A New Generation Takes Charge Of The Democratic Party

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Jan 03, 2008 at 22:34

Throughout this campaign, the issues of most concern to the blogosphere have not been the issues of most concern to the national media. When we obsessed about residual forces, they ignored it for months. When we obsessed about blank check Iraq funding, that never really became an issue in the campaign. When we worried about FISA, that never appeared pretty much anywhere else. When we talked about partisanship, that was never picked up anywhere else either.

This all works in reverse, too. Many prominent bloggers said they favored Edwards toward the end of the campaign, and a similar pro-Edwards trend was found in blogosphere straw polls. Three weeks ago, Edwards and Obama were essentially tied in terms of support on Daily Kos, but things broke heavily for Edwards at the end. The main reason, as far as I can tell, was because many of us in the blogosphere finally decided that we liked the anti-corporate rhetoric coming from Edwards, and didn't like the occasional right-wing talking point coming from Obama. While that might be how we made our decision, it certainly wasn't how voters in Iowa made their decisions. This wasn't about unity or bi-partisanship. Every candidate promised to be bi-partisan. Clinton ran ads to that effect. Edwards promised to put Republicans in his cabinet.

Toward the end, many voters broke for Edwards. However, more voters broke for Obama, specifically new and young voters. Tonight, Obama won because he did something many campaigns have claimed they would do in the past, but never until now had never actually accomplished: he turned out young voters and new voters in record-smashing numbers. This has long been the holy grail of progressive politics, and until now no one had been able to pull it off. Well, Obama pulled it off. That is a remarkable an historic accomplishment. That is why he won.

The notion that the youth that put Obama over the top is somehow hell-bent on bi-partisanship is about as misguided as the idea that FISA would have an impact in the Presidential campaign (while FISA should have had an impact, it just wasn't going to happen). Young voters are overwhelmingly Democratic, as voters under 30 broke 60%--38% for Democrats in 2006. The youth of America isn't navigating a path between the two parties, they are overwhelmingly siding with one party. What they want is change and youth within the party, not an older generation's status quo. They want a change in America, and a change in the Democratic Party.

Obama represents the change that Democratic youth want, and he does so in a way that neither Clinton nor Edwards could ever hope to match. I stand by what I wrote in late 2006 on this matter:
Chris Bowers :: A New Generation Takes Charge Of The Democratic Party

I think Obama, simply in terms of his demeanor and his biography, strongly appeals to politicos from a new generation and a new socioeconomic class because he strikes them in some sort of gut, intuitive level as being from that class. Multi-ethnic, post-Vietnam, highly educated, raised in a major urban center--these are many of the cosmopolitan, self-creating, forward looking aspects of life for many younger professionals. As much as we may or may not like Bill Clinton, coming from a little town in Arkansas is not a story many Americans can relate to anymore, because we just didn't grow up that way. Even John Edwards's story of growing up in a mill town when the mill closed seems very, very rustic for a northeasterner such as myself, since our mills closed down sixty years ago to move to places like North Carolina. These rustic visions of America simply are not where people are at these days, especially news junkies and activists within the Democratic Party and the bluer parts of America. Those people instead look to places like Harlem, where Bill Clinton now keeps his offices. People moving into the gentrifying areas of Harlem probably like Barack Obama quite a bit, and probably feel some sort of gut-level, identity-based connection with him that they can't even quite put their finger on at this point.

I can't quite put my finger on it either, but the rise of Obama, I believe, is largely based on a new vision of personal identity that will inevitably come to impact our national political discourse. Whether or not his speeches and policy ideas continue to live up to that identity remains to be seen, but it does give him an edge on the rest of older, predominately Baby Boomer field that, generally speaking, will not trumpet their urban or multi-ethnic roots. If he can continue to tap into this new identity and socio-economic wave, his campaign will be difficult to defeat, especially if it is combined with strong African-American support. A coalition of African-Americans and the professional, creative class (both within the netroots and the party establishment), would be a devastating coalition in a Democratic primary that I am not sure anyone could defeat.

Everything since that time has simply backed-up my gut feeling from thirteen months ago. Obama attracts his support predominantly from younger voters, well-educated voters, urban voters, non-Christian voters, and African-American voters. These demographics are disproportionately grouped into the generations that have followed the Baby Boomers. Even leaving his rhetoric aside, the simply fact is that Obama represents those voters from a demographic and cultural perspective that no other candidate can match. Tonight, he won because he turned those voters out in record numbers. Pundits scoffed at such high turnout projections, probably because they had seen every previous such claim from a campaign fall flat. Well, tonight Obama succeeded where all other campaigns have failed in the past.

Congratulations to Barack Obama and his supporters. This is a historic victory for change. John Edwards should also be proud that despite facing a massive deficit in spending and media coverage, he still managed to finish ahead of Hillary Clinton in Iowa. That is a testament to the strength of a populist, progressive message. Tonight, we saw a new generation take charge in the Democratic Party, and a populist, progressive message perform very strongly. This isn't exactly the result I hoped for, but I'm still pretty happy.

Now, on to New Hampshire!

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This is a historic victory for change. (4.00 / 4)
A victory for change in the method of presentation to us of the same corporate mentality.

You're 100% Right (4.00 / 6)
A large youth turn-out is the holy grail of progressive politics. We're the largest generation ever, and we're largely Democratic. We're for civil right for gays and immigrants, and largely against the war. We're tech-savvy with a strong sense of fairness.

Getting this generation involved in politics is the biggest story from tonight. I sure hope this trend continues, because it means a Democratic wave that could last 40 years.

This could be the dawning of a new Progressive era. Imagine the 1910s all over again--BOTH parties battling to out-progressive each other to capture the new generation of voters. We're on the way!

Here's hoping you get what you asked for. (4.00 / 1)
Your generation obviously sees something in Obama many boomers do not. Your faith-based enthusiasm for the man is remarkable.  I hope you are not disappointed, but life has a way of doing that.  Youth has its advantages, but experience and wisdom are not two of them.  Good luck to you.

