Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Kos Democrats

Charles Johnson notes that the first link on the AARP's Social Security blog is to Daily Kos.

Immediately following the 2004 election, I was talking to a friend who's a Democratic activist and I told him that in order for the Dems to become competitive nationally, they'd have to jettison the Kos-Moore wing of the party. My friend insisted it was impossible because the Kos-Moore wing is the Democratic party. The ascension of Howard Dean and this AARP link to Kos now suggest that my friend was correct.

But I'm still not buying it. If you'll remember, Howard Dean was the future of the Democratic party for almost a year--until he got clocked 70 to 18 percent in the Iowa caucuses. (The 70 percent was the combined total of the two establishment candidates, Kerry and Edwards.)

In politics, you can do a whole lot with smoke and mirrors. You can puff up movements and people, making them seem bigger than they really are. But elections strip away all of the hype and reduce illusions to brutal, numerical truth.

We've already seen the Kos Democrats puff themselves up once. We've seen them looking invincible. And then the election came, and it turned out there was no there there. Now the cycle has started again. I won't be surprised if, after the next national election, we find out that the Kos Democrats are still running about 50 points behind centrist Democrats even in their own primaries.

And when that happens, Democrats will kick themselves for being suckered into the hype, again. Peter Beinart has his work cut out for him.


Anonymous said...

The Kossacks will stay a part of the party because they have borught it a lot of energy. It is irrelevant how liberal or over the top they are. They bring in dollars and volunteers. Look the repukes still have the hardscrabble Baptists (not equating the two). Both parties run to the sides in the primaries and to the center in the general.

The interesting thing about Kos and Dean, is that in the past, the Repukes had the grassroots to themselves (small donors, direct mail, etc.) Dean and Kos showed how to use the net to connect to some of the college kids.

James Wigderson said...

I think Kerry, Dean and Kos are closer than you think. I remember the John Kerry of the 1980s and he was no "establishment" candidate. I think many of the Democrats in Iowa remembered the same guy. I think the Democrat Party has finally joined its left-wing and will only be pulled leftward from here for at least two more election cycles.

AnarchAngel said...

It's not so much that the Dean/Kos group IS the party, but as your anonymous psoter said, they do have all the energy.

I will go one further. The radical wing of the party, are really the only ACTIVE component of the party. The rest of the party are concentrated solely on maintaining what hold they have, and obstructing Bush.

The Radicals are actually attempting to do something (albeit something bad), and this is what captures the imagination, garners press, and draws money. Fighting a rear guard action is unglamorous, messy, and expensive.

Honestly, I think the party is in a death spiral at this point. They have been generally defeated, or at the very least lost ground, six elections in a row. They are desperate, and they have no real purpose but to defend "the new deal" and "the great society", 70, and 40 some years old respectively.

A party centered on nothing but holding ground will not bring in new support, and their older support is fading, or even literally dying out. They have already lost most of the blue collar vote, and would have lost the entire group were it not for the organized labor unions, who represent an ever smaller percentage of the population.

The only major organized, or semi-organized constituencies Democrats have left are blacks, teachers, government workers, and current recipients of welfare or social security.

To put it mildly this is not an election winning group.