Eric Alterman announces he’s through with politicians, but goes on to highlight a key issue for 2004: whether the election will be won among the party faithful or in a battle for the middle.
In a dinner last month with bloggers Jonas, Phil and Josh, I mentioned that the question of electability boiled down to three things: money, organization, and commitment. If a candidate has more money, stronger organization and more passionate supporters, then I think he is per se electable. I also mentioned that I’m hearing from more insiders that the race isn’t about the “swing” vote this time around, but whether the candidate can motivate their base to show up and vote.
And Alterman’s starting to look at the issue from that perspective — you’ve got the pundits on one side arguing that it’s all about the middle, while folks like Alterman (not to mention campaign insiders from several camps) are suggesting that the middle might be pretty tiny.
In fact, I got a review copy of Stanley Greenberg’s The Two Americas over the weekend, and I can’t wait to dive in. In effect, he posits that the country is every bit as divided as it was in 2000, and if anything the polarization has increased. (Sidenote: I watched The War Room the other night, where Greenberg has a minor role as Clinton’s pollster during the ’92 campaign. It’s fascinating to see how these guys are able to distill the numbers to figure out what it says.)
Most interesting for me are the labels Greengberg creates to describe the Republican partisans and the Democratic partisans, including terms like the “Fuck You Boys” and “Fuck You Old Men” (both of whom vote Republican), with “Black Power” and “Super Educated Women” making up some of the most staunchly Democratic blocs.
(For what now seems to me to be an accurate representation of these pollster-invented demographics, see my review of Neal Stephenson’s Interface. Hysterical.)
There will be more on this subject, no doubt.