DEMS IN DIXIE
At the blog Booman Tribune, "BooMan" disagrees with Jamelle Bouie's argument that a Democratic resurgence in the South is dependent on minority voters ("Gone With the 2010 Win"): "Southern Democrats can't sit around and wait for demographic changes to turn the South brown enough that they can win elections without white votes. They have to go aggressively after the white voter. The 'centrist' strategy worked for a while, but the 2010 elections cut the Blue Dog Caucus in half. And it is doubtful that they can win those seats back using the old strategies. Democrats need to figure out a way to finance their campaigns that doesn't involve getting in bed with New York bankers and the Chamber of Commerce. If money were no object, it's obvious what the Democrats would do. They'd draw a sharp contrast to the Republicans on pocketbook issues and become true champions of the Southern working man. With nothing left to lose, they should go ahead and do this anyway. If they follow Bouie's advice, the racial divide between the parties will just get worse, and the Republicans will respond by doing their best to set up Jim Crow-style obstacles to Latino voter registration."
And at the Happening Here blog, Jan also agrees that getting at least some white voters on board will be key to Democratic victories in the South: "The experience here in California offers an additional qualification. The state that gave the nation Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan (sorry about that) has become a complete Democratic bastion thanks to the racially tinged efforts of Republicans to keep people of color down via racist measures in the 1990s. These days, in this state where no racial group is a majority, an electoral coalition consisting of people of color and a minority of whites reliably gives all state offices to Democrats. But note: this coalition wouldn't work if some 40 percent of white voters hadn't stuck with the Dems. So the question arises in the states of the Old South: can Democrats win any such percentage of white voters? I think we can reliably project a move toward Democrats in Texas and Arizona (and reinforced Democratic strength in Colorado and Nevada). But the core Old South may work out differently, even as it experiences the same demographic shifts."
WHAT'S IN A MOVEMENT?
Blogger and activist Matt Browner Hamlin is less optimistic than Vivien Labaton and Gara LaMarche ("Why Movements Matter") are about the progressive movement now emerging in the states. On his blog, Hold Fast, Hamlin writes: "On the one hand, I strongly agree with the identification of pro -- worker, pro-fair taxation, and pro-immigrant rights movements as pointing in the direction of a meaningful broader progressive movement. However, I don't think contemporaneous outpourings of anger against the attacks on workers, austerity, tax cuts for the rich, and demonization of immigrants [are] sufficient to say there actually is a resurgent progressive movement. These responses are signs that there is an untapped potential. But it's too disparate and disjointed. Leaders matter, and so far I don't see any elected officials, religious leaders, activists, or union leaders stepping up to make this case in a way that is penetrating national consciousness or even the different populist movement threads that need to be woven together."
From the Executive Editor
Bibi Netanyahu has come and gone from Congress, leaving behind him what amounts to a commitment to maintain the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in perpetuity. George Mitchell, in the absence of any progress toward an Israeli-Palestinian accord, has resigned as President Barack Obama's Mideast negotiator. And the Palestinians, as Gershom Gorenberg reports in this issue, having lost all hope of a negotiated settlement, are seeking a United Nations declaration of Palestinian statehood that will at least accomplish -- well, something. Meeting with young Palestinian entrepreneurs, old Fatah functionaries, intransigent Israeli settlers, and political leaders who can't figure what it will take to end the occupation, Gorenberg shows us a proto-Palestine emboldened by the convulsions in Cairo, hemmed in by the cantonization of the West Bank, seeking to move toward statehood, and finding itself blocked at every turn.
Elsewhere in this issue, Chris Mooney analyzes the migration of scientists, academics, and empiricism itself into the Democratic Party. The Democrats, he demonstrates, have become the more reality-based party -- but that has not enabled them to win either their arguments with Republicans or the allegiance of American voters.
We also feature a special report on the War Within
the States, chronicling the efforts to decimate public
services -- and the fights to preserve them -- in Wisconsin,
Florida, New York, and Connecticut and providing a
look at how progressives have successfully defended the public sector in Colorado and Massachusetts.
Palestine thwarted, government defended, and empiricism dropped in the Democrats' lap (but what can they do with it?) in this month's Prospect. -- Harold Meyerson