Skip to comments.Democratic divisions will be hard to bridge (Wounds caused by Clinton Obama scuffle are deep ones)
Posted on 05/06/2008 1:57:18 AM PDT by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle
The contest for the Democratic nomination is being largely portrayed as an historic confrontation between the first ever electorally-credible African American and the first ever electorally-credible woman running for president of the US. That in itself is sufficient to warrant blanket coverage, consuming interest and at times hysterical commentary on what is without question an unprecedented contest.
However, all of the coverage is missing what is most fascinating about this race. It is not the biographies of the two remaining Democratic candidates, or the number of voters who have been energised by the primary process, but the way in which the rivals are erasing and redrawing the lines of demarcation that exist within the Democratic party.
Readers should keep in mind that in parliamentary, multi-party systems in which proportional representation allows parties to cater to smaller subsets of the electorate, contradictions exist mostly within the government. However, the US two-party system makes the parties so broad that it is all but inevitable that contradictions will exist within the parties themselves.
The contradictions within the Republican party are visible on the surface and, in the view of Democrats, have delightfully led to all manner of internecine hand-wringing. The evangelical Christian and social conservatives find themselves in a marriage of convenience (does this violate a marriages sanctity?) with economic conservatives, who in turn wonder about the single-minded obsession of the national security-focused conservatives. Consider it as the Pat Robertson Republicans versus the Rockefeller Republicans versus the Reagan Republicans. All represent different wings of the party and, as you might guess, a bird with three wings does not fly so well.
But the Democratic party, like any family, also has its own contradictions. Although the divide is less obvious, it is still significant and is a major factor (in addition to the talent and uniqueness of our candidates) in both the closeness and the caustic nature of the Democratic primaries.
There are two main parts of the Democratic party. The first and fastest growing is what I refer to (somewhat uncreatively) as Party A Democrats. Party A Democrats tend to be urban or suburban. They are traditionally better educated, white, more affluent, heavily female, socially liberal and reform-oriented. Examples are candidates such as Adlai Stevenson, Eugene McCarthy, Gary Hart, Mike Dukakis, Paul Tsongas, Bill Bradley and Howard Dean.
The other side of the party is a more broad coalition of working class people who are generally less affluent, less educated and look to the federal government to soften the harsher edges of capitalism. They tend to be either urban or rural. I refer to them as Party B Democrats. They favour increased funding for federal programmes from Medicare to unemployment compensation to subsidised student loans. This wing of the party has included labour unions, older voters, African-Americans and non-college- educated young voters. Party B Democrats have been much more responsive to classic Im on your side Democratic rhetoric. Candidates from this faction include Harry Truman, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Bill Clinton and (uncomfortable as he seemed in this ideological space) Al Gore.
In the past, the less affluent, pro-government wing of the party has consistently won. But what makes this race so wonderfully complex and textured is that Barack Obama, an almost prototype Party A Democrat, reaches right into Party B and yanks out African-Americans a group that makes up almost a quarter of the Democratic party. Hillary Clinton, whose message is almost exclusively Party B, pulls a significant vote among older, educated white women, who most of their lives have been firmly in the Party A camp. Those who dismiss this as identity politics fundamentally underestimate the impact an impact that could be felt long beyond 2008 of this contradiction within a contradiction in the traditional factions of the Democratic base.
Underlying all of this is the inevitable game of electoral chicken that is almost certain to erupt at the conclusion of the contest. The winner, with help from the loser, is not only going to have to bridge the fissures within the party but also to find a way to re-embrace those racial and gender identity voters who now find themselves aligned with a new wing of the party. If Mrs Clinton wins the nomination, do the Party B African-Americans who have embraced Mr Obamas campaign feel comfortable remaining in the party and voting for Mrs Clinton? Conversely, are the Party A, older, college-educated white women comfortable embracing Mr Obamas candidacy after supporting Mrs Clinton so fervently?
Only time will tell and it is certainly not as simple or easy as it seems. When you consider that African-Americans make up slightly less of the Democratic party as self-identified evangelical or social conservatives do for the Republican party (about 25 per cent), you get a sense of how serious this could be for Democrats. One can only imagine where the Republicans would be without that percentage of voters, and the same can be said of the Democrats.
As President George W. Bush could tell you, it is one thing to call yourself a uniter, it is another to actually unite people. For the Democratic nominee, it is going to be one demanding, difficult job requiring an inordinate amount of patience and skill. But then again, that is what a president has to do.
I think this article completely misses the mark.
The Democrat Party is the “Me Party”. Its about selfishness. It has as many wings as it has voters.
Identity politics define it and therefore split it.