[ Parent ]
savvy (4.00 / 1)
"We're for civil right for gays and immigrants, and largely against the war. We're tech-savvy with a strong sense of fairness."

My hope is that your generation (and I'm 27 years old) is also for economic justice and a strong labor movement. Because without those two, you're ability to enact lasting transformational change in this country (except possibly in the area of civil rights which has largely already been done) is going to be nil. You may have a movement, but without recognizing what the opposition is (and that there IS an opposition) your movement will have nowhere to go.

[ Parent ]
Tonight (4.00 / 1)
Looks like the country is turning toward identity politics.

I hear Ronald Reagan laughing at your comment (4.00 / 1)

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
Obama is about to get hit hard (4.00 / 1)
The attack dogs are about to be unleashed on Obama. He'll be under the spotlight like he never has been before in his political career.

Can he survive the attacks? If he does, if he transcends the negativity, then he'll sweep to the nomination. If he doesn't, and it turns out he has a glass jaw, then we can all say the primary process worked in vetting our nominee.

Leftmost Bit

I prefer this analysis by Matt Stoller in September (4.00 / 3)
"Throughout 2005-2006, Obama's excuse for inaction, which I hit him on quite early, was 'I'm just a freshman'.  But this was always a ruse, an excuse for not leading, especially on progressive issues.  Obama after all was tutored by Lieberman in the Senate, and has done everything he can to fit into the culture of an institution he consistently derided as thinking too small or as too Beltway.  The episode that stands out is the shameful period during the Military Commissions Act, when Obama was silent until it became clear the bill was going to pass.  Here was Atrios at the time expressing frustration all of us felt:

Hey, Senator Obama, now'd be a nice time to stop fucking talking about "America coming together" and start getting America to come together to oppose torturing people.
This was another one I liked, when Atrios was encouraging people to call Obama's office.

Ask when his office is going to issue a statement in support of or against torture.
While he came out against the MCA, it was on the day the bill passed, and it was too late to make a difference.  Making grandiloquent speeches on progressive issues when he knows it does not matter is his MO.  It's just who he is.

In his political dealings, Obama has actually been much worse.  He refused to surrogate for Lamont in the General election after a lukewarm endorsement he had to make.  The Lamont campaign had to beg him to send out an email for Lamont, after Obama had gone out of his way to back Lieberman in the primary.  In other displays of DC-think, Obama backed, strongly, Tammy Duckworth over the grassroots progressive Christine Cegelis in the IL-06 primary, and often backed Chicago machine candidates over reformers after winning a Senate seat that progressives had helped him garner.  Obama isn't one of us, and in his political career he has shown himself entirely unequipped to lead in a time of extremism.  It doesn't much matter than he worked as a community organizer in his twenties.  At crunch time, Obama is almost always absent, or even on the other side.

As Chris and I have noted, today is his 'big speech' on Iraq, and it was simply irrelevant to the debate.  Here's Dodd, going after him:

I was disappointed that Senator Obama's thoughts on Iraq today didn't include a firm, enforceable deadline for redeployment, and dismayed that neither he nor Senator Clinton will give an unequivocal answer on whether they would support a measure if it didn't have such an enforceable deadline.
It is clear to me - especially after yesterday's testimony - that half-measures aren't going to stop this President or end our involvement in this civil war. I thought it was clear to Senators Obama and Clinton as well after they finally came around to supporting the Feingold-Reid measure and voting against a blank-check supplemental spending bill this spring. If 'enough was enough' then, why isn't it after the bloodiest summer of the war?

Senator Obama has a gift for soaring rhetoric, but, on this critical issue, we need to know the substance of his position with specificity. Without tying a date certain to funding how does he plan to enforce his call for an immediate redeployment?

The only specificity Senator Obama offered was a call for a new constitution, but that will do nothing other than provide the Iraqis and the Bush Administration another excuse to delay -- the ink is barely dry on the constitution they have.

It is going to take bold leadership to change our course in Iraq. We need to do more than write letters to the President, we need to be clear with him.

I urge Senators Obama and Clinton not to backtrack on the need for a firm, enforceable deadline and state clearly and directly whether they will support an Iraq measure if it does not include one."

This is exactly right.  Obama will not lead on Iraq, but worse than that, he will not even address it.  A speech that refuses to deal with funding votes in the Senate and residual troops for the President post-2009 is not a statement on Iraq at all.  It's as if I were to ask him if I could borrow his extra umbrella because it's raining outside, and he were to passionately talk about the need for it to stop raining.  He's just avoiding the subject.  And why should I pick Obama if I want someone who avoids the subject?  I can get a better version of that in the form of Hillary Clinton.  At least she's honest about not being an incrementalist, instead of bashing DC in speeches while doing nothing to change the culture he's very much a part of."


It's early yet. (4.00 / 2)
Obama out-Clinton'd the Clintons and that doubles my distrust of the man.  I think when all is said and done, Hillary will take the WH.  Given a choice between Obama and Hillary, I'll take the devil I know.

[ Parent ]
Hate to say it. (4.00 / 2)
But I have to agree at this point. At least Hillary knows that the right-wing has no intention of coming together in a love fest of unity. She of course knows this first-hand after a 15 years of non-stop attacks on her. Her health care plan also shows somewhat more willingness to shift broken private sector markets to the public sector. I have not seen that from Obama yet.

[ Parent ]
lies, damnd lies, statistics (0.00 / 0)
Young voters are overwhelmingly Democratic, as voters under 30 broke 60%--38% for Democrats in 2006. The youth of America isn't navigating a path between the two parties, they are overwhelmingly siding with one party.

Keep in mind that that means that a lot of their parents are more conservative than them.  So angry attacks on conservatives are just going to piss them off.  They will feel like the pol is attacking their parents.

Is someone attacking conservatives? (4.00 / 2)
Because I don't remember a single candidate doing so. There was some anti-corporate stuff, but no one ran against either Republicans or conservatives. Not a single candidate.

Also, I seriously doubt that level of anecdotal analysis. Sure, some may have conservative parents, but most won't. Self-identified conservatives are only about 35% of the nation. I have a feeling that the vast majority of young Dems come from parents who are in th other 65%. Further, I bet that many who the ones who do have conservative parents don't mind attacks on conservatives, anyway.

