New Left Review: THE DEMOCRATS AFTER NOVEMBER (2006)
The article is from the beginning of 2007, but its so long and involved that I doubt you’ve read it. Do so now and wonder if it isn’t predictable, given how Democrats have borne out the predictions so far, that they won’t nominate a pro-war candidate in 2008?
The Democrats, as Thomas Edsall frequently points out these days, represent two very different and largely incompatible population universes. Two out of five Democratic voters fit the stereotype of ‘well-educated, well-off, culturally liberal professionals’, but the rest of the party’s base are people who are ‘socially and economically disadvantaged’ in the new Gilded Age: the Black and Latino working classes, white women in lower-end information-sector jobs, and white men in traditional but rapidly shrinking industrial occupations.  The post-New Deal Party led by the Clintons is entirely mobilized to articulate and defend the interests of affluent knowledge workers and the globalized industries in which they work; the rest of the Democrats ride in the back of the bus on the cynical assumption that Blacks, immigrants and Rustbelt whites have nowhere else to go and thus are an automatic blue vote.
The Democrats find themselves on the other side of 1968, with Vietnam on the neck of the other guy.
Bush’s huge mistakes have handed the Democrats a gift in the return of the “George Wallace” Democrats to the party of their fathers. Not all of them, mind, just the less racially intemperate. White, authoritarian, populist, pro-military, pro-government and largely Southern, they are xemplified by ex-Reagan Admin official and current Democratic Senator from Virginia, James Webb. Webb practices a brand of racial politics, intellectualing the history of the Scotch-Irish (Reverend Ian Paisley’s people) into tales of a great race of yeoman-warriors. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz makes an alternative, but related geneology of the Okies.
The article does not mention that, without a strong peace candidate in 2008, progressive voters really will not have anywhere to go. The result could be a rerun of the 1992 election, where a Democrat gets in on expectations borne of nothing more than a desire for change, then enacts a program of whatever corporate neoliberal policies the successful candidate can repackage as reform. To say nothing of the war.