Duck! and Gather

Archive for September 30th, 2006

Just read an article in the New York Times Magazine entitled “The Inside Agitator.” The story is about how Howard Dean, the chaiman of the Democratic National Committee, is working to decentralize the concentrated power structure of the Democratic Party. The article describes the powerful forces inside the party agitating against Dean in this effort of his.

Should the Democrats fail to take back either the House or Senate this November, the article says that party insiders will blame Dean. I read this, and together with a couple of other things I recently read, now can see the sudden way in which the Democratic Party could implode.

First, before this NYT Magazine piece, I read a 1992 paper by Dan Sullivan entitled “Greens and Libertarians: The yin and yang of our political future.” It’s a well written, thought-provoking piece on a topic that, as you can probably tell, piques my interest.

One thing Sullivan describes is the way that the Whig Party collapsed in the mid-1800s, and found itself replaced by the new Republican Party. Sullivan writes:

It should be noted that the Republicans were a coalition of several minor parties with seemingly differing agendas, including the Abolitionist Party, the Free-Soil Party, the American (or Know-Nothing) Party, disaffected northern Democrats, and most of the members of the dying Whig Party.

“A colation of several minor parties …”. Hmmm. Interesting. Maybe the same thing could play out with a Democrat Demise. Perhaps it will play out something like this:

Come November, the Democrats fail to take back the House and fail on the Senate as well. The party insiders blame Dean for the losses and take action to remove him. This infuriates the local small-guy Democratic party officials who love Dean (read the NYT article), as well as the young-ish “netroots” Democrats and the Boomer version of netroots known as Progressive Democrats of America. These disaffected Democrats bolt the party and join with Greens and Libertarians, and maybe even some paleocon Republicans, to form a powerful new Long Tail-championing political party, thus eviscerating the moribund and useless Democratic Party.

Hey, an analogous thing happened over the course of five or so years in the 1850s to the Whigs. Today, with life moving at Internet speed, this could all happen in a matter of months, well in advance of the 2008 elections.

Unlikely scenario, to be sure. But not impossible either.

for the money has gone too far

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September 2006