Wow, We Nominated The Black Guy

by: Chris Bowers

Fri May 09, 2008 at 14:46

Wow, it is really happening: Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. Only eighteen months after the Democratic Party elected Nancy Pelosi the first female Speaker of the House, we are now the first major party to nominate an African-American for President.

Just let that sink in for a moment. It is pretty amazing.

I also encourage you to think about the role of the Democratic Party in the United State for a moment. Consider the following:

But wait, there's more! Union members, single women, and whites who self-identify their religion as either "none" or "other" than the main world denominations also vote for Democrats by more than 2-1 margins. (The "nones" are more than 3-1). Even the nerds vote for Democrats, as 58% of those with post-graduate degrees support Dems. (You can find sources for all of the voting statistics citing so far here, here, and here.)

Whatever its flaws, the Democratic Party really is the party for "everyone else" in America. Virtually every ethnic, religious and sexual minority votes for Democrats by overwhelming margins. Vulnerable economic groups, such as single women, union members, and low-income voters also break for Democrats by overwhelming margins. Fewer than 50% of the Democrats in the United States House and United States Senate combined are white, male, straight and Christian. Even the elites of the Democratic Party are very different, on demographic level, from the elites in the media and business community in America.

For quite some time, the Democratic Party struggled with a "loser" image nationally. Given its minority heavy, downtrodden heavy, freaks and geeks membership, it isn't a huge secret how it developed that negative brand. However, over the last few years, something unusual is starting to happen: traditionally under-represented groups are starting to occupy leadership roles in the party, and the party is starting to win a lot of elections. Now, with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, Democrats hold 235 seats in the House (a number that is soon to rise quite a bit), even though the highest Republicans ever reached was 232. In addition to holding the majority of Governors, state legislatures, and members of the U.S. Senate, all of those majorities are expected to expand significantly in 2008. To top it all off, the Democratic presumptive nominee for President, Barack Obama, is expected to become the next President of the United States.

A shift of electoral power toward the Democratic Party actually means a broad shift toward more pluralistic control of our government. The minorities, the downtrodden, and the freaks and geeks are taking over. While I have little doubt that I will continue to be something of a party gadfly, and that I will continue to hold an oppositional, progressive stance toward the leadership on fairly regular occasions, sometimes it is good to remember that the Democratic Party is, in some very important ways, actually pretty good. Today, I am very happy to be a part of it.  

Chris Bowers :: Wow, We Nominated The Black Guy

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This post made my day (4.00 / 8)
The minorities, the downtrodden, and the freaks and geeks are taking over.

Oh thank god!

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

Made mine too... (4.00 / 3)
On a day when 'difference' seemed to be the main problem with the democratic party, Chris has turned a vice into a virtue. And you know what? This isn't wish fulfillment. It's demographic, and democratic, reality now.  

[ Parent ]
But... but... but... (4.00 / 1)
Hillary Clinton has the support of "hard working Americans, White Americans." Aren't they the only ones that count (or at least that should count)? [/snark]

P.S. Could someone inform Bill Clinton that without the support of (supposedly) non-hard working, non-White Americans, he would not have been President. He never had enough White votes to win in either 1992 or 1996. (I suspect that's probably true of his elections as Governor in Arkansas too...)

[ Parent ]
Bills fans like you and I are probably Democrats too (0.00 / 0)
You know, lovable ne'er-do-well folks. Maybe that'll change too!

Me on Facebook
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Browns fans, too... (0.00 / 0)
...Heck, a fan of any Cleveland sports has been put through the ringer for decades!!!

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

[ Parent ]
Also (4.00 / 2)
It is very likely the Democratic Party will nominate a women as vice president. Either Clinton or Kathleen Sebelius are likely picks.

w00t for Democrats.

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

Let's hope it's Sebelius (4.00 / 3)

[ Parent ]
Forget Clinton and Sibelius. (4.00 / 1)
Why not Donna Brazile for VP?  She'd be perfect.  She's a huge Obama supporter.  If it hadn't been for her, Florida and Michigan might only have been penalized by having each delegate be counted as 1/2 vote, as provided in the party rules.  She's a true heroine.

[ Parent ]
sarcasm? (4.00 / 2)
It's not an award for valor, it's a job.

[ Parent ]
She's a lesbian. (0.00 / 0)

Not to mention, making any party hack VP is a terrible idea.  Leo McGarry was a wonderful guy, but that was television.

The biggest drawback to Wes Clark is that he's never actually been elected to anything, so in some way, he's just not someone "the people" have chosen.  Having one guy choose to make him VP is kindof a risky dynamic.

[ Parent ]
Gee, sorry you didn't like my idea. (0.00 / 0)
Well, I heard Bob Casey was high up on the list.  Obama wants to be inclusive of the right-to-lifers, so that would work.  

