Continental Divide

Beinart, Peter
October 2003
New Republic;10/27/2003, Vol. 229 Issue 17, p8
Comments on a shift in the balance of power in the Democratic Party. The media often depict the Democratic primary as a battle between liberals and centrists. But those terms don't capture the real divide within the party: between yuppie reformers and working-class party regulars. The campaign's real clash is over domestic policy and the foreign policy distinctions between the leading candidates have actually diminished. John Kerry, Richard Gephardt, and John Edwards--who supported the Iraq war--now denounce it nearly as vehemently as Howard Dean, who did not. Wesley Clark, who was supposed to sharpen the campaign's national security debate, has instead embraced its mushy middle--first saying, a la Kerry, that he would have voted for the Iraq war resolution while opposing the war itself, now saying he opposed the resolution, too. Non-college-educated men have been drifting into the Republican Party. Conversely, a 1998 National Journal study showed that the wealthiest 100 American communities, alienated by the GOP's fiscal irresponsibility and evangelical moralizing, were growing steadily more Democratic. This infusion of wealth into the Democratic Party means candidates with yuppie appeal can raise far more money than they could in the past.


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