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February 07, 2008

New TomDispatch


A New Moment?
The Grassroots and the Party, 1964 and 2008

By Laura Flanders

The swirl of the primary season is intoxicating and the media love it. If the ratings records set by the recent political debates are any indication, the ongoing primary battle may yet save cable TV. "Super Tuesday" -- the night that was supposed to wrap everything up -- didn't (for either party). Clearly, this extended nomination contest is getting people excited, but will that excitement translate into substantive change -- for Democrats in particular? The past offers some hard-knocks lessons worth thinking about...

The chance to be seen and heard in more than just a handful of quirky early-primary states has already made a striking difference for the Illinois Senator, who was the clear underdog when he entered the race. "What was a whisper has turned into a chorus," Obama told his hometown crowd in Chicago on Tuesday night.

But a whisper, many would like to know, of what? For more than thirty years, Democratic voters like those pouring out of their homes to get involved this primary season have doggedly trooped to their polling places with no expectation of having an actual impact...

For Democratic base-dwellers, in normal times there was only one party season when anyone wanted to hear from them -- this one. Primaries are the one period in the election cycle when contenders suddenly seek to curry favor with the Party's most activist -- and progressive -- part. That's one reason a primary season this long is significant; but, for those voters, will it make any difference at the level of policy? The most positive answer is perhaps.

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at February 7, 2008 08:06 PM

Nice example here of the Iron Law of Institutions:

in the 1980s, when Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition showed that massive numbers of new Democratic voters could indeed be activated with just a little attention to the base, the Party's major donors refused to fund such an effort (allegedly for fear that any massive voter-registration drive would only push the Party into Jackson's hands).

Better we should lose than let those people win.

Posted by: SteveB at February 8, 2008 08:09 AM

Eh Laura Flanders is a another dumb c***, but who tries to look like a tough girl instead of trying to look like a college professor. And good call, Tuesday settled nothing for either party? Well, it sure looks like it decided the R contest. And if the primaries stretch out, maybe Clinton or Obama will listen to the fruitloop wing of the party i.e. you folks? Yeah, and maybe he/she will appoint Dennis as Sec'y of State. And Cornel West as Councilor (so he say inane shit like in the Matrix movie. Man, that's another dumb bunny, Puff Corny is the name I coined for him after hearing a few painfully bad snippets of his rap album).

Posted by: xyz at February 8, 2008 11:59 AM


Eh Laura Flanders is a another dumb c***, but who tries to look like a tough girl instead of trying to look like a college professor.

"Rosamund's father has quickly become ensnared by Mr. Shabby's extraordinary personal magnetism."

Posted by: at February 8, 2008 12:22 PM