Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Really Short History of the Modern Democratic Party

I thought it would make sense to blog about the Democratic party's history to put the current campaign in some aditional context.

Here's my pitch for understanding the last 25 years:
The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) formed in the 1980s to combat the new Republican party. Reagan cemented a solid conservative south with suburbanites. The Democratic party had withered after 1968 with reduced urban cores. Its standard-bearer in 1992, Bill Clinton, sought a new winning coalition to reach out to suburbs. It wanted to submerge the 1960s radicalism, at least its public face, to win them. Clintonites believe they succeeded, but I disagree. In fact, social conservatives triumphed in 1994, defining American politics for a decade to come.
Four things happened that were not predicted.
First, what were then called Hispanics (now Latinos) began to vote in large numbers. Republican immigrant-baiting unexpectedly created a large voting bloc for the Democrats of voters who were socially more conservative than most. Social conservativsm did not sway this bloc of voters. The reason was, in part, revitalization of the labor movement among Latinos in the early 2000s cemented another important coalitional connection. Labor is more influential now than at any time since Reagan broke their back in the early 1980s.
Second, a new generation embraced city life with the tech-boom of the 1990s. Rejuvenation of inner urban cores and young white voters' drift to the cities changed the cities from areas of decay to growth. Urban-suburban aliances have grown up. And over the past 10 years, since impeachment and the mainstreaming of gay rights, the Republican party has begun to age, as it turned off young people except in the Bible Belt. George Bush's extremely polarizing politics has been a godsend in this regard. Political parties in American have realigned as urban/rural, with suburbs as battlegrounds. With a nation massively urbanized, Republican political success depends entirely on geography - the fact that the urban voters are crammed into a smaller number of very urbanized states.
Third, in the Western states, high levels of urbanism - combined with natigve libertarian discomfort with bible-belt big-government populism - have provided new political bases for Democrats. Western-state suburbs are much more urban than eastern-state suburbs, as they were created by developers out of scratch. Democrats in the mountain west tend to be socially moderate, fiscally cautious, and focused on building: building schools, roads, and communities.
Fourth - finally, the gender gap has become a chasm. Republicans have embraced patriarchal religion, militarism, and hostility to public spending, even on schools. Democrats have done well with women as a result.
So, since 1996, the Democratic Party become a nationwide coalition of Latinos, Blacks, immigrants of all stripes, Native Americans, gays, Union voters, and younger, educated Urban and suburban voters, and (non-Evangelical women). It's a dicey coalition, mixing different ethnicities and socio-economic groups, most of whom vote in low numbers. Clintonites did not expect to see Obama succeed because his base - the new urban voters -didn't exist when Clinton took office in 1992. Keeping this coalition together is important. I fear that the Clintons are happy to tear it apart.

4 comments:

Raised By Republicans said...

Look also at who Hillary was relying on for votes by the time Indiana came around: rural, less educated, older whites. The typical Clinton voter is over 65, never went to college, white, lives in a rural area and probably voted for George W. Bush twice.

uswest said...

Hilary is toast. She needs to back out gracefully now rather than being pushed out forcefully later. There is no reason why the democrats should loose this election. No reason whatsoever unless they get stupid.

Raised By Republicans said...

I think US West hit the nail on the head. At this point, Hillary is merely chosing the manner of her departure. It will be far better for both her and the party if she leaves of her own will.

If it appears that she had to be pushed out, it will be bad for everyone.

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