Sunday, May 25, 2008

Barack Obama and the Democratic Party Fracture

Some time back, I wrote an entry on the strangely fissiparous happenings around the far left-wing base, "Radical Schizophrenia? Making Sense of Democratic Party Constituencies."

My basic point was to identify the extremes of contradictory dialogues among those in the grassroots of a party putatively committed to diversity and equality of minority advancement. What we've seen, though, in fact, is the totalitarian impulses of radical activists who evince no tolerance of competing views - these folks, indeed, are intent to impugn the other as constituting the very evil of the partisan enemy, the GOP itself.

Well, I'm just fascinated at how all of this continues to play out. Sean Wilentz has a new piece up at the Huffington Post attacking Barack Obama as destroying the party: "
Barack Obama and the Unmaking of the Democratic Party."

Keep in mind that Wilentz is the author of a popular left-wing smear against the Bush administration, "
The Worst President in History?" - an article whose thesis has become the standard frame of reference to the left's unthinking nihilist hordes.

Here's Wilentz on Obama in
his HuffPo piece:

The [Barack] Obama advocates declare ... that we have entered an entirely new political era. It is not only possible but also desirable, they say, for Democrats to win by turning away from those whom "progressive" pundits and bloggers disdain variously as "Nascar man," "uneducated," "low information" whites, "rubes, fools, and hate-mongers" who live in the nation's "shitholes."

Talk about transformative post-racial politics.

In fact, all of the evidence demonstrates that white racism has not been a principal or even secondary motivation in any of this year's Democratic primaries. Every poll shows that economics, health care, and national security are the leading issues for white working class voters - and for Latino working class voters as well. These constituencies have cast positive ballots for Hillary Clinton not because she is white, but because they regard her as better on these issues. Obama's campaign and its passionate supporters refuse to acknowledge that these voters consider him weaker -- and that Clinton's positions, different from his, as well as her experience actually attract support. Instead they impute racism to working class Democrats who, the polls also show, happen to be liberal on every leading issue. The effort to taint anyone who does not support Obama as motivated by racism has now become a major factor in alienating core Democrats from Obama's campaign.
Wilentz goes on to lament the ultimate outcome of the Democratic Party's relentless identity politics:

In every presidential election they have won, the Democrats have solidified their historic link to white workers, not dismissed them. Obama and the champions of a new party coalition appear to think that everything has suddenly changed, simply because of the force of their own desires. In any event, Obama had shown no ability thus far to attract the one constituency that has always spelled the difference between victory and defeat for the Democratic Party. The party must now decide whether to go along with Obama and renounce its own heritage - and tempt the political fates.
Wilentz is an historian, so far all of his BDS, you can see that he's not really hip to where the Democratic Party really is today - in other words, it ain't the party of Jackson!

But that's not all!

Over at
Taylor Marsh's blog, the warning's going out against Obama as the presumptive nominee, "BUYER'S REMORSE: How Rank and File Democrats are Rejecting Their 'Inevitable' Nominee":
Ever since the media declared that Barack Obama was “inevitable” after February 19th, based on a two week period when the an unprepared Hillary Clinton campaign suffered “10 straight losses”, rank and file Democratic voters have been sending a message. Rather than rally ‘round the “inevitable nominee” that message has been a consistent, loud, and clear message to the Democratic Party – DO NOT WANT.

In nearly every demographic category since February 19, Clinton percentage of the vote has risen, while Obama’s has fallen. This includes Obama’s supposed “strong” demographic categories such as voters with college degrees post-graduate degrees and voters whose income is above the national median. And Clinton beat Obama in the primaries in March, April and May in most of the major categories.

In the aftermath of Super Tuesday, John McCain was anointed by the media as the inevitable nominee – and with good reason. McCain had accumulated 740 of the necessary 1129 “pledged” delegates necessary to clinch the GOP nomination, and all he had to do was win 40% of the remaining delegates against two “non-mainstream” Republican challengers (Huckabee and Paul). Rank and file Republicans accepted McCain as their nominee, and McCain won every contest held subsequent to Super Tuesday with the exception of the Louisiana primary held on February 9th..and that contest he lost by only 1% (43% to 42%).

McCain may not have been the choice of the majority of Republicans, but once he was declared the “inevitable nominee”, rank and file Republicans closed ranks behind McCain. Despite doing virtually no campaigning at all, McCain has been able to garner at least 50% of the vote in every other primary contest held subsequent to Super Tuesday.

But Democratic voters refused to accept the pronouncements of the pundits and “analysts”, and have voted in overwhelming numbers in support of Hillary Clinton. Not only did Clinton pick up the support that Obama lost, Clinton has picked up a lot of the support that, in February, had gone to other candidates. Moreover, the electorate in the Democratic primaries looked a lot more like the “general electorate” in the 2004 Presidential election.
Note that Marsh's blog project is obviously pro-Hillary, but the essay nevertheless reveals a phenomenal degree of antipathy to Obama and acknowledges that "racial resentment" is indeed a powerful factor in working class voting behavior (read the whole post, which includes way more data and conjectures).

See also, "
Barack Obama and the Political Psychology of Race," and "Who has Harmed the Democratic Party?"