[ Parent ]
Hillary Did (4.00 / 1)
Because I don't remember a single candidate doing so.

In the debates she continually brushed of the attacks by Obama and Edwards by saying that our real opponent is not each other but the Republicans.

She had more that a few words about Bush also.

[ Parent ]
Not the same (4.00 / 1)
A Democrat mentioning her opposition to Republicans is not "attacking conservatives" nor is attacking George Bush specifically.

I diaried about this lack of direct confrontation on conservatism specifically the other day.  No one is doing it.

[ Parent ]
Rose colored glasses.... (4.00 / 2)
Apparently, attacking is a sin against humanity in Iowa. It makes you "the angry man" and gives both the media and the run right Democrat the opportunity to tell everybody how angry you are. 

[ Parent ]
Not to mention, (4.00 / 3)
that this progressive with Right-wing parents is much more likely to identify with the guy standing up to the conservatives than the guy backing down, as has been replayed at endless family dinners.

[ Parent ]
Feel free to disagree (0.00 / 0)
However edwards didn't exactly do well amoung that demographic is my guess

[ Parent ]
It was a traditional Democratic message (0.00 / 0)
And Obama used anti-corporate rhetoric too, just not as messianic.

[ Parent ]
Obama spoke realistically (0.00 / 0)
He didn't go at coporations out of a seeming hatred though.  Which is what I saw in edwards.  Not just a dissagreement, but a genuine hatred for the corporations.

Obama was more like.  "I know corporations are made of good people, but we will have to do what we want regardless of what they want"

[ Parent ]
One can be angry and not hate.... (4.00 / 3)
"I know corporations are made of good people" is pure hogwash.  Corporations are not people, which is the whole purpose of incorporation.  Good people have nothing to do with corporations, particularly when they are public.  Public corporations have only one primary goal, to produce a profit for their stock holders.  The fact that people bought "corporations are good people"  is absolutely amazing.  Obama is a snake charmer; and if he isn't, he's deliberately misleading (lying).  At least Hillary is open and honest in her support for business and lobbyists. Obama out-Clinton'd the Clintons in Iowa.  I have a strong feeling his WH, should he make it there, will out-Clinton the Clintons again. 

So please.  If Edwards is full of hate, then I guess that would make Obama (swoon) full of ??fairy dust?? 

If you aren't pissed, you haven't been paying attention. I can't believe Iowa and a bunch of kids got to pick the nominee when the rest of the country can't even get a vote.

[ Parent ]
It's hard to be anti-corporate when you take their money. (4.00 / 2)
This information could explain Obama's less than messianic anti-corporate rhetoric:

"Obama"s presidential campaign has received nearly $5 million dollars from securities and investment firms and $866,000 from commercial banks through October of 2007. Obama"s top contributor so far is Goldman Sachs (provider of $369,078 to Obama), identified by Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) investigators as "a major proponent of privatizing Social Security as well as legislation that would essentially deregulate the investment banking/securities industry." Eight of Obama"s top twenty election investors are securities and investment firms: Goldman Sachs, Lehman Bros. (number 2 at $229,090), J.P. Morgan Chase and Co. (# 4 at $216,759), Citadel Investment Group (#7 at 4166,608), UBS AG ($146,150), UBS-America ($106,680), Morgan Stanley ($104,421), and Credit Suisse Group ($92,300). The last two firms are also known to be leading privatization advocates (Center for Responsive Politics 2007a).

Meanwhile, Obama"s presidential run has been "assisted" by more than $2 million from the health care sector and nearly $400,000 from the insurance industry through October of 2007 (Center for Responsive Politics 2007b). Obama received $708,000 from medical and insurance interests between 2001 and 2006 (Center for Responsive Politics 2007c). "

The Los Angeles Times reported that Obama "raised more than $1 million in the first three months of his presidential campaign from law firms and companies that have major lobbying operations in the nation"s capital." Campaign finance expert Stephen Weissman observed that this raised troubling questions about the practical relevance of Obama"s much-ballyhooed pledge to turn down donations from "federal lobbyists."

As Los Angeles Times reporter Dan Morain explained "some of the most influential [lobbyist] players, lawyers and consultants among them, skirt disclosure requirements by merely advising clients and associates who do actual lobbying, and avoiding regular contact with policymakers. Obama"s ban does not cover such individuals."

Thus, to give one example, Obama received $33,000 in the first quarter of 2007 from the Atlanta-based law firm Alston & Bird, which maintains a large lobbying division in Washington. Obama"s $33,000 came bundled from a number of "consultants" employed by the firm.

Also deleted from Obama"s "ban" are state lobbyists. Obama took $2000 from two Springfield, Illinois lobbyists for Exelon, which spent $500,000 to influence policy in Washington in 2006 and gave $160,000 directly to Obama (Morain 2007).


[ Parent ]
IIRC (0.00 / 0)
Edwards was second to Obama in that demographic, with Kucinich third, and Clinton fourth.

[ Parent ]
Correction (0.00 / 0)
Richardson third, not Kucinich.

[ Parent ]
Another correction (0.00 / 0)
Clinton got one point more than Richardson.

[ Parent ]
You are probably right (0.00 / 0)
Many people from conservative backgrounds become liberals, others stay conservative.  I doubt too many rebel by becoming consrvative, but that may just be my generation.

I think it is great that turnout was so high--the best thing for our politics would be a more engaged citizenry.  I'm very heartened by new people turning out for Obama.  And Huckster won too, but McCain, who is soooooooo 2000, came in a close 4th (almost a 2 way tie for third!)  And there were even a few exploding heads when I tuned in. 

Good post, Chris.  Give Obama and his message a hard second look, because I think you are close to capturing his appeal.  He really is the biggest break with the past.  It is starting to feel in some ways like the 1868 elections when the Gilded Generation threw out their elders whose acrimony had brought on the Civil War. 

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
About that coalition (0.00 / 0)
Chris, when did Obama revive the Creative Class-African American coalition?  You do recall that you lamented how that coalition never formed, right?

