Duck! and Gather

The Inside Story of Democrat Demise?

Posted on: September 30, 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.

6 Responses to "The Inside Story of Democrat Demise?"

Well, we may see the Democrats transform, but it looks like the Republicans may go first. I don’t think they realize the damage they are doing – they cannot just spin their way out of this Foley thing by trying to blame it on Democrats. The way I see it, more than just Foley is to blame (others covered for him, possibly as long as for FIVE YEARS) – this is the Republicans’ version of what happened to the Catholic church a while ago, and it’s going to be long term damage. I think the spin they are doing is only digging them deeper and deeper, and anyone who is a parent will not forgive the people involved – ever. People like Hastert should have stepped down immediately, but instead, it’s a clear and shameless attempt to hang onto power. I forget the individual’s name – but using kids as a shield while on a press conference? Shameless.

And the comparisons to Clinton that some are making just aren’t flying. Clinton can’t be blamed for everything, and the Republicans and their noise machine just look stupid when they try.

I think the Democrats are also having a transformation, but as a reaction to this, maybe some of them will grow a spine and start laying out their values and backing them up rather than striving to be Republican-lite.

Anyway, it’s interesting times when Republicans are backing a Democrat like Lieberman – just a few years ago Republican spinmeisters used his name to come up with SoreLoserman when contesting the 2000 election.

Reasonable analysis, Sean. I agree the Republicans seem quite dysfuctional. But stepping back, I see the Republicans coming to a natural but short-term end of their thrusting into the front of American politics. As I mentioned in my prediction that the Republicans will lose in 2008, we are living during the first 4-year stretch of Republican dominance of American politics (ie. president, senate, plus house) in over 70 years. I see those jokers just taking a back seat for the next 70 years.

But I see the Democrats going through an ephocal downshift.

I think I’ll do another posting to explain why this is. ie. Why the Republicans are just going through a periodical downturn, while Democrats are about to implode.

I, for one, believe the conflict between Democrats and Republicans is all for show. To quote Dave McGowan: “There is no such thing as a Democratic agenda and a Republican agenda – there is only the agenda, and the only debate is over how rapidly that agenda can be implemented while still maintaining the illusion of democracy.”

As for the Foley thing… It is likely engineered and released just in time to distract people from HR 6166–which is quite possibly the end of all legal public political dissent in America. Not that many people actually pay attention to what Congress is doing in our names…

A friend of mine puts it into perspective on his blog…

Andy, like Sean’s comment, yours is so interesting I’m to write a posting about this. Thanks!

[…] In a posting below, commenter Andy pointed to HR 6166, a bill in Congress that, on its face, seems to threaten the civil liberty of all Americans. Looking at a bullet point list of the bill’s highlights, it certainly seems that Congress may be quite interested in granting the President imperial powers. In other words, they’re about to do exactly what the Founders feared most: they’re about to make the President King. […]

[…] With the Democrats taking back the House last night, and achieving at least parity in the Senate, it would appear my Democrat demise prediction seems even more far-fetched this morning. Certainly, the implosion dynamic I described a few postings ago in the wake of a Democrat washout last night ain’t gonna happen now. So maybe I should just eat crow this morning, and concede this prediction as faulty. […]

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