Carville doesn’t know squat about the GOP and conservatives. What he fails to state is the fact that hundreds of thousands of conservatives have left the GOP in the past two or three years, and they aren’t “coming home” to vote for the pathetic Juan McCain. He talks about “economic conservatives” as if they are a large block of the conservative movement—wrong!! He completely leaves out the anti-Invasion conservatives, a relatively new (2005) group of active conservatives, conservatives who are neither “economic” (IE pro-Wall Street open borders types) or fundamentalist Christians (the Pat Robertson types). They aren’t one (abortion) or two (gay marriage) issue conseratives—anti-Invasion conservatives see the entire countryside. They fight Communsim and Socialism from the racist reconquista groups like La Raza and the ACLU. These “anti-Invasion conservatives” (as I call them) are the most active of all conservatives. They risk their lives in demonstrations against the Communists and reconquistas that seek to overthrow the nation and take it over.
The Dems are doing every self-destructive thing they can to give McCain the big win.That means more liberals and liberal-lite “moderates” will be swinging his way as more Obama/Clinton disgust runs them off.
This is why McCain is still campaigning as a liberal RINO and dissing conservatives who will still probably vote for him out of sheer terror of a BHO or HRC presidency.
McCain wants a mandate in November that will totally exorcise conservative power in DC.
The bitter pill is the conservatives will,or should I say have no choice but to help give him that mandate.
McCain has been plotting this evil strategy since his sour grapes of 2000.He wanted conservatives dead and he wanted the delicious pleasure of making them the agents of their own destruction.
The completion of the McCain vendetta will be the diaspora of conservatives from Washington politics—which is odd when one considers the fact that conservatives represent the majority of Americans.
Hush, or he'll sic Lord Sauron on you. ;)
When I heard this on the radio yesterday, I couldn’t believe that Carville actually said it, so I went looking for verification.
“Of the comparable toughness between Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., Clinton adviser James Carville tells Newsweek: ‘If she gave him one of her cojones, they’d both have two.’”
Carville may not know squat about anything but I believe you are dead wrong about those many Conservatives who have left the Party and won't vote for McCain.. While there will surely be some who will do as you say, the greater majority of them will NOT put the Party BEFORE the country and will vote for McCain with the idea they can push him to the right after he gets in the WH. Any votes McCain loses on the right will pretty easily be made up for by those he pulls from the Ind ranks and even the Blue Dog Democrat voters. While McCain was far from my choice he is still light years better then either of the liberal disasters waiting to happen to America.
It's twue ! It's twue !
I didn’t know james had a brother? :)
DEEP is good.. But I am waiting for “Mortal” wounds as the charaterization.
So the bridge to the 21st century is now too far!!
The evangelical Christian and social conservatives find themselves in a marriage of convenience (does this violate a marriages sanctity?) with economic conservatives, who in turn wonder about the single-minded obsession of the national security-focused conservatives. Consider it as the Pat Robertson Republicans versus the Rockefeller Republicans versus the Reagan Republicans. All represent different wings of the party
This wildly overstates the divisions. First, the social conservatives include not just evangelicals but everyone who takes traditional social rules seriously - Catholics and others. Second, the idea that there is a contradiction between social conservatism and economic freedom died with the success of the US Constitution. And where did the idea that there was a contradiction between either of those two and concern about national security come from?
Reagan was no opponent of social conservatism. The real divide in the Republican Party has been the Rockefeller vs the Kemp - the country club vs the main street - divide.
The Democrats have had their version of an economic divide - the white wine liberals vs the beer liberals. And the party works because the white wine liberals promise to take care of the beer liberals. The country club Republicans want to take care of the beer liberals, too. Whereas the Main Street Repubicans want everyone to recognize that we all - beer liberals included - do a better job of taking care of ourselves than either the country club Republicans or the white wine liberals can possibly can possibly do for them. And that we all do better at that when not under the illusion that the government is going to do it for us.
put a pointy beard on carville along with a workers cap and he also looks just like v.i. lenin.
wish i could do that computer graphics magic.
If only the Dhimmirats weren’t the result of voting against the GOP...
The dhimmis could be so split up that they can’t field a viable ‘rat candidate in ‘12, and we could do a right flank on McCain, leaving the left with the GOP and the Rockefellers.
And the Blacks will vote for WHOEVER their LEADERS tell them to! Very sad.
Ummmmmmm... it says "By James Carville" right there on the article itself. Take it to the Complaints Department, please. ;)
Not blaming you..:)....people write articles FOR pinheads to put their names on. Carvile couldn’t put three sentences together that made sense.
Carville may have written it,but I’m sure Mary helped him with the big(2 syllables or more)words!
And hundreds of thousands of other conservatives, thoughtful moderates, and Reagan Democrats have committed TO the GOP.
If the Paulistas are being referred to as "conservatives," that is incorrect. Many if not most are not conservatives, but libertarians and even radicals.
Their forerunners include the U. S. isolationists preceding World War II.
The feverish activities by these to keep America from becoming involved in the rising and lethal dangers of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan gave these totalitarian regimes a green light and impression that Americans were soft, concerned only for their own immediate interests, and unwilling to defend democracy.
The Jihadists had exactly the same take on America prior to America's unexpectedly aggressive reaction after 911 - aggressive, that is, except from many of the isolationists who term themselves "conservatives" but who can only focus on their own bellybuttons.
Mary, do the world a favor and have a “domestic dispute” with your dear hubby.
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