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 â€“ 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 Iâ€™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 â€“ 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 leftâ€™s version of value voters. Except rather than valuing the ideals of Americaâ€™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 arenâ€™t your fatherâ€™s liberals. Theyâ€™re not an offshoot of a labor movement. Theyâ€™re an offshoot of globalization and all the integrations of culture, technology and liberal ideas that represents.
Thatâ€™s what makes Obamaâ€™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?