I'm seriously wondering if you can point to a turning point for Obama's coalition occuring after you wrote that post.


John McCain says overturn the law that legalized abortion

It never really broke (0.00 / 0)
I just think that when the anti-Clinton media went through the roof after the 10/30 Philly debate, those same voters went back to Obama. I wrote a post arguing that on November 14th.

[ Parent ]
Wow, I just read your 2003 post! (4.00 / 1)
I had no idea, Chris.  Your 2003 post, which I only just read via the link in the Nov 14th post, which I also only just now read, just blew me away.  I never realized how powerful your coalition idea sounds, and I am now going to call it the Bower Coalition.

so, yeah, sorry, I totally missed how you took back calling Obama's candidacy dead. (the Bower Coalition seems to have regrouped around him).  In the Nov 14th post you even addressed why you couldn't endorse Obama before Iowa (it isn't clear that he WANTS the Bower Coalition.) 

But now that Obama has won Iowa, the prospect of the Bower Coalition winning must be dizzying.  You will endorse him now, won't you?  I am not an Obama follower.  I've been Edwards, and deeply distrustful of Obama because of his bipartisan rhetoric. But all that gets put aside now that the Bower Coalition is possible, doesn't it?

I think you have to endorse him before New Hampshire AND  bring the rest of Blogosphere with you, because since it seems that Obama does not want the Bower Coalition the urgent task is to hijack his campaign somehow. I say it is time to start organizing around the Coalition.  It is not Obama's bipartisan "image" that is important, its the "material" Coalition that matters, no?  Who would you say would be materially the ideal Obama VP?  Dean?  and how should the Creative Class and African-American coalition best hijack Obama's candidacy?

Obama jumped into the 2008 race after having originally planned to run in 2012 or 2016.  He jumped at the once in a lifetime opportunity.  Maybe it is time that the blogosphere  do the same with Obama, because of the Coalition he represents.  I know I'm a newbie and all that, so I probably am way off on this, but what do you say?

John McCain says overturn the law that legalized abortion

[ Parent ]
I'm not Chris, but maybe this'll help (4.00 / 1)
There's an "s" at the end. Bowers.

And for the life of me, I can't see how "I think you have to endorse him before New Hampshire AND  bring the rest of Blogosphere with you..." makes any sense at all.
Chris' endorsement, were he so inclined, will bring virtually none of the blogosphere with him. I love his writing as much as any OL reader, but the readership here is too far from sheep to have a major impact on their choices.

Maybe you are "way off on this" or maybe I am. But I'm not a newbie and I can tell you that the conversations and analysis here are much more likely to influence Joe Progressive OpenLeft Reader's view of Obama than Chris jumping up and saying "I'm an Obama guy now."

Karl in Drexel Hill, PA

[ Parent ]
Not "Obama Guy" but Coalition (0.00 / 0)
My only quibble with your comment is that Bowers would not say, "I'm an Obama guy now." 

My notion, for what it's worth, is that Bowers would help analyze the progressive coalition forming around Obama and spell out how to best nurture and influence it so as to advance progressive infrastructure regardless of Obama's leadership.  Also, I seem to recall a Bowers argument that one of the problems with Obama is that he doesn't seem to want the existing progressive infrastructure, but it seems to me that his coalition is naturally inclined to join existing progressive efforts, again, regardless of Obama's leadership.

I think the result of this analysis could show that the blogosphere/progressive institutions has a lot to gain long term from engaging the Obama coalition now, however weak a progressive candidate or president Obama is/becomes.  In other words, "It's the Coalition, stupid."

But, this is just my notion, and the main reason I ask Bowers if he will endorse Obama, is to get at the question of what he feels the Bowers' Coalition's near term future looks like given Obama's ascendency.

John McCain says overturn the law that legalized abortion

[ Parent ]
You made two statements in that post (4.00 / 1)
that totally explain my dislike for the man. 

The first is "insider elitism".  In my personal life and observations of the word, virtual and otherwise, I don't think I have even experienced anyone more arrogant and narcistic than Obama.

The second is inextricably tied to the first.  "Even if Obama wins, I worry it could all horribly backfire and self-destruct if the coalition isn't ready to be embraced by the person leading it,..." builds upon the first. 

Obama's elitism is so who he is that he should predictably end up at your second point. 

[ Parent ]
Agree with you completely (4.00 / 1)
I may not be an Obama supporter, and to be honest I have started to dislike him in the past few weeks, but his ability to turn out people is impressive, and I have no doubt he can do it again in the general election.

And while John Edwards is not going to be the nominee (barring a Hillary or Obama collapse of epic proportions), you're right that he does have a lot to be proud of. After he was declared to be fading again and again, and as his rock star opponents outspent him, he still managed second in Iowa. I hope he doesn't get out of politics, we need him.

I'd love to see Edwards as AG (0.00 / 0)
An AG in the Robert Kennedy mold. What a difference he would be, compared with the crooks who have been Attorney General under Bush!

[ Parent ]
Yes (4.00 / 3)
He'd be the pitbull for justice we need.  I don't think people truly understand how Bush has deeply embedded movement conservatives--young ones, too--at all levels of the government.  I believe Digby had a post about that: we need to root them out for the crimes they committed during their Bush years.

[ Parent ]
Absolutely (0.00 / 0)
Eliot Spitzer on a national scale. That or Secretary of Labor.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
A Bit Over the Top Chris? (0.00 / 0)
A single digit victory is not a blowout by any stretch of the imagination. And had it not been for out-of-state college students who are not even Iowans Obama would not even have won.

And one youth victory in Iowa does not change the face of the Senate or the House of the State Houses. And without those the youth of America has not taken charge of anything. One tiny state and a single digit victory is not Rome falling or even burning. The generational war this blog wages is quite insulting to a lot of progressives. It kind of smacks of politics of division which is far from progressive. And remember you are still outnumbered by the people with all the money. Also don't forget that one day you will be the old school and other youths will be scoffing at you. Then your tune will change.

As for Edwards and Clinton let's get real here. They are in a virtual tie for second and as of right now and calling .46 of a percent a victory is hyperbole - sorry but it is. I'd say the same if the names were reversed.

Bottomline - take away the students of New York, Michigan, Kansas, etc and Obama most likely did not win the vote of real Iowans. That is just fact.

Wait... (4.00 / 1)
Adults who live in Iowa for 8+ months a year, who have jobs and pay taxes...aren't Iowans?

Who the hell counts as a "real" Iowan, then?

The law (and common sense) would disagree with you.

[ Parent ]
Going to School (0.00 / 0)
and then leaving the state after graduation or school transfer is hardly analogous to someone with real roots in Iowa. Give me a break.

[ Parent ]
So, instead, we just get a swath of the population (4.00 / 2)
that is competely disenfrancished?  What about people who have jobs that require frequent moving?  Should they just not get to vote anywhere?

[ Parent ]
It's easy! (0.00 / 0)
I guess if you plan on moving in the future, or have ever lived anywhere besides Iowa, you cannot vote in any election.

You only can vote if you were born, raised, educated, and plan on dying there. Duh!

You can't choose your representation just because you live there and pay taxes. You don't deserve a say on where your tax money goes. That's just silly.

[ Parent ]
I didn't say the students (0.00 / 0)
shouldn't be able to vote. I said they were not real Iowans and most of them will leave that state when school is over for them. Frankly I think they should vote in the state they have real residence in instead of where they have temporary residence like in a dorm.

As for people who are constantly transit because of their jobs - they represent a very small fraction of the total population. Certainly in any one state their numbers do not represent enough to sway an election as we are seeing here.

[ Parent ]
Oh, please... (0.00 / 0)
Where should they vote? Where they live 8 months a year, or where they live 4 months a year?

Seems to me that it's a no-brainer. As far as the law and the Iowa Secretary of State is concerned, these adults who attend college are "real Iowans." Anyone who says otherwise is misguided.

[ Parent ]
The mother of all right wing talking points (4.00 / 2)
Your entitled to your opinion, but this is a right wing talking point in the extreme.  "Real Iowans" are subject to Iowa's laws, pay taxes in Iowa, and are affected by decisions Iowa's government makes.  This reminds me of when George Bush talks about going to Texas to be with "real Americans."  Give me break.

[ Parent ]
I'd like to see some exit polls. (0.00 / 0)
I agree that students helped, but am skeptical that they're the entire 7.5ish% difference.

[ Parent ]
So what? (0.00 / 0)
If your argument is that a caucus that was comprised of folks that are older and have lived in Iowa for an extended period of time are more representative of teh entire nation - you'll need to back that up with some data.  I suspect such would make them LESS representative than they already are.

You're argument MIGHT have some relevance for the more local and statewide issues dealt with during the caucuses - but on the issue of choosing a nominee for president - I think you're on the wrong track.

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

[ Parent ]
And Since when (0.00 / 0)
does being 18 - 19 - 20 years old qualify as an adult? Sure you can vote, and go to war but maturity wise I don't know many people who can honestly say they were adults at that age.

Hell the majority of them are still being financed by their parents. That is not an adult.

[ Parent ]
Adult=over 18 (4.00 / 1)
They can vote, be drafted, buy a car, get a credit card, work at any job. Are you saying they shouldn't be allowed to vote because they can't rent cars? Or because they didn't vote for your candidate?

Stop your discrimination against young adults. It's really insulting. And it's damaging to the party, too, as young people are the future. There's no way around that.

[ Parent ]
My point was (0.00 / 0)
you calling them adults. They aren't. Neither was I at that age and that is a good thing. God help us if our maturity peaks at 20. Thankfully our maturity has barley begun to develop at that age.

[ Parent ]
How do you measure maturity, then? (0.00 / 0)
When is a person mature enough to handle the burden of the vote? When they're a certain age? When they make a certain amount of money? When they have a certain education level? When they own land?

Seems a lot easier (and more progressive) to me to just label everyone over 18 as an adult like, you know, the LAW says.

[ Parent ]
Don't be dense! (0.00 / 0)
Most 18 to 20 year olds would rather die than get 'involved' in politics. I know I talk to enought of 'em about it. Obama's campaign did good to turn out a lot of new voters but who they are and what they want isn't yet clear.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

[ Parent ]
Youth turnout was up (4.00 / 1)
Youth voting was up in 2004, 2006, and again tonight.

Young people make up 22% of the voting population, but 25% of the caucus-goers tonight.

I'd sure say that young people are actively engaged in politics. The numbers from Iowa and around the country sure back me up.

[ Parent ]
I'm Sorry (0.00 / 0)
I'm sorry but your Dumbassery apparently knows no bounds.  Go lick your wounds and get back to us when you're ready to address young progressives as the adults they are.


[ Parent ]
Speak for yourself (0.00 / 0)
I've been an "adult" ever since I was 16 years old.

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

[ Parent ]
Who else sholdn't be allowed to vote? (4.00 / 5)
Half of the precinct captains in my ward are college students at the University of Pennsylvania. They are vital to my local Democratic Party, and helped us overthrow the machine in our area. I wasn't aware that they weren't "real Philadelphians."

What other demographics do you think shouldn't count in elections?

[ Parent ]
Are they out of staters? (0.00 / 0)
If so is the Democratic Party really that screwed up where you live that you have to have out of state students from out of state be precinct captains. Or perhaps your ward is overwhelmingly populated by college students which would explain that strange phenomena.

"I wasn't aware that they weren't "real Philadelphians.""

Well if they are four year in and then out and back to the state they were raised then I guess you could call them temporary Philadelphians.

[ Parent ]
So... (4.00 / 2)
This got me thinking about my own life and the number of times we moved as I was growing up, and I was trying to figure out where I was from based on your definition. But I think my brother is really a better example.

My brother was born in one town, and then through his younger years, the family was moving all over. He spent all four years of high school in one town in southern Michigan. Then, he spent four years at Michigan Tech in the Upper Peninsula (very different from southern Michigan), and stayed the summers there for research projects. Then, he went to grad school in Illinois for five years.