[ Parent ]
that's a serious argument? (0.00 / 0)
that she's a lesbian?  is this some kind of subconscious resistance to the celebration in the post?

your reasoning 12 months ago: he's a mixed race guy perceived as black and she's a woman - neither of these candidates is "electable."

[ Parent ]
State of the Union (4.00 / 5)
Remember, until Nancy became Speaker, the visual at every State of the Union was three (more or less old) white guys. Until recently W., Cheney and Hastert.

If Obama wins it'll be an African American with a woman and maybe one white guy, maybe a Hispanic, maybe another woman behind him. Wow!

My Silver State - Nevada's Progressive Community Blog

[ Parent ]
Don't forget they already did (4.00 / 1)
In 1984 no less.   Something the republicans have yet to emulate 5 elections later.

[ Parent ]
Good times indeed (4.00 / 4)
Lets just not get complacent.  While Obama is a favorite in this election, McCain still stands a pretty decent chance of winning. And while the Dems seem almost certain to pick up seats, the size of our majority matters a lot.  A lot is going right for democrats right now, but politics can change very quickly.  The very dark night of November 2, 2004 was only 3.5 years ago.  I still remember quite vividly having to listen to GOP activists rubbing it in my face, talking about how their majority had proven its durability and how democrats needed to get used to permanent minority party status.  

John McCain: Health insurance for low income children represents an "unfunded liability."

Great point (0.00 / 0)
And this is a coalition, not everyone agrees sees or understands all the issues of every part of this coalition. We want a fully involved electorate, lets organize for that. More democracy is more control of country, fight voter suppression. Universal health care has not been solved, I support single payer, we should work and oragnize toward it. If thjere was overwhelming damnd for single payer, Obama would demand it too.

Complacency is what brought us to this mess in the first place, internal squabbling and intra-party fights side tracked us, and democracy was defeated. We have top move forward on a sustainable econmoy we have to build a green energy infrastructure, we have to restore the constitution, we have enfranchise voters, we have to re-engage with the United Nations, we have to restore treaties, we have to restore legal rights to accused, we have to end poverty, we have to support democracy world wide, we have to criticize and engage non-democratic states including Saudi Arabia not just North Korea. Complacent, hell we only have a (admittedly good) hope of replacing the players in a few months, what we are going to do then is our task after we get (all of) them in office.

But the task is engaging citizens in democracy, thats our task, not one election. The election is one, just one outcome, just one fruit, of our effort to create a
massive majority of people in being citizens.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Oppositional (4.00 / 8)
I was thinking, in response to the discussion here of the past few days of the Obamatizing of the party (and of the 'progressive movement', or maybe the replacement of the latter with the Obama movement) that perhaps this is a good thing for those of us on the outside.

Yeah, we can get Obama's back when necessarily, which I expect will happen all the time. But if we're smart, we can also spend much of our time attacking him ourselves--from the left. In the same way that Edwards kept the primary from drifting too far rightward, we can keep the party from doing the same. Not by winning, but by moving the boundaries of the politically-possible. (And, at least in my dreams, by learning how to go on offense for once.)

Although great swathes of the 'open left' are pretty enthralled with Obama right now, I hope that instead of being completely coopted, we'll soon learn--starting in, oh, late January--that our job has just begun. And the fact that the Obama movement parallels many of the parts of the nascent progressive infrastructure, instead of accommodating and annexing them, makes this much more possible.

God, this site is painfully slow. Speaking of infrastructure. I have this problem on no other blog.

everything changes (4.00 / 5)
Chris sez:

While I have little doubt that I will continue to be something of a party gadfly, and that I will continue to hold an oppositional, progressive stance toward the leadership on fairly regular occasions ...

The drive to support the lesser evil transforms.  We should be freer to be oppositional and progressive.

My take on Obama's first term?  He will take office at the moment the American empire has hit the wall like Wile E. Coyote.  One of his major tasks will be to adapt us to the new reality in a non-insane way.  Some of the things he will do -- and especially not do -- will be labeled treason.  Treason is something that merits the death sentence.

The task of the past 4 years has been to, in a sense, make sure that nothing happens.  Obstructionism was sufficient.  Now we face the prospect of a Democratic regime faced with a truly crazed right wing no longer constrained by having a fiend, er, I mean friend, in the White House.

Our responsibility to fight will be even greater, not less, in the coming 4 years.

Full Court Press!

[ Parent ]
Agreed 100% (4.00 / 4)
If Obama wins, he is going to have a difficult first couple years in the presidency.  The economy is probably still going to be in recession or stagnant and the withdrawal from Iraq is not going to occur smoothly or without some unintended consequences that will immediately be jumped on by the GOP as proof of his folly.  It's going to be a battle and we should be ready.

