The idea that the President has “alienated” or “lost” his base by the deal he struck with Congressional Republicans would be disturbing, because no politician or political party likes to “shatter a base,” or blithely ignore it. So why would President Obama do that, then? For a very simple reason, one that escapes many in the media – and most definitely escapes the professional Left: They are not the base.
In other words, looking at membership in various organizations or the number of people belonging to one of the “true progressive” blogs amount to a very small fraction of the Democratic Party. Well, that’s just me doing some seat of the pants math, right? Obviously, these people are speaking for a much larger group, right? Well, not according to a recent poll:
- Blacks: 90% approve/6% disapprove
- Democrats: 82/12
- Liberals: 79/16
- Latinos: 56/33
- Post grads: 56/41
- UPDATE: 18-29: 53/38
- UPDATE 2: NBC’s Ana Maria Arumi notes that in the 2010 midterm exit polls, voters 18-29 said they approved of the president’s job by a 62/38 margin, which is close to how they voted in 2008 — 66/32
- Women: 52/43
- 18-34: 49/43
Or a new poll which shows solid support for the compromise:
[66% of Americans say they support extending the tax cuts for all Americans for two years, including 52% of Democrats and 67% of Independents.]
For a “shattered base” this is remarkably strong and solid support for the President.
I think the point here is not to suggest that Obama should cater to centrists or moderates, but that the progressive movement needs to do more to make the base of the Democratic Party into progressives.