From 14 to 28, he was never totally financially independent, relying on our parents at some level. From 14 to 28, he never stayed in one place for more than five years, and after high school, he never moved back in with our parents, even in the summers.

At the same time, he never had roots in any of those places, and he never had any intention of staying in any of those places. Was he ever a "real" anything?

Was he a "temporary Michiganian"? Or a "temporary Yooper"? Or a "temporary Illinoisan"? Throughout the whole thing, where did he belong? Where should he have cast his votes?

I think it's going to be tough for you to decide where everyone belongs. I think it's much better to say that if you live there for most of the year and associate yourself with the place, that's where you're from, and that's where you vote.

[ Parent ]
Why now and not with Dean in 2004?


I was truly inspired by Dean.  I feel "meh" with Obama.

For some reason, it seems that Obama has some pathological and deep-seated psychological need for Republicans to like him.  Seriously.  It's weird.

Obama has Dean to thank (4.00 / 1)
Dean was Youth/Internet Movement 1.0

Obama tapped into Youth/Internet Movement 4.0 four year later. The internet in regards to politics had a transformational change in that four years. Dean pioneered it.

[ Parent ]
A guess: (4.00 / 2)
What the heck do I know, but what I'd say is:

The Dean campaign was about getting people excited.

The Edwards campaign is about getting people excited.

The Obama campaign is about getting people excited and organized.

I mean, yes, the Dean campaign did a lot of great organizing as well-- you can see this quite clearly in how many major progressive organizations there are right now which spun off from his campaign. But the organizing in the Obama campaign has been done in a more focused way and, here's the important part, it's being done on a local level. If Obama wins the entire thing, then expect analyses of why to frequently and prominently feature the phrase "community organizing model".

[ Parent ]
Organization (0.00 / 0)
Me, too.  I volunteered for the Dean campaign but eventually began to loathe Obama (Edwards supporter).

Yes, Obama has tons of cash, including some lobbyist ties, yes, but organization was the key.  Put that with a message ("Change!") and you get these results.

[ Parent ]
I guess that's as good a guess as any. (4.00 / 1)
Funny how dedicated Bush-hating college kids didn't caucus for Dean, but do for Obama four years (and many Iraqi and GI deaths later) wit the war still going on.


I still love Howard.  :(

For some reason, it seems that Obama has some pathological and deep-seated psychological need for Republicans to like him.  Seriously.  It's weird.

[ Parent ]
It didn't work for Dean because (4.00 / 2)
Dean threatened the system. He kept talking about the war in Iraq.
Obama poses no threat to anybody. He hasn't said a peep in years and funds the thing.

The mainstream corporate media has no reason to go after Obama the way they went after Dean because as long as Obama presents himself as a Pied Piper to the land of change and the kids wallow along behind him singing songs - it poses no threat to them. No one  knows what change he is talking about and so it's fine with everybody. Keeps 'em off the streets.

[ Parent ]
Dean threatened the system! (0.00 / 1)
I'm not a journalist, but I work in "corporate media". I'm telling you that the idea that Howard Dean was threatening and therefore vilified is not credible. It's actually pretty laughable.

As is the idea that corporate media targets politicians who are "threatening". Believe me. None of these people are threatening to my job or my belief system.

If someone gets set on fire, they're making the cut, end of story. I don't care if it's a DFH or a SoCon.

From my experience, that's how it works.

The reason it didn't happen for Dean, and won't happen for Edwards, is simple.

Their message is: "Get angry about the past!"

Obama's message is: "Get excited about the future!"

I know which one I'm going to choose...

Partisan Anger is out. Inclusive hope is in.

You're pissed because Obama's running away from the Democratic party?

Fine be angry about that like you were angry about Bush and then find something else to be angry about later. It's fundamentally unproductive, and the time for that is over...

[ Parent ]
An amazing post Chris. (0.00 / 0)
Thank you!

Subject (4.00 / 2)
And congratulations to Edwards for his apparent second place finish, I'd say.

As an Obama supporter who's not really ever seen very much difference between Edwards and Obama on any important point, I'm really happy with these results. I'm kind of curious how Edwards supporters view this, though.

This looks to me like a fairly good showing for Edwards. I'd like to ask the people explicitly in the Edwards camp though,-- are you satisfied with these numbers, unsatisfied...?

One last thing, almost maybe the most important thing we should be looking at in these numbers is that the Democratic turnout in Iowa tonight outstripped the Republican by something like two to one. This should give us a really clear idea of how much enthusiasm there is in the Democratic camp vs the Republican, and I think we can expect that enthusiasm gap to carry on strongly into the general...

Edwards' candicacy was dependent on an Iowa boost (4.00 / 2)
I don't see how Edwards supporters can be particularly satisfied with anything else but a win there.  His candidacy is in serious trouble now, absent some creative post-Iowa strategy.

[ Parent ]
The Edwards placement can be rated good (4.00 / 2)
because for this whole year its been the Obama and Hillary show in the media across the country. there was a chart the other day showing how many times Edwards Obama Hillary's names were in headlines. Edwards had this tiny amount compared to Obama and Hillary whom dominated headlines evenly. And Edwards did it on a smaller budget.

Tonight's scores at least make it harder for the media to continue to frame this as a two person race.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
Two-Person race? Nah (4.00 / 1)
The theme is: Is Obama  inevitable.  Can he be stopped? 

Odds are he has NH and SC.  Probably Nevada too given his strength with unions.

[ Parent ]
I'm pretty disappointed at the results. (4.00 / 2)

I still do not believe that Obama is going to take the party in the direction he implies he is. Chris's post is a real disappointment. On e narrow win does not a 'movement' make.

I'm really put off by the idea that a difference of 12,400 votes means that Obama is the person to lead this nation. Kos is on the case when he says this is crazy. I'd like also to point out what happened to Dean and how well that worked out. Kerry made up a fantasy of 'electabilty' and then ran one of the worst campaigns in recent memory.

Now, we've got Obama 'in front'...well I'm going to wait a week to see what that means. But I really don't see any change in Obama's negatives for the GE. His campaign is still a fantasy in so far as it relies upon 'bi-partisanship' he won in IA on something else. Turnout and I salute him for that achievement. If he could do that for the GE he'd have a chance at winning.

