Mild-mannered Kevin Drum (now writing for the insanely-moderate Washington Monthly) has linked to a wonkish yet fluffy article which bemoans America’s increasing partisanship and suggests some nice bipartisan reasons for it. (One of the reasons was people becoming more partisan in a heavily partisan environment just to fit in).
The viciousness that has won the Republicans a lot of elections during the last decade or so is not mentioned, of course, nor is the stolen 2000 Presidential election.
Here’s my slightly-edited comment, which was a response to a poster named Carl:
Carl is right. The article didn’t mention people becoming LESS partisan (perhaps by making remarks about “pandering to the core constituency”) in order to be accepted. I mean the various counter-intuitive, DLC Democrats — for example, the leadership of the Democratic Party.
While I have been harsh in the past about the wimpiness of the Democratic leaders, I now grudgingly admit that to a degree it is a reasonable response to a situation in which you are not the majority party and you have to work with the majority to get anything done, combined with the fact that a considerable proportion of the Dems are personally half-Republican and will cave in a showdown.
But Democratic leadership should be thinking a lot harder of ways to take back the majority, rather than resigning themselves to minority status. Their main leadership strategy that I’ve seen is to wait for the Republicans to move even further right so that the Dems can pick up “moderate” Republicans of the McCain type (thus moving further right themselves.)
I am also convinced that Peretz and a number of other significant voices in the party (i.e., his stable of punks) are much more intent on destroying the left wing of the party than they are in putting the Democrats in power.
The partisanship seen on the left is mostly anger at the 2000 election and the generally vicious trend of the Republicans, especially over the last decade. In other words, Democratic partisanship is a belated response to vicious Republican partisanship (a response which is replacing the DLC “submissive wetting” strategy).
Some of the demographic and other wonk explanations in the article might be partly true, but overall I think that it is fundamentally misleading.
The more partisan the Democrats get, and the more partisan Democrats there are, the happier I’ll be. The two-party system only works if there are plenty of partisans, as the Republicans very well know. We have to learn to play the game the way it’s played.