The Democrats have been signalling for a while now that they really have no intention to truly fight, as a party, against the Republicans. Going into the political season, they had two strategies they could have chosen from, and they chose to play it safe.
Generally, we all get the idea of "divide and conquer," and there is room for both governing parties to do that. The Republicans have chosen to divide Democrats from their President, Barack Obama, by attempting to force them into running against his policies. In some cases, it's worked, in others, it hasn't. However, the Republicans, sensing a good year in 2014, have chosen to be active in their battles on this front.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have surely taken notice of the divide within the Republican Party, because we know the media has. With the Establishment struggling to quash a Tea Party insurgency that, after the Texas battles that were decided last night, doesn't appear to be dead, there is a clear rift there that, in most cases, it would seem like exploiting that rift would be easier than beginning to lick your wounds before they even appear.
So, why haven't the Democrats done that yet?In a more neutral electorate, this would probably be advised. The Democratic Leadership could easily strike deals with Republican Leadership and force through bills that conservatives don't like. The resentment between the two sides would grow, and the conservative base would either stop voting or makes moves toward a third party.The electorate is not neutral, however, and despite what the Washington Post will try to make you believe, conservative values poll much better. Especially right now.The Democrats aren't going down without a fight, mind you. The senseless attacks on the Koch Brothers, the "War on Women" that really applies more to them than the GOP, and other attacking points are just signs of a half-hearted defense.
Republicans should not be resting too comfortably, however, because the last time they did, they were swept out of office, all the while thinking they had a permanent majority to work with.
Their retreat is a tactical one (though the tactics can be called questionable, at best), but it is not a permanent one. The GOP is rather lucky they had people like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama leading their opponents. They will not be leading them too much longer.