But I do not feel he's be a success as President. Edwards would I believe. He understands the real dynamic at play in the nation  today between those who want to own everything and those who want a life which I really don't think Obama does.

I'll never be an Obama supporter but that shouldn't change my support for the progressive movement as I conceive of it.

And it won't.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

[ Parent ]
I know its a touchy subject, but (0.00 / 0)
don't you think that Edwards would get slammed in the GE once the GOP noise machine started spewing up images of him voting and speaking about his support for many of the issues he stands against now?  Trade agreements and the AUMF, for instance?  Its a liability, no?

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

[ Parent ]
No (0.00 / 0)
For obvious reasons.  I'd love for him to pull it out in NH, but I just don't see it happening--at all (Unless Clinton supporters all of a sudden flip for Edwards, which won't happen).  He'll pull out after NH, endorse Obama, and then it's over.  I can't even imagine Clinton getting one primary win, honestly.

[ Parent ]
Soft Edwards supporter (0.00 / 0)
I think Edwards is done.  He had several advantages in Iowa which he won't have in the rest of the country:

- Lots of time in a fairly small state to compensate for less money to spend on TV

- Very few racial minorities (who poll very heavily for Clinton & Obama)

- A pre-existing organization from 4 years ago, when he did quite well

- Relatively blue collar

Then I really don't see a clear path for him to win the nomination, particularly when he has been polling a distant third in NH.

The Edwards speech struck me as a bit of a concession speech--determination and hope that the campaign's signature issues outlive the campaign.

As for myself, I guess I'll support Obama now, though if Edwards pulls off a miracle which I'm not seeing, I'll probably flip back.

[ Parent ]
Mirage and Money (4.00 / 1)
Barack brought out youth with hopeful marketing

He is right of everyone on healthcare
He suports General Dynamics
He supported Joe Lieberman and AIPAC
He supports Rubin and the Wall Street Hamilton Project

And you are talking about him as change!!!

He is selling change and backing power.

Very skillful

Might get him a nice big White House

What will the country get.

Wipe your eyes from the tears of joy for youth. 

This man is nothing if not corporate power as usual.  With a sexy marketing program (That is why they use pretty men and women to sell you things you do not need. 

Chris,  get off the surfboard.  Do real analysis.

He is change (4.00 / 1)
At least in a cultural, demographic, and generational sense.

And that is how I talked about him here.

[ Parent ]
Youth to Power (0.00 / 0)
We are publishing a book all about this next month, Youth to Power by Mike Connery of futuremajority. The youth movement toward Obama didn't just begin this evening--it started it's ascent last year, with (then) Facebook groups like Students for Barack Obama.

[ Parent ]
"He is change... (4.00 / 1)
...at least in a cultural, demographic, and generational sense."

Richardson is just as much a change in a cultural or demographic sense.

Clinton is change in as about a deep a sense as there is.

But no one talks about change or "history" except when talking about Obama.
It is racist clap-trap.

The change we are all looking for is not in the genetics or point of origin of a candidate. The change we need is a fiery person who talks and works incessantly to end the war in Iraq. We need someone who shuns the shackles of corporate domination of our lives, not someone who is up to his eyeballs in their money.

All we are being offered is a new brand name for the same old crappy product.
A new smiley face on the box with the same moldy contents.

[ Parent ]
Obama is "Political Realignment" type Change (0.00 / 0)
Not to put words in his mouth, and at the risk of misstating what I think is a very deep argument, I think the change the Bowers is talking about is makes more sense in terms of the Coalition Obama seems to be attracting, not so much what he personally embodies, although it is related. 

While Clinton's identity as a Woman, and coalition of Women voters she can put together may be powerful, Richardson and Edwards are not putting together any new coalitions.  Still, in a political sense, the Coalition that Bower has been writing about since 2003, and that Obama has a chance at putting together, is as big as a political realignment.

In other words, I think the argument is that Obama has the potential to bring about a political realignment in America. Think the GOP's Southern Strategy. I don't think any other candidate could make that claim, and you can't dismiss the significance of it, if true.

Now add on top of that the Coalition Obama has a shot at putting together is Bower's ideal Progressive Coalition of the Dem Creative Class and African-Americans, and I think it is clear that Obama presents a special case.

Now whether you believe the argument is a separate matter.

Frankly, I've been deeply distrustful of Obama until now, and an Edwards supporter, but if Bower's theories about Obama's Coalition bear out in New Hampshire, I will be completely excited by an Obama candidacy in November.

Anyway, that's my understanding, it may be wrong.  I only just realized Bower believed Obama's rise was still being fueled by the "Bower Coalition" so I may just be getting carried away.  We'll see, hopefully Bower will write more about this.

John McCain says overturn the law that legalized abortion

[ Parent ]
I don't see it. (4.00 / 1)
I don't see Obama putting together any "progressive Coalition of the Dem Creative Class and African-Americans".

I see him putting together a coalition of liberals who think that because of his ethnicity he is assumed to be progressive and a bunch of corporate managers, right wing religious types, socially conservative (anti-gay) folks, and young people who make all sorts of assumptions based on his appearance and his manner.

He is not progressive. Why should he attract progressives?
Why should he attract Black Americans? How far out on a limb has he gone to plead the case for racial justice? How many times has he brought up the horror of New Orleans?
What has he done to keep the war in the public consciousness and rally people to end it? He has done the opposite. He barely mentions it.

He can have his coalition.

[ Parent ]
Bowers' post from 2006 (0.00 / 0)
I can't explain it any better than Bowers' 2006 post, of course.  And I think you point out the main problem that Obama is not courting the Coalition, but it does seem, to Bowers at least, that the Coalition is going to Obama.

Not sure what how that contradiction plays out, but there it is.

John McCain says overturn the law that legalized abortion

[ Parent ]
From my (4.00 / 2)
standpoint, the whole Obama campaign could be one long commercial to sell toilet paper for all the substance.