Tangentionally, what is up with everybody - diarists and comment writers - all of a sudden talking about the Obama presidency as if its some kind of inevitability?   He probably has like a 60-65% chance at winning by my estimation.  The prediction markets would even offer numbers lower than that.  I'm happy with our chances, but its not like the fix is in.  

John McCain: Health insurance for low income children represents an "unfunded liability."

[ Parent ]
Haha, optimism probably (0.00 / 0)
He is the odds-on favorite, after all.  But yeah, election day is still some distance from now.

[ Parent ]
On the one hand ... (4.00 / 2)
... you make a good point, though I might quibble over your odds.

On the other hand, we can't begin planning what to do under an Obama presidency on election night.  My above is for the winning alternative.  The losing alternative involves Canada.

Full Court Press!

[ Parent ]
Site layout (4.00 / 1)
It may be the 'OpenLeft Video Wall' which loads 6 YouTube players at once. It might be faster to load only the most recent video (or the most appealing video) and then a list the links sans players to the videos.

Other tech quibbles. I view OpenLeft on a 1024x768 screen and it renders ever so slightly larger than my screen which is a little irritating. Making the site just 5% narrower would improve the viewing experience a lot IMHO. Reading things like 'Telecos writing immunity provisio' and 'Put the leash back on the Bush D, Join the Campaig' and looking at the 'Sear' button are little details that I think could be fixed. I'm not sure if it's the YouTube clips or the Bush Dog button but something is making the HTML porridge just a little too wide for Goldilocks.

John McCain

[ Parent ]
Yeah, if I could just turn off that idiotic (4.00 / 1)
'Video Wall,' I'd be happy. Honestly, why not just put links to the videos? That's such an 'oooh, look, we're Web 2.0!' thing. You watch a video once, then it slows down your experience of the site for the next six months.

I love Donna Edwards, but I don't really wanna watch her YouTube more than once.

But I guess someone thinks that keeping six old videos there is worth the hit to site performance ...

[ Parent ]
Quibbles (4.00 / 1)
I'm not calling anybody or anything idiotic. OpenLeft does a lot with a little and sometimes small choices like "It's nice to have video" have unintended effects. It's a minor issue but staying ahead of traffic loads and site design issues is part of the growing pains of a still fairly new site.

John McCain

[ Parent ]
If I didn't love the site, (4.00 / 2)
this wouldn't bother me so much. (And this is the tenth time I've mentioned the problem, which must be worse for me because it renders the site virtually useless--and I wonder how many others just don't come anymore because of the speed...)

[ Parent ]
Totally (4.00 / 8)
The United States is going to have a black President.  Wow.  12-year-old kids will turn 18 with the assumption that a black President is feasible, normal, and ordinary.

Also love this off of This Modern World:

To plagiarize Rose Macauley (4.00 / 2)
the Democratic Party is "a wonderful and most extraordinary pageant of contradictions, and I, at least, want to be inside it."

Montani semper liberi

What about the Republicans? (4.00 / 3)
So what do you do, if you're a Republican? Your party is locked in to an electoral strategy of cultural identity politics. And the cultural identity you represent is rapidly slipping into minority status in this country. It's the unstoppable force of demographic change vs. the unmovable object of an identity-branded party. You're going to have to choose: adapt, or perish.

So far, every indication is that they are going to choose to perish.

Nothing is more dangerous ... (4.00 / 3)
... than a cornered rat, e.g., the last year of the 3rd Reich.

Full Court Press!

[ Parent ]
Latinos (0.00 / 0)
They have tried to reach out to Latinos -  a wise strategy considering that groups rapidly increasing size. The Latino vote will be incredibly important this November and so far I don't have many reasons to be optimistic about it.

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

[ Parent ]
Buh-whaaaaa? (4.00 / 4)
If by "reach out to," you mean: denigrate through the crudest form of xenophobic politics, thus potentially alienating the fastest growing swing demographic in the country, then sure.

Seriously, why are you not optimistic? Hispanic population growth is like the number one thing I had in mind when I wrote the comment above.

[ Parent ]
Because (0.00 / 0)
John McCain has a huge amount of support and respect in the Latino community, and Barack Obama does not. Latino's swung phenomenally toward the Democrats in 2006, but it just isn't certain that that will be true in 08. If we were running against Romney, maybe, not not with against Johnny.

That said, I think it is a natural fit, and expect that we can solidify Latinos and Asian-Americans in the party pretty well. I just don't think it is anything close to assured in 08.

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

[ Parent ]
Let's see (4.00 / 2)
John McCain has a huge amount of support and respect in the Latino community

Let's see if he can maintain that support and respect for the next six months while simultaneously appealing to the anti-immigrant faction of the Republican Party.

