1. We need to assume a few things to play this game:
- Clinton’s voters are, more-or-less, traditional Democratic voters. Obviously, this is highly debatable, especially given Obama’s success in the caucuses (who goes out for these things anyway?)
- We assert also that the voters Senator Obama is getting will never vote Democrat beyond this campaign ever again. That “younger voter” phenomenon could be very temporary; we note that the Internet is the major unspoken player in the Democratic party currently, and is shilling for Obama openly.
- Further, we understand the Democratic party as a populist party, concerned above all with the people’s will. To that end, even very principled, articulate liberals will make compromises with forces that could turn the party against them. (I think Beyerstein is far too kind to Kos in that review: if I were liberal and feminist, I’d be furious at some of the assertions he makes).
- Finally, there are plenty of liberals who are thoughtful and from whom I learn much. If this argument holds up, and if the Democratic party does end up being split because of this blog entry, it is only just that their voice is represented well somehow. We need to address what the higher interests of liberals are that would move them beyond the Democratic party.
2. You might be asking yourself why it is a good thing to split the Democratic party and, by implication, destroy it once and for all. I honestly think there’s plenty of room for liberals within the Republican party, and if I can get my way and make the Republican party educative, we might end up with a number of Leftists who can articulate arguments from Rousseau or Anais Nin and not have to rely on conspiracy theory or populist rage in order to advance policies that create voter blocs.
You heard me correctly: all this isolationism and blindly catering to unions and paying for abortions and multiculturalism creates unnatural interests in American society. It skews the “grass-roots” the way academia and bureaucrats want (I can’t say “shape,” because more traditional interests – i.e. conservative evangelicals – still exist). I’m not saying people can’t be liberal – I am saying that a considerable number of liberals today lack what might be termed “authenticity.” They’re alienated from having any ideas of their own, they’re alienated from thinking for themselves. However, their “interest,” in the base sense, is worked toward. It’s a herd mentality, and it has to stop, because irony of ironies its greatest victims are Progressives and Leftists who actually have a real interest in Left-leaning policies (i.e. favorable policies for protecting minorities, prison reform, protections for workers, etc).
I’m not promising to cure partisanship. I’ll still disagree with my more liberal friends on everything, and now I’ll even have to deal with them being in my party. It could be really annoying. The only difference is that in what I’m envisioning, there might be a tad more discussion about policy and a lot less screaming and hype.
3. My gamble is that if we can get the voters for Senator Clinton to take umbrage at the game Senator Obama and his camp are playing, the Democratic party will kill itself off. I wouldn’t be making this gamble if there were not just cause for the Democrats to disunite.
The key argument is that DailyKos/Hillary blogger scrap is demonstrative of the fact that one half of the party doesn’t even want to listen to the other half. I think we can all safely say that DailyKos has remade the Democratic party nearly entirely in its own image. But a crucial part of that remaking is that anything that even seems closer to the political “center” has to go.
DailyKos is always extreme – unleashing idiotic passions is the name of the game there – but what should a good, lifelong Democrat do when Senator Obama’s supporters – including some very big name Democrats – have decided to insult all Clinton voters for the mere fact they voted for her? The argument “she should drop out, she’s hurting the party,” pretends that Senator Obama would have enough delegates to secure the nomination should she drop out. Truth be told, if every one of Hillary’s delegates went with her, the Democratic party would have no nominee.
A good half of the Democratic party is saying to the other half that their vote doesn’t matter, not at all. And that “half” seems to consist of people that might not have ever voted except for Barack Obama – in other words, it isn’t clear that these are going to be lifelong Democrats that are committed to the party’s values.
We Republicans can help demolish this stupid party forever (i.e.: one could say it has been a pro-slave, anti-civil rights party that begun its existence formally by trashing the White House to celebrate Inauguration Day) if we work more closely with the traditional Democrats. The way we can do this most effectively is to talk policy: that Colombian trade agreement, which the AFL-CIO opposes and pushed the Democratic congress to oppose, is a great example. The speakers from CATO on C-Span noted that there won’t be a single American job lost because of this agreement: it helps our exports. Furthermore, the Colombian government has worked very hard to minimize violence against trade unionists. There’s every reason unions should be for this trade agreement, and yet they’re against it.
The unwillingness of Senator Obama to talk policy in any concrete terms is what we have to harp on and exploit. Let the Democratic party have their “party:” we’ll be the party that’s serious about education and policy and working through our differences together. In the beginning, the Founders didn’t want parties, and maybe we can go back to a blessed time where politics wasn’t dominated by competition, but rather by deliberation.