Obama and the iDemocrats

By Alan Stewart Carl | Related entries in Barack, Democrats, Liberalism, The World

As Barack Obama continues to attract throngs of supporters and polls keep indicating he will win by a more than comfortable margin, I find myself wondering how much of the Obama phenomenon is simply a massive rejection of President Bush and how much is an honest-to-God shift in our political culture.

On one hand, the Obama campaign is as much a successful marketing effort as anything else – with its on-target branding, flawless stagecraft, massive ad buys, media relations and air of inevitability, this is not just one of the finest political campaigns I’ve witnessed, but one of the finest marketing campaigns of the last decade.

That said, I also think something more profound is going on here. When Obama defeated Hillary Clinton, his victory represented the ascendancy of a new generation of Democrats – international in their mores, savvy with technology and organized in a way the left rarely is. Recently, I serendipitously labeled Obama an iDemocrat. That label seems about right for his core supporters too.

In my admittedly nascent theory, iDemocrats are the left’s version of value voters. Except rather than valuing the ideals of America’s heartland and rural areas, they value the ideals of the coasts and big cities where government interventionalism is high and international-style multiculturalism is prevalent. Sure, they care about the concerns of traditional lunch-pail Democrats but, make no mistake, the iDemocrats aren’t your father’s liberals. They’re not an offshoot of a labor movement. They’re an offshoot of globalization and all the integrations of culture, technology and liberal ideas that represents.

That’s what makes Obama’s presidency potentially more than just a return to New Deal/Great Society liberalism. Obama is a step forward for Democrats. The question is: is the step in the right direction?

What do you think? Am I way off base or is there something to this?


This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 and is filed under Barack, Democrats, Liberalism, The World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Obama and the iDemocrats”

  1. Rich Horton Says:

    “polls keep indicating he will win by a more than comfortable margin,”

    Which polls are those exactly? Three have been released today that show Obama ahead by 5 (Rasmussen), 4 (Zogby) and 3 (GWU/Battleground), hardly political tsunami territory.

    IF Obama wins by such numbers and attempts to rule as if he won by 15 points the most likely result is a world of political hurt.

  2. gerryf Says:

    Why is that? Bush didn’t even win his first election and arguably his second and yet he “ruled” as if he were an absolute dictator.

    And, Obama will likely have a much larger congressional majority.

  3. Rich Horton Says:

    “Why is that? Bush didn’t even win his first election and arguably his second and yet he “ruled” as if he were an absolute dictator.”

    Name one legislative initiative of the Bush years that went through without sizable Democratic support.

    Partriot Act? Nope. Lots of Dems there.

    Resolution on Iraq? Sorry….overwhelming support from Dems there.

    Tax rebate check v. 1.0? Lots of Dems there.

    Tax rebate check v. 2.0? Ditto.

    Child Lef Behind? Hmmm…lots of Democrats there too.

    Current bailout schemes? Hell, Dems support it more than Republicans.

    I’m sorry, but who is this imaginary dictator you refer to?

  4. George Mauer Says:

    Rich, I think we’re talking electoral map here, we all know popular vote counts for nadir..

    Alan, you miiiiight be on to something so here’s caveats, objections and some probably wrong observations from off the top of my head:

    * We’re young. I don’t think my political views will change as I grow older, have kids, get married, etc. But I can’t say for sure and I can’t speak for the rest of us.

    * Our leaders are highly educated yet I’m not convinced that the movement represents necessarily an embracing of the value of education.

    * Whereas values voters have pro-life, gun rights, stem cell research, and ID as their rallying cries, all we’ve got is ‘Change’ which is slowly going to become more and more meaningless (since we will have presumably CHANGE’ed come January). So whats going to be the issues keeping us united? I’m not sure how far an appreciation of a leader’s tech savvy and charisma is going to take people.

    * Finally I have to ask, regardless of what history thought of them 10/20 years on, how many presidents have left office as popular figures? You’ve read all mw’s banging of the divided government drum that I have and while I disagree with him in that I still think Obama’s the way to go I agree that the Democrats in full control will certainly make a mess of many many things and there will be plenty of blame ladled out.

    Also, Lets say Obama makes it 8 years, consider the events that are likely to happen during that same time period: At least for a while a worsening of the recession; the rise of China and India’s economic prevalence; the rise of China and India’s cultural prevalence; a hawkish and aggressive Russia; more terrorist attacks; a worsening of the Iraq/Afghanistan situation; an intensifying of the serious effects of global warming; and at least one major natural disaster. None of these would be Obama or the Democrats’ faults, I tend to think they will address most of these better than GOP in its current state, but you can sure as hell bet there is going to be plenty of finger pointing by the end of which none of us (iDemocrats) will like each other at all.

    So to address your overall theory, yes its a step in the right direction. But I imagine starting half a year from now we will see enthusiasm start to wane rapidly. Obama will probably be re-elected but his prestige will eventually be filed down through fighting with congress and world events in general. He will leave office hated by a few and disliked by many. Then, 4 or 5 years on as history re-evaluates him opinion would start to turn and come 8 years on he will start to be seen as a great leader. Now, with his legacy as their rallying cry Democrats will solidify as a party, much like the GOP in Regan’s wake.

  5. Mike A. Says:

    I agree with some of the points made by Alan. I believe the iDemocrats tend to be more inclusive of race, religion and lifestyles than the traditional Dems may have been. I fully agree with the statement “They’re not an offshoot of a labor movement. They’re an offshoot of globalization and all the integrations of culture, technology and liberal ideas that represents.”

    My belief is that globalization over the last 20 years has not only had an impact on the tangibles such as trade, but also has changed many of our ideas and thoughts. True these changes first take place in large coastal cities due to their higher exposure to globalization, but I don’t believe this can translate to the iDems valuing “the ideals of the coasts and big cities where government interventionalism is high and international-style multiculturalism is prevalent.”

  6. wj Says:

    The residents of the coasts may be more multi-cultural. But there is no way to paint them (in practice) as more pro-government intervention. At most, they differ from the center of the country as to which areas of the economy they want the government to intervene in.

    And as far as I can see, a depressingly large portion (from my point of view) of the population, all across the country, want the government to intervene in social and moral issues. They differ a lot on just what they want the government to intervene in favor of, but the fact of intervention itself is just fine with them.

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