The Democrats absolutely should not take the Latino vote for granted, but I can't help but compare. Didn't Hillary Clinton have a huge amount of support and respect in the African-American community just six months ago?

[ Parent ]
ah memories (4.00 / 2)
I was at a rally for the McCain Kennedy bill in New York in 2006, back when most national-level immigrant policy groups were arguing for or going along with a strategy that involved glorifying mccain and waving flags everywhere, while selling out a lot of immigrants.

remember--friends don't let friends run single-issue campaigns.

[ Parent ]
Depends which republicans you're talking about (0.00 / 0)
Bush and Rove are the ones who have been enthusiastic about incorporating a Latino component to the republican party  - likely cause Rove decided keeping Latinos from voting for Democrats was a crucial part of a long-term strategy given the demographic trends. The rest of the party didn't get on board, went apeshit over border security and hence... 2006 (and 2008).  

"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that."
-Lawrence Summers

[ Parent ]
I'll drink (4.00 / 1)
to that.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
yes, it's historic (4.00 / 3)
A lot of credit to those who have worked hard over many years. But, realistically, a lot of credit to disasterous crew currently in the White House.

Danger Signs (4.00 / 2)
This post is indicative of the free ride that a President Obama is likely to get from the left.  His victory will be seen as a cultural one, largely sufficient in itself.  Few of his "creative class" and minority supporters will be willing to criticize "the black guy" if he sells out on Democratic principles.  

Look for Obama to quickly cut deals with conservatives on issues like trade and health care, thus racking up a string of legislative successes and pleasing the media with the bipartisan mush they so adore.

Obama is still a politician, and he's going do what's best for him.  He'll justify it as necessary to preserve his power to fight another day.

In some quarters perhaps (4.00 / 4)
But, while he may get a short honeymoon, I seriously doubt people on this site will turn a blind eye to the type of sellouts you refer to.  

[ Parent ]
In seriousness, that would be ok with me. (4.00 / 3)
My hunch is that Obama wants to spend his real capital on the carbon economy: global warming, and the oil wars/competition/economic-tourniquet. The global energy supply is causing our really huge civilizational challenges, and my hunch is that that is where Obama really wants to focus.  

If he cuts deals on health care in order to make progress there, I am fine with that.  I realize health care leads to the early and tragic death of hundreds of thousands of Americans, and it hits downscale more than upscale, and that sucks, but the energy problem has and will kill many many many more people here and overseas than health care will.  Global energy (and warming) is a first order problem (how do you secure an orderly, flourishing society) and health care is a second order one (within that orderly society, how do you organize an important resource).  

The solution is to work hard this election season so that his victory margin, and thus his mandate, and thus his political capital are as great as possible.  Then maybe he can do both at once in a way that we would like.  But if it comes down to choices, I sure hope that he chooses to compromise on health care before energy.

The most reassuring part of this campaign was the part when he said that foreign policy is the area he feels most comfortable with.  That means that's the area where he feels most comfortable thinking for himself, which means it's the area where his attention really has been focused.  That's very very good.

[ Parent ]
I agree (4.00 / 2)
My wish list for America is very long, but I'll trade all of it away for the big picture of where our planet and species is going.  It isn't only our global oil dependence, but also how countries interact and the global order.  We are entering the first true global era and what that world looks like is being determined right now.  Do we go with Bush's might-makes-right world view or something much healthier?

Not all of this will require as much political capital as the energy and global warming situation requires, but it is all more important than getting health care for the remaining 20% of the 6% of the world population without health insurance.  (Hopefully, we'll get the healthcare as well, because it is still really important, just not in comparison.)

[ Parent ]
oh for the heady days (4.00 / 3)
Of last week, when all the talk was of how unfair and mean Openleft was being to Obama for going on Fox News.  Or Matt noting Obama's lack of blogger outreach.  Or Chris opting to delay the Blue Majority endorsement of Obama due to many commenters here (at at Swing State) who argued against it.

One post does not a pattern make.  If you want to make general statements about the site, perhaps a glance into the archives to see what has been said would help.

[ Parent ]
But, but, but.... (4.00 / 2)
...what about the Reagan Dems that we chase every year?  Oh, yeah... they don't vote democratic, do they?

I would like to get more blue collar workers back to the party that really IS the people's party...  Hillary Clinton's divisiveness on this issue is not helping...

