New Media now reshaping politics by revealing that the Democratic Party’s big tent has actually been a circus 3/16/08Posted by Steve Boriss in DemocraticParty.
No one could have predicted the dramatic changes New Media has already brought to our Presidential nomination process, mostly by increasing the number of “channels” of information available on the candidates. On the Republican side, it has starkly revealed that the Party actually consists of a multitude of ideologies, with success hinging on the cooperation of those with three separate ideologies — social conservatives, economic conservatives, and national defense conservatives. By contrast, the Democratic Party has been shown to consist mostly of a multitude of identities — wealthy Whites, youth, union members, Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, gays, and feminists. This creates a special problem for the Democrats that the Republicans don’t have — there are intramural tensions that exist among their identity groups, particularly Blacks vs. Hispanics/Jews, union members vs. Blacks/gays/feminists, and Hispanics vs. gays/feminists. Add to that the natural inclination for each group to prefer one if its own, and the challenge of finding a consensus candidate seems almost insurmountable.
In retrospect, we can see that the Democratic Party’s big tent has really been more of a circus, requiring skilled ringmasters to tame each identities’ passions so they would not attack each other. The template for these ringmasters has been a White, middle-aged male who is soft and compassionate on the outside and a sometimes nasty machine-politician on the inside — think Bill Clinton, George Mitchell, Harry Reid, Dick Gephardt, and Tom Daschle. Those of other identities could hitch themselves to such individuals to enhance their money or power, but were unwelcome in true leadership posts where the visibility they would provide their controversial identity group might inflame other groups.
But, what is the Democratic Party to do now that New Media allows these disparate identity groups to see with their own eyes acts of other groups that they find offensive? Will they feel good about supporting a candidate whose minister spews racist venom from the pulpit each Sunday (video below)? A Speaker of the House whose pride in her district’s diversity extends to an annual parade of perversity — and blasphemy? Or for that matter, a female candidate who fought to discredit members of her own gender who credibly charged her husband with sexual assault and rape? Now you know why this Democratic Primary has become the greatest show on Earth.