The 2006 election revealed Republicans are still in favor with white evangelical Christians, rural voters and the South — obviously, there is a huge overlap of these groups.The point is, voters recognized that there is no room in the Republican Party for any but wingnuts, the ideologues of questionable competence.
This is not a realistic base on which to construct a revival of the party whose leaders bragged a few years ago of a permanent Republican majority. Yet, having built loyalty among conservative Christians, the party cannot ignore them as it tries to moderate its appeal. Rove's strategy has turned on him and his party.
This is a poser for Republicans. How do they broaden their base without "betraying" the Radical Right core group?
It is also the problem for the Democrats. How to accept all the factions, who deserve representation, without getting bogged down or trying to be all things to all people.
It is a problem for progressives. Some of the major problems the country and the world face do not lend themselves to compromise, or even gradualism.
The election was a week ago Tuesday. The best analysis -- the NYT and Robert Borosage of Campaign for America's Future -- was over by Thursday. Borosage said, among other things:
With this election, Republican dreams of consolidating a governing majority for a conservative era have run aground, shattered against the hard shoals of a reality that conservatives simply got wrong.Since Thursday, from what I've seen, it's been mostly the spinning of the narrative. It seems to be very important which version of the story is bought. I'm not clear why that is important. Every faction will have their own version, and they will all have to be re-spun after the next political event.
Before this election, Americans had already turned against the signature conservative initiatives of the Bush administration and the DeLay Congress . the pre-emptive war in Iraq, the trickledown economic agenda, the privatization of Social Security and the right-wing social agenda as reflected in Schiavo and stem cell research. In this election, Republican incumbents struggled to survive an angry electorate looking for a change.
Perhaps mine is a narrative, too. If it is it's very simple:
Voters realized that there is no room in the Republican Party for anyone but the wingnuts and the corporate godfathers who manipulate them. The Dan Evans moderates do not have a home in this Republican Party. Voters also realized that a countervailing force is necessary, and they bought that the Democrats could be this force. Thus, no great splinter party action.
What that means for the GOP: They have to do a better job suppressing turnout. The Electorate no longer trusts them, which is a very bad thing for a party. It's going to be hard.
What that means for the Democrats: Old line party people who have been holding the fort will want leadership and power. People who represent new constituencies will want power. The entrenched corporate interests will begin to co-opt whoever they can.
What that means for Progressives: Progressives are just mainstream America who got there first. The Progressive agenda is founded on reality. Yes, it is inspired by principles and informed by logic and common sense, but its great strength is that it is a direct look at reality with a minimum of parochial slant.
It means that Progressives have to be very clear on who their political adversaries really are. The main political adversary of Progressives (and the planet) is the corporate aristocracy. This is also the true constituency of the Bush clan. I am not talking about business, or even the majority of corporations. Democrats have been good for business, because spreading prosperity around is good for business.
In this respect Progressives have a lot in common with some of the incoming Democrats who may be social conservatives or Blue Dogs, but who have populist agendas. "Populist" in this election has meant for anti-corporate.
Progressives need action. Democrats need action. The people who voted us in want action. Part of that action is getting people in there who can demonstrate competence and integrity, much of which will have to wait until the Executive changes in two years.
Integrity and forward motion are fundamental to a continued majority.
The "First 100 hours" package is a start. The end to American presence in Iraq is next -- with the McGovern mileposts included. Health Care could be next. Very soon we have to engage the issues of environmental degradation of with an effort of the scale and commitment of a war.
Get something done and there will be enough influence for everybody in the Democratic Party. Not getting something done means all positions and power will be illusory.