I think they are starting to realize that Republicans have screwed them over with wedge issues for a generation.  They are, as they have always been, welcome and celebrated here... I have just one request... don't beat up on the nerds of the party, ok?  We've had enough of that from the Republicans...  (I'm still very mad at Hillary's campaign for bashing the nerds of the party)

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

We didn't just nominate the black guy (4.00 / 2)
We nominated the one candidate who campaigned on seriously upending a lot of power structures in this country by bringing more people to the table than ever before (and you'd better join that registration drive tomorrow to help him do it!).  This is what we're supposed to be about, and I'm excited as hell about it.

Congrats OpenLeft (4.00 / 8)
Now that the Primary season is coming to a close, you guys deserve a big pat on the back for how well you have steered this website through the treacherous in-fighting and inter-Party bickering which have hurt the integrity of so many other sites.  It's really been a job well done and you deserve a lot of credit.  

Aside from the symbolism tho, it's the same Democratic party (4.00 / 10)
and the Democratic candidate is raking in the cash from many of the same investment houses, Big Pharma, Big Energy and so on that were mostly giving to Repubs say, three years ago.

I'm an irreligious and skeptical old black guy who thinks he has seen much of this before.  I remember the talk in 1992, when we were finally gonna pry the government loose from the tentacles of Repubs after two terms of Reagan and one of Bush.

We were expecting a peace dividend to be spent on taking us off oil, building a national passenger rail system, on health care, education and housing, etc.  We got NAFTA and the shaft.  Huh.

I remember when Jimmy Carter took office after Nixon and Gerry Ford, the totally un-elected prez who pardoned the war criminal.  I don't remember any more what we were supposed to get then, but we didn't get it.  We did get a Democrat who declared that Middle East oil was the strategic interest (substitute "military" for "strategic".

If we are looking at the national Democratic party in power, and looking for a tradition of standing up for working people (and I emphatically do not use that phrase exclusively to mean whites, as do most Americans including many Democrats) we have to go all the way back to FDR.  I hate to be the one to tell you this, but 1932 is half the distance back to the Civil War and Emancipation.  Democrats of that era have been not just retired but dead and buried more than two generations now.

Let's talk about today's Democrats.  Did we not elect a thumping Democratic majority in the House two years ago?  Did Pelosi, Rahm Emanuel and others put millions in DCCC cash behind pro-war Dems and against antiwar Dems in primary elections?  Did the Dems in power in the House not approve every war budget, every Patriot Act upgrade, multiple free trade agreements with another pending, and were they not unable to pass net neutrality.  Did our great Democrat stalwarts in the Senate filibuster any Supreme Court justices who everyone knew would kill Roe V Wade, Brown V Board of Ed, and many other atrocities?  Have they filibustered anything, or even obligate Repubs to show up in person and fulfill their phoned-in threat to filibuster on everything from labor law to environmental protection?

That's the collection of  national Democratic politicians.  Now for the guy at the helm of the party.

Is not  symbol different from substance?  Sure Barack is black, and did not support the war early on.  

But his withdrawal pledges are full of loopholes, he did vote for every war appropriation since, and he has promised to add 80 or  90 thousand troops to  the military.  His campaign staff is full of the  lobbyists he claims have no influence, and the pizza money he got from anonymous college students is mixed with the bundled dollars of the hedge fund geniuses who made off like bandits setting up the current crisis.  Obama has run to "the center", in effect assuring white folks that they already knew everything they needed to know about race,  while lecturing us blacks for "irresponsibility" --- always the sure route to being acclaimed by whites as a visionary on race.  Obama seems to have deployed his blackness as a kind of "strategic asset", at the same time he distances himself from the large body of black opinion his former pastor represents.

I was at Obama's Dem primary election victory party in 2004.  Most of the folks there thought they had elected another Paul Wellstone or Harold Washington.  If you had told them Obama was going to campaign for Joe Lieberman in 2 years or adopt him as Senate mentor in a few months they would not have been happy.  If you told them Obama's first act as a US Senator would be to sit down when the entire Black Caucus asked for the Senate to hold up the stolen Ohio vote, they would have been outraged.

Yeah, I know we all have "hope" and the Dems all run on a platform of "change", and we are all ready for a victory party.  But there is going to be a morning after, when we will have to look at this candidate, not just his symbol.  And this party, not at our fanciful image of it.

"If you want that good feeling that comes from doing things for other people, then you have to pay for it in abuse and misunderstanding..."
Zora Neale Hurston

Just want to say your post basically nails it (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Absolutely (0.00 / 0)
But symbols are important. Electing a black guy shows that the floodgates can be cracked and is important as a gesture.

That's not to say that our elected representatives won't need to be menaced every step of the way into doing what they should do anyway, but at least our corporate overlords are a little less homogenous now. It's a start that it'll be a black guy screwing us over.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
The Outsider Party (0.00 / 0)
I like the ring of that.  

