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The New Democratic Party Chair Has A Tall Task Ahead

It starts with harnessing the grass roots opposition to President Donald Trump.
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The New Democratic Party Chair Has A Tall Task Ahead

Thanks to huge losses in 2016, the race for the Democratic National Committee chair has never been more interesting or headline grabbing. But no matter who's in charge, there's some hard work ahead. 

But first, what does the DNC chair even do? Think of the chair as the organizer-in-chief for the party. It's his or her job to make sure Democrats around the nation have the resources they need to win elections and push a progressive agenda.

After the 2016 election, Democrats have less power in the federal government than they've had at any time since the 1920s. It's largely up to the new chair to get the party back on track.

First, the chair has to harness the protests and organizing we've seen since the election. The left is mad. And Democrats have to find a way to sustain that anger over the next few years and then translate that into votes and candidates on the local, state and national levels.

To do that, they'll need to get young people squarely back in their camp — 41 percent of millennials identify as independents, with just 34 percent identifying as Democrats. If the DNC can tap into that young well of anger, it could benefit Democrats for decades.

The new chair will also need to go on a charm offensive. After hacked emails showed some members of the committee were working to boost Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, trust in the party shattered. And a more open, welcoming DNC is one obvious way to fix that.

But most importantly, the chair needs to make sure Democrats win, which they haven't really been doing for years in Congress or at the state level. In the Senate alone, Democrats will have at least 23 seats up for grabs in 2018, and they don't have room to lose any of those. Winning in 2020 against an incumbent president could happen, but it's going to take a real 50-state strategy the party hasn't had for a while.

And the chair will have to do all that while finding a way to call out, oppose and fight President Donald Trump throughout. His approval rating is low — but it's up to Democrats to present voters with a better alternative.