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‘Center’? What ‘Center’?

center-collapse.jpg

Thomas Schaller once again steps to the plate and points out something that Republicans and netroots Democrats know but which too many "centrist" Democrats have yet to understand:  There is no center any more.

Before the 2000 recount had concluded, Bush campaign pollster Matt Dowd wrote Karl Rove a game-changing memo in which Mr. Dowd marveled that the center of the American electorate had disappeared. They had expected split-ticket voters to account for about one-quarter of the electorate, but the figure was closer to 6 percent.

Mr. Rove promptly announced he would target for mobilization millions of evangelicals who did not turn out to vote in 2000.

And guess who gave the Republicans that crushing margin of midterm victory in 2002?  Yupper, the evangelicals. 

Schaller continues: 

After the 2006 elections, one might expect Democrats to respond in kind. Their victories were fueled by votes from their base: union families and households, women, nonwhite voters and younger voters.

Indeed, if Democrats are looking for their counterpart to the evangelical vote, they should turn to unmarried women: They are a majority of American women, they will soon be a majority of female voters, and when they vote, they vote overwhelmingly Democratic. But millions remain unregistered.

Instead, wrongheaded Democratic strategists continue to believe "NASCAR dads" or "soccer moms" hold the keys to a future majority.

That sound you hear is me banging my head against the wall. 

You have to wonder:  Why haven't the "centrists" and DLCers and Blue Doggers figured this out?  Is it that hard to get unmarried women to vote?  Do they feel that it's more "manly" to go after the Southern white males, or more "virtuous" to target suburban/exurban white-flight homemakers? 

Do they worry that the GOP/Media Complex will attack them for it? (Which they will — but that's SOP; look at how the press made sure recently that Republican talking-points disseminator Brian Williams "moderated" the first Democratic Presidential debate, and Republican talking-points disseminator Chris Matthews "moderated" the Republican Presidential debate.)

Or are they less interested in seeing the Democrats actually win lasting (and progressive) victories because they get their money from the same corporate donors that fund the Republicans?  Or is it that decades of gaslighting from the GOP/Media Complex have instilled a sort of learned helplessness in them?

If you look at Schaller's facts and figures, and then look at the polls, you see that the smart thing for the "centrist" Blue Dogs, the Steny Hoyers and the DLC types is not to cave to Bush, but to hit him again, harder. (Especially as their increasingly-worried Republican colleagues are now openly discussing breaking with Bush on Iraq.) Instead, they seek to cave.  One has to wonder why.

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