Why Democrats lose. (0.00 / 0)
As Chris says:

"Whatever its flaws, the Democratic Party really is the party for "everyone else" in America."

Exactly.  As long as Democrats are the party of everyone else, and forget that they need cater to a bedrock common base, they lose.

Some Democrats understand this very well, but many others will never accept it, because it's an ugly truth in many ways.  The Clintons understand this, which is why they have been attacked so viciously.  It's the old Stevenson/Truman divide, and the Stevenson side keeps thinking things will change.

While the Democrats celebrate that they represent both gays and union members, Republicans see this as an opportunity to talk about traditional marriage.  While the Democrats love having the largely Catholic Hispanics and the atheists and single women in the party, the Republicans know that this is a chance to talk about abortion.  And there's some evidence that a portion of the Hispanic community is racist towards blacks.  If the Republicans ever learn to talk sense about immigration, the Hispanic vote will flip Republican, very fast.

I know, I know, demographics are more diverse (not in the areas we need, of course), and the internet changes absolutely everything.  Funny thing though, with a failed war, a miserable economy, and a president with historically low approval ratings, McCain has been running ahead of Obama.  Now, after Obama outspends McCain by 3 or 4 to 1, I expect that won't be the case, but there is certainly no sense of a true natural mandate for a Democratic Presidency - just a common dislike for one man that doesn't even extend to members of his party who are perceived as more moderate.

The Republicans will adapt to changing demographics.  The leadership knows they need to defeat the anti-immigrant movement in the party, because the Hispanic vote is essential to their long term survival.  When the Democrats began to take the high road on civil rights in the 60s, the Republicans methodically picked off big chunks of the Southern and working class vote.  It is much easier for the Republicans to adapt because they aren't the party that is trying to include everyone - they are the party of corporate give-aways, which targets broad swaths of the electorate just as corporations market, without any focus on philosophy.  

Youth (4.00 / 1)
But Obama adds youth to this diverse demographic base; a youth that will not always be young.  This solidifies a new majority going forward.  We don't need the older whites now and will need them less going forward.

[ Parent ]
The youth vote (0.00 / 0)
See graph 1:

The under 29 vote is consistently 15-30 points below the over 30 vote.  Will it change for one year?  Maybe.  Beyond that, not likely.

Much of the millenium generation isn't even of voting age.  A spike in the youth vote one year, or the affiliation of nonvoting young people for the long term, isn't going to be registered consistently for ten years.

[ Parent ]
Straight white men (4.00 / 5)
represent something like 20% of the country.

Divide it up further -- whiny straight white men are probably only half of that. And there's your Republican "base" right there, the ten percent that's been dominating the piss out of the rest of us for as long as I can remember.

No more.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
I'm a straight white guy (0.00 / 0)
and I resent being called part of the Republican base, thank you very much!  See?  I can whine, too!  

Really - the stereo-typing has to stop.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
You're missing the point. (4.00 / 1)
Whiny=conservative. Non-whiny=liberal, reality based.

Even the ONE demographic they control, straight white men, is not 100% for them.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
I think you may be missing the point (0.00 / 0)
Here and on another thread - you seem to over-simplify the "demographic" group to which I'm pretty sure I belong and suggest that it is representative of the very thing that is most antithetical to my political and philosophical outlook.  

When I question it - you demure and dodge, but the frame remains and it makes me wonder what point you are trying to make, if any.  Maybe you just think your being humorous.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
That is silly logic (4.00 / 1)
You're somehow imagining that they don't have to balance things in the exact same way as we do.

Obviously, the whole country isn't black atheist lesbian union-members nor straight white Christian business-men. Any party that wants to appeal to a majority needs to strike a balance and win people on the issues that matter to them. We have to please everyone, but so do they. They talk to Latinos about abortion, we talk about economic issues.

But, in this struggle over the middle, whenever there are more non-Christians, more non-whites, more unmarried people, more union members, etc., the Republicans have to be more moderate to reach that magic 50%, and we can afford to be more liberal. You seem to think that if the Republicans moderate on a single issue, immigration, they'll be able to continue their lasting majority. That's possible, but not very likely.

The country is getting much more liberal because of changing demographics, it's not just immigration. Maybe the Republicans can squeeze a majority out of conservative and moderate whites and latinos, but they would have to 1) not scare off too many people with anti-choice policies 2) not scare off too many people with bad immigration policies 3) not scare off too many people with right wing economic policies 4) Keep all those people in the party and still keep their base happy.

If these demographic shifts continue, and the Republicans manage to hang on to their majority, you're talking about a much more liberal GOP. I hope you're right that that happens, and I think it is likely. Many of the people here think that the GOP is hostage to its base, and that instead they will just get whopped at the polls a lot before the base gives it up and they adapt.