[ Parent ]
good one chris (0.00 / 0)
so Obama isn't the "conservative candidate" anymore? Now he's a generational revolutionary?

Son of a gun (0.00 / 1)

Now I guess maybe you can give the evidence you have that Obama conducted "opposition research" on a lefty blogger.

I guess now you are obliged.

This speaks a lot to me, and people my age (4.00 / 4)
Tonight is a fantastic moment for my generation, the Democratic Party, and America as a whole.  Great post, Chris.  I appreciate your analysis.

A couple days ago, I saw a comment on OpenLeft where a reader was flummoxed at why young people are so enthusiastic about Obama.  This post goes a long way toward explaining it.  I'm 24, grew up outside of Chicago, and am now in law school in Boston.  A look at the demographics of Gen Y shows it to be the most diverse generation in American history, the most tolerant generation in American history, and currently, the most progressive generation in America today. 

The first political memories of my generation are the fall of the Berlin Wall and the first Gulf War.  The presidents were Bush, Clinton, Bush, with the political discourse dominated by conservative, white, southern men for as long as I can remember.  The defining moments of Gen Y's political coming of age were the Clinton impeachment, 9/11, and the War in Iraq.

Into this dynamic in the depths of the most horrific administration in history comes Obama, a young, urban, multi-ethnic progressive from my home state of Illinois.  In a  word, he was the anti-Bush, representing everything Bush and the political power structure of our time didn't.  CW over the past twenty years has held that presidents need to be white, southern, rural, and moderate-to-very conservative to be elected president.  Obama turns that logic on its head.  In 2004, he trounced the Chicago Democratic machine running a progressive campaign.  From that primary, I was on board. 

There were a few moments where I wavered in my support.  In particular, I wanted him to lead more on Iraq like Richardson did, I was upset about McClurkin, and was intrigued by Edwards' populism.  That being said, the promise of Obama never completely dimmed for me.  More than any other candidate, he speaks to young people and inspires  us.  After McClurkin, Obama lights a fire at the JJ-Dinner.  After the battle over the bloggers, Obama gives his best speech of the campaign.

Unlike Matt, Jerome and Kos, I never thought Obama's campaign push for being inclusive was naive, or worse, undercutting progressivism.  I think it is one of the greatest strengths of his campaign.  Iowa seems to bear that out.  I continue to believe that he has what it takes to win a convincing triumph with the coalition Chris mentioned in 2006.  It could be the first broad coalition for the Democratic Party since the New Deal Coalition fell apart in the 1970s.  I, for one, am very excited at that prospect.

Thanks (0.00 / 0)
I've tried really hard to understand Gen Y's attraction to Obama. This helps a little.

Banned for posting five straight diaries.

[ Parent ]
MySpace and Facebook (0.00 / 0)
confound me too. But when you think about it

Young people make up 22% of the voting population, but 25% of the caucus-goers tonight. --Kal

57% of young voters voted for Obama tonight. --Me

they can make Obama President.

Banned for posting five straight diaries.

[ Parent ]
generational shift not only due to youth (0.00 / 0)
Its representational of a departure from the politics of the late 80s, 90s and Bush....that's why his line that dismisses red and blue america as petty and cheap gets such applause. obama supporters want to move past the polarization of atwater and rove and cheney and matalin.  we don't want to continue in that tradition but pass the torch and try something new. the bloggers may not think it possible or realistic but folks are tired of angry and mean politics/governing. decency, honesty, consistency isn't a bad alternative.

If Obama wins the general .. (0.00 / 0)
then I might believe that ... but it hasn't been proven so far .. and what do you mean by mean and angry? .. if they don't like mean and angry .. why haven't they made the Republicans .. a dying party yet?

[ Parent ]
The problem with the Obama win is that the focus is on him (4.00 / 2)
and on his being a "generational revolutionary" whatever that means.  He adopts Edwards populist rhetoric but his policies and plans don't really suggest that the promise will be fulfilled. 

He deserves credit for the win.  It was a win through strategy and politics well played.  Students and young people can be caught up in group thinking.  This was brilliantly used by the Obama campaign but it does not give me confidence that the support suggests a progressive direction.

This looking for deep meaning in what he offers is nonsense.  He offers more of the same just dressed up differently.  The progressive bloggers just started to support the true progressive and I wonder where they will go with that.  It looks like they will try to find silver linings in the Obama win and still won't support Edwards full out. 

I am not happy with the result.  It will not bring the change needed. 

Join other progressives at EENRblog

To those who think Edwards should drop out......Why? (0.00 / 0)
So the message of corporate power can be conveniently suppressed by Obama/Clinton??  I'm glad to see that it looks like Edwards will take on Obama.

Let's see if Obama moves out of the DC Village to really take on corporatism. If he doesn't he is doing a disservice to all the "youth voters" who are thinking he's really for change that will improve their futures. Because they face a rough one if the corporate game continues to be played the same way.

It will be very unfortunate if the "image" continues to mask the same old, same old political game that's being played by Obama and Clinton.

Obama has already compromised himself to the point that I don't trust any of his "progressive" credentials. 

So the message of corporate power can be conveniently suppressed (0.00 / 0)
Here's the deal: not that many people really care about "the message of corporate power". You do, other people who read blogs like this do, but in the general electorate, it's an abstraction.

In other words, "corporations suck!" is not a big seller when you get outside niche communities (comparable to Evangelicals on the right). You have to think bigger. That's what Obama is doing.

In addition, you can't build a coherent vision for the future predicated on a negative assertion about the world. That's why, at it's core, Edward's message looses out to Obama's.

Anger vs. Hope is an easy decision for most people. Typically it's conservative voters taking up on the cause of anger, but in this primary, it's the DFH's.

Kind of a weird inversion, when you think about it...

[ Parent ]
Every generation throws a hero up the pop charts (0.00 / 0)
But this one's pretty good.  Maybe we'll keep him.

Remember (0.00 / 0)
all those Millennial and Gen Y books that said Millennials want to get along, work with the system, including their corporate bosses, to get things done? I don't agree at all with that but there it is.

Banned for posting five straight diaries.


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