POLITICS-Joe Hagan’s cover story peeks inside Hillary Clinton’s proto-campaign, and one of the most interesting things that emerges is the underlying awareness of vulnerability among her supporters. Six months ago, Clinton was a quasi incumbent dominating the field. Today it is finally possible to envision the circumstances that would lead to her defeat. The question before the Clinton campaign is whether she can head off the nearly inevitable liberal challenge.
Peter Beinart recently wrote a long Daily Beast essay predicting the rise of a new left in American politics. The first piece of it described, persuasively, the rise of the millennial generation, which is more liberal than the generations that have come before it. The second piece of the essay described, also persuasively, the likelihood of an economically populist uprising of the Democratic base against the party Establishment.
The flaw in the argument is the hinge between the first and the second. Beinart went from showing that younger Democrats are more liberal than Americans generally to assuming they are more liberal than older Democrats. But there’s no real evidence that’s true. Millenial Democrats are simply more likely than older people to agree with standard Democratic Party liberalism.
That is to say there’s nothing about the millennials that is likely to make them internally change the direction of the party. And, in fact, Bill de Blasio — whose primary victory provided the news hook for Beinart’s argument — received higher support from the old than the young. (Read the rest … including what Chait thinks propels a liberal backlash against Clinton … here)
Vol 11 Issue 78
Pub: Sept 27, 2013