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

[ Parent ]
I agree with much of what you say (0.00 / 0)
Except I still see a distinction.  You say:

"You're somehow imagining that they don't have to balance things in the exact same way as we do."

They do have to balance the libertarians with the evangelicals, the businessmen with the farmers, etc., but they do not try to appeal to outsiders and demographic sinkholes, as the Democrats do.  For example, for a standpoint of strategy, it isn't smart to court the gay vote.  There are more fundamentalists than gays (and a majority that doesn't care either way).  Betting on the evangelicals was a smarter move than betting on gays, and will probably continue to be(evangelicals have their infrastructure ready made in a church, and they have been a growing demographic, whereas gays are probably a minority in the population of a relatively constant size).  The white libertarian shopowner and the white economically struggling farmer still have a shared sense of culture, which immigrants and minorities either don't have or can threaten.  Republicans have a shot at bringing in Hispanics because of the cultural commonality of religious conservatism.  

Democrats will court outsider groups not in spite of, but because of, their outsider status.  That is by nature a dangerous strategy.  Republicans will reach to outsiders only if they have to, by making them feel like insiders with something to lose from someone who is even more of an outsider.  

I see some Democrats saying that we don't need the conservative Democrats, older voters, etc. because overall they are a shrinking group and we can make up for them with pockets of other kinds of voters.  If elections were based on the popular vote, and everyone voted, the Democrats would have won every election since Eisenhower.  But a huge chunk of the population doesn't vote, and most of those are alienated and disenfranchised people who favor Democrats.  It is easier to motivate those who are culturally empowered, and believe that they have a stake in the system to defend and get them to oppose the outsiders, then to bring outsiders into the system.  That's why the traditional base is so important.  IMO.

[ Parent ]
Naive (2.00 / 2)
""Whatever its flaws, the Democratic Party really is the party for "everyone else" in America."

If you really believe this, I feel sorry for you.

This party is about to nominate a guy who won't say that he'll get the troops out of Iraq on day one. This guy can't say that homosexuals deserve the same right to marry as anybody else. He can't come forth with a health care bill that is simple and universal and is free of the meddling of the insurance industry. "Everyone else" has absolutely NO place in the democratic party.

If you don't know and feel in your bones that the exact same corporate interests own both political parties, I am sorry for you.

[ Parent ]
Personally, I don't particularly (0.00 / 0)
care what I or anyone else "feels in their bones" and I certainly wouldn't bother "feeling sorry" for someone because they didn't "feel something in their bones."

I think most of us have a vote, and some cash, and are interested in the best way to spend both.  Most of us are not going to spend them on the basis of feelings in our bones, or disdain for people we choose to feel sorry for.  YMMV.

It was the original poster's statement anyway, and from a demographic standpoint it is absolutely correct.

[ Parent ]
OK. (0.00 / 0)
You don't care about knowing something intuitively.
Alright. I think you're at a disadvantage, but that's your business.

But if you also have distain for the reality of what stares you directly in your face, I feel sorry for you because the unconscious reflex to ignore reality is not healthy.

I also am, obviously, speaking in a more general sense. I am not addressing my comments to you as an individual.

If people don't realize that the democratic party is as corrupt and intolerant as the republicans, we have absolutely no chance to do something about it.

As democrats, we can't say that Patraeus is full of it.
We can't say that we want the war over NOW.
We can't say that we want universal health care for all Americans now.
We can't say that America's imperialistic foreign policy has put us in grave danger.
We can't say that we think that Obama is offering us absolutely nothing but hot air without being called trolls or worse.

So, you can think what you want about the dems, but you would be ignoring past and present history to think that it welcomes anyone but those willing to play along.

[ Parent ]
It seems you're saying two things (4.00 / 1)
First, that both political parties are corporate owned.  Unfortunately, that is the way of the world.  Money and power go together.  In a capitalist, global economy, the government is largely under the control of global capitalists.  It will be that way, until the next economic and social system comes along, then there will be a new boss.  It's a bitch, living as a member of what seems to be a permanently hierarchical species.

Second, that the Democrats don't support certain policy objectives that are mundane throughout Europe - universal health care, less unilateral foreign policies.  That seems to me related to the specific corporate composition of our society - eg, the military-industrial complex, and big pharm, etc.  However, I don't see that as a permanent situation.  Iraq will be ultimately "another Vietnam."  I was a little surprised that we had to have two Vietnams (and one Korea, which wasn't much fun either) to learn about foreign occupations.  I have enough faith in the country to think we won't need three.  American military power will wane, and with it the military industrial complex.  In health care, the burden of cost is felt by large corporations, and that dynamic will shift as well.  Other developed nations, which are also corporately controlled, have made these strides.  

