If you truly understand your political enemies, it’s much easier to defeat them. Towards that end, here are the 4 main species of Democrats:
Old School: Although the Democrats have been the party of big government for a long time, much of the party used to be hawkish on defense & to the right of center on many social issues (at least by today’s standards).
Although this wing of the party was once dominant, they started losing traction in the sixties, became a minority in the seventies, were largely limited to the South in the eighties, and are now a dying breed.
If you want to know why the Democratic party has collapsed in the South, it’s because many of the rank and file “Old School” Democrats have gotten disgusted with the more radical elements of the Democratic Party and have switched sides.
Examples: Sam Nunn, Scoop Jackson, Zell Miller.
The DLC Crowd: Some of the members of this group are relatively moderate compared to their brethren in the Party and some of them are just politically savvy enough to understand that they need to compromise to win given the ideological make-up of the country. Whatever the case may be, this group of Democrats is to the left-of-center, but they are willing to sacrifice some of the left’s ideological goals to get back into power.
This group represents a significant portion of Democratic Party, perhaps as large as the next two groups combined, but they are underrepresented in positions of power in the Party because they lack the energy and ability to drive the debate that comes with greater ideological purity.
Examples: Phil Bredesen, Mark Warner, Joe Lieberman.
The Stealth Dems: This is a very liberal group of Democrats, but in an effort to make themselves more palatable to moderate voters, they often take rhetorical positions completely unrelated to their actual stands on the issues. Although they usually can be counted on to vote liberally, they are willing to temporarily make 180% turns on certain issues if they think it will benefit them politically.
Examples: Tom Daschle, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton.
The Radicals: Ideologically, there isn’t necessarily a large gulf between this group and the “Stealth Dems.” The difference is that this group is more open about their views, largely unwilling to compromise on the issues, and particularly strident in their rhetoric. The ranks of the “Radicals” have swelled considerably in recent years because of the uniting power of the internet and because losing tends to radicalize political parties.
Unfortunately for the Democrats, even though this group is politically unappealing and has a knack for alienating large portions of the electorate, they also supply a significant amount of energy and fund-raising for the Party. This often puts “Stealth Dems” and the “DLC crowd” in the awkward position of having to choose between turning off moderates by being too “loud & proud” about their liberalism or turning off the radicals by not being brazen enough.
Examples: Ted Kennedy, Michael Moore, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga.