So like many folks Andrew Sullivan's article article on Obama back in December made a significant impact on my views of this year's presidential race -- and what was at stake. The notion that we can somehow get past 30 years of culture wars, 16 years of gridlock, and somehow move past the same tired, superficial debates that characterize our presidential campaigns seemed tremendously appealing -- and might even be possible.
But with the anger and spectacle of irate Hillary supporters leaving the DNC Rules & Bylaws meeting or those outside and countless interviews of West Virginian's and Kentuckians, I'm not so sure.
The first supporter from Manhattan (who thought the person asking for her name might be CIA) identified herself first and foremost as a "older American woman" who bitter about the success "inadequate Black male." The raw emotion was shocking, but it should come as no surprise that a party that has assembled a heterogeneous coalition based on identity politics (race, class, gender, sexual orientation) would come undone because of identity politics.
Live by the sword, die by the sword.
(Perhaps a similar argument can be made for the Republicans and Christian fundamentalists, but that is best left for another post)
But this campaign has revealed a number of things about the Democrats. The notion that the Democratic party has a monopoly on diversity and tolerance has been ripped apart not only by YouTube but by the statements of its party leaders. As long has African Americans (and those better educated and those more economically secure and those more religious) supported the "right kind of nominees" it was a big tent, but the tent get's a lot smaller (or at least less full). You see this in the comments of Bill Clinton attacking Moveon.org, when Hillary talks about White Americans (this is code word for how dare Blacks...) or when the "Latte-sipping" Democrats are attacked for being elitist.
With ex-Republican-voters (like myself) supporting Obama, and Boomer Feminists proclaiming their support for McCain, it ought to be an interesting campaign.