles. The DA, its donors and beneficiary groups over the last decade have had a major hand in shaping the institutions of the left, including by orienting some of its key organizations around Clinton, and by basing their strategy around the idea that minorities and women constituted a so-called “rising American electorate” that could tip elections to Democrats.

That didn’t happen in the presidential election, where Trump won largely on the strength of his support from working-class whites. Additionally, exit polls suggested that issues like fighting climate change and the role of money in politics — which the DA’s beneficiary groups have used to try to turn out voters — didn’t resonate as much with the voters who carried Trump to victory.

“The DA itself should be called into question,” said one Democratic strategist who has been active in the group and is attending the meeting. “You can make a very good case it’s nothing more than a social club for a handful wealthy white donors and labor union officials to drink wine and read memos, as the Democratic Party burns down around them.”

Another liberal operative who has been active in the DA since its founding rejected the notion that the group — or the left, more generally — needed to completely retool its approach to politics.

“We should not learn the wrong lesson from this election,” said the operative, pointing out that Clinton is on track to win the popular vote and that Trump got fewer votes than the last GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. “We need our people to vote in greater numbers. For that to happen, we need candidates who inspire them to go to the polls on Election Day.”

But Gara LaMarche, the president of the DA, on Sunday evening told donors gathered at the Mandarin for a welcome dinner that some reassessment was in order. According to prepared remarks he provided to POLITICO, he said, “You don’t lose an election you were supposed to win, with so much at stake, without making some big mistakes, in assumptions, strategy and tactics.”

LaMarche just doesn’t get it. Or doesn’t want to get it. The simple fact is that, more than anything, it was the policies of the Democratic Party that lost them the election — and it’s too late for tears.