[T]he number ... has roughly doubled over the last six years... Can this bizarrely self-defeating brand of politics continue? Over the long-term, are liberal Democrats likely to keep denouncing corporate plutocrats as stridently as they denounce foreign policy hawks and religious scolds?In the old days, poorer people voted Democratic and richer folks went for the Republicans. But, per Scheiber, the 60s shook up that stability, and plenty of poorer people shifted to the Republicans and a lot of upper income types became Democrats. But are they "Cesar Chavez-style liberals" or "New Democrats"?
A 1999 Pew study found that New Democrats accounted for about 10 percent of the voting public--and just under one-quarter of the Democratic coalition--making them equivalent in number to liberals. According to Pew, the New Democrats were sympathetic to business, somewhat skeptical of government assistance to the poor, and relatively supportive of trade liberalization, capital gains tax cuts, and Social Security privatization. On the other hand, they tended to have a favorable view of government in general and were open to some regulation. They were also pro-environment and tolerant of gays.Scheiber has a Bush-did-it theory that seems all garbled to me. He doesn't mention 9/11, which is clearly "an interesting thing" that "happened between 1999 and 2005." I think Pew would have counted me as a New Democrat in 1999, and I've certainly felt that the Democratic party has redefined itself in a way that has actively ousted me. We just saw them ousting Joe Lieberman. History has forefronted national security questions, and the Democrats are closing ranks and eliminating the "liberal hawk" category. It's no suprise that if you do that what remains is a high concentration of "economic populists." Call it what it is. It's the Left.
But an interesting thing happened between 1999 and 2005, when Pew conducted another detailed analysis of the electorate: The New Democrats had entirely disappeared as a group while the liberals had doubled in size.