I don't see anything we can do about the first, or a faster path to the second other than consistently pushing within the system.  Do you?

[ Parent ]
"Gen Dems:" the Pew Research term for young voters (4.00 / 4)
Don't forget the GREAT numbers on young voters!

From Katrina van den Heuvel in The Nation,


"young voters--largely due to the success of the Obama campaign--have become a vital part of the Democratic base. Indeed a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows young people aligning with Democrats over Republicans by 58 to 33 percent--more than twice the 11-point gap that existed in 2004. The numbers suggest that this election could be a realignment that increases the Democratic majority in Congress, helps win the presidency, and continues the power shift at the state and local levels."

Obama looks to have a terrific, maybe even enduring set of coattails.

Wow is right (0.00 / 0)
Chris, you say, "For quite some time, the Democratic Party struggled with a "loser" image nationally. Given its minority heavy, downtrodden heavy, freaks and geeks membership, it isn't a huge secret how it developed that negative brand...The minorities, the downtrodden, and the freaks and geeks are taking over. While I have little doubt that I will continue to be something of a party gadfly, and that I will continue to hold an oppositional, progressive stance toward the leadership on fairly regular occasions, sometimes it is good to remember that the Democratic Party is, in some very important ways, actually pretty good. Today, I am very happy to be a part of it. "

You say the Democratic party struggled with a "loser" image because of it's "minority heavy negative brand" etc.etc. Wow - no wonder you're amazed that "you" nominated the Black Guy". I hate to rain on your schadenfreude parade but the nomination isn't over yet. And you may very well still be part of the "losing" Democratic party.

Wait,,, (4.00 / 1)
Time and tide will repudiate your fears

[ Parent ]
Additions, while we're congratulating ourselves for being Democrats: (4.00 / 1)
Pete Stark is a confirmed atheist.

Are all those Asian congressmen nominally Christian?  Dan Akaka, David Wu?  I never thought about it.

And there's a lot more than two LGBs in Congress, although only two are voluntarily open about it.  Larry Craig, Barbara Mikulski, Lindsay Graham, David Dreier, and probably three or four more Reps (Patrick McHenry?) round out the LGB caucus.  

But yes, Dems are the only party in which LGBs are (sometimes) comfortable being open.  And we're certainly the only party that will consider promoting an out person into a higher office.

What a Party!! (4.00 / 1)
It looks like the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party has prevailed.  I am so proud of our party!  

So proud. (0.00 / 0)
"We" nominated the "black guy".

[ Parent ]
Yesterday evening... (4.00 / 2)
  A friend had me over for dinner, and afterwards one of his neighbors dropped by to say hi. He's the ultimate Bubba -- white, blue-collar, beer-swilling good-ole-boy.

 And he couldn't stop rhapsodizing about Barack Obama. He was a "fresh face", which is what we need in Washington. That was the theme he kept coming back to.

 I know that's Barack's weakest demographic, but I'm much more sanguine about his chances to win them over than I am with Hillary's chances to mend fences with every group she's pissed off this spring.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

hell yeah! (4.00 / 1)
Chris: Thanks for this reminder of our hilarious and lovely party demographics. Go freaks and geeks!!

Wow. (4.00 / 1)
Wow. "We" nominated the "black guy". So exclaims Chris Bowers.


I'm looking forward to your spending many days of hard work during hot hot summer months to elect the person you call, "the black guy".

This is the same one about whom you wrote that you realize that he is not about to pursue any kind of progressive agenda. So, knowing this, I am looking forward to thinking about you putting in many hours trying to elect him.
How rewarding for you.

cool (0.00 / 0)
Since the democratic party is allegedly the party working in the interests of disempowered groups, i want this in the platform:

seats reserved by law in congress, state, and local governments, the judiciary, public universities, government jobs, and any institution that receives government funding for women, Black people, indigenous people, immigrants (obviously with the extension of the vote to them), Latinos, LGBT people, indigenous people, people who have own assets worth below half of median wealth, and people who own assets below median wealth, all according to their percentage of the population.  Since some of these categories overlap, the reservations themselves would have to overlap (i.e. we'd have to elect some Black LGBT people ;).

Now ask yourself what the Democratic party of 2008, through its processes of making decisions, would think of this proposal.  Would it consider it as is?  Would it criticize it but consider it with some modifications?  Would it criticize it, but consider it, though ultimately rejecting it?  Would it reject it outright without consideration? Would it laugh at it?  Or would it call it unAmerican?  Or would it call it crazy?

It's an interesting Rohrschach test I think.  The proposal itself is an extension (and I think an improvement on) a system that's been in place in India since 1950.

and were it not for the Cuban exiles... (0.00 / 0)
...the GOP would have ZERO latino reps or senators as well.


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