Every week, the friend who sent me the Obama letter joins me to check in on how we think this long running Democratic presidential primary is going. He's long believed Obama could win. For the first time, after the Potomac primaries, I was willing to say that his guy had evened the race, overcoming Clinton's potent structural advantages. Now, after Wisconsin, I am willing to believe that Obama could win the nomination.
So who makes up Obama's coalition, anyway? I've written before about the emerging electoral coalition that I think promises long term Democratic success. This is an identity-based coalition rooted in the communities of color that provide the nation's low wage workers and that also attracts a majority of white women, with relatively smaller participation from white men. It is not clear that this exists yet anywhere, but its potential can be glimpsed in California; our Democrats win behind this sort of base. Obama certainly didn't start out owning to this coalition-in-the-process-of-formation. But in each recent victory, he has come closer.
Today Digby riffed off a Wall Street Journal article that highlighted the racism and sexism of working class white male Democrats. Yes, the story does neatly purvey a stereotypically Wall Street Journal frame. But Digby's characterization of the contemporary relationship of the Democratic party to these white men rings true:
Over at Open Left, Chris Bowers has been looking at who joined up as Obama's core activists. He concludes that Obama is riding an insurgent coalition of the neglected.
This rings true -- when campaigns consist of candidates hustling big donors for cash to run endless, focus group-inspired TV ads in battleground states, most everyone feels left out of their own democracy. Progressives are sick of being told they have nowhere else to go. People of color are sick of being patronized and ignored. Democrats in states where Republicans usually win want a piece of the action. Obama provides a vehicle for the pissed off.
One of Bowers' commenters offered a realistic appraisal in the midst of the Obama wave.
My emphasis. It always does come back to us.