Upscale Starbucks

Here’s how a Starbucks should be:

Heavy velvet curtains, indie movie nights, single-origin coffees, wine and beer, mouth-watering organic pastries and gourmet cheese and meat plates — this is Starbucks?

Well, sort of. It’s Roy Street Coffee & Tea by Starbucks Corp, the result of Chief Executive Howard Schultz directing his store designers to break the mold and build a neighborhood coffee house from scratch.

Unfortunately this is only being done in two test stores in Washington inspired from Italian cafes:

CEO Schultz took the inspiration for Starbucks from Italy’s cafes, which offer espresso-based drinks and alcoholic beverages ranging from beer to wine to grappa. Starbucks has never embraced alcohol sales in the U.S. or abroad — but it has tested sales of such “adult beverages”.

There’s no word that they will be doing this at your neighborhood Starbucks.

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I Drank Starbucks in 2007

The silly story of the day is the report that Joe Wilson took caffeine pills in 2007. I doubt anyone finds this more meaningful than hearing that someone drinks several cups of coffee a day. Steve M. notes that it was written by a conservative and has a theory:

So why did he write this story? Is it a false flag operation — a clumsy attempt by an ideological soul mate to change the subject from Wilson’s outburst and to make Wilson appear to be the victim of journalistic malpractice, which can then be blamed on liberals?

If so, Allahpundit, along with other conservative bloggers, is falling for it (or playing along). He writes, “We’ve reached a very, very dark point.”

(I previously wrote about Joe Wilson and heckling the president here.)

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Two Real Human X-Men Found: Mutants With Extraordinary Ability

The New York Times reports on a gene mutation which has given two humans an extraordinary power–the ability to survive with less sleep. Ying-Hui Fu, co-author of the study, is looking for benefits which might arise from this mutation:

Dr. Fu said her “fantasy” was that the finding might eventually lead to a safe treatment for people who wanted or needed more awake hours and were looking for a way to get by on less sleep without harming their health.

There is no word as to whether the two mutants who were discovered will receive training from Professor Xaviar to use their powers for the benefit of humanity. If nothing else, they might make great medical residents if they can really survive without much sleep.

So far there has not been panic seen in the general public over the news of mutants living among us but some executives at Starbucks are nervous over the prospect of humanity being genetically engineered to require less sleep.

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Coffee Shops Restricting Use of Free WiFi

When travelling I always find it helpful when there’s a nearby coffee shop or other establishment which provides free WiFi. This is often how I check the moderation que to let comments through and catch up on the news. Others tend to spend even longer periods of time taking advantage of WiFi but The Wall Street Journal reports that this is becoming more difficult:

Amid the economic downturn, there are fewer places in New York to plug in computers. As idle workers fill coffee-shop tables — nursing a single cup, if that, and surfing the Web for hours — and as shop owners struggle to stay in business, a decade-old love affair between coffee shops and laptop-wielding customers is fading. In some places, customers just get cold looks, but in a growing number of small coffee shops, firm restrictions on laptop use have been imposed and electric outlets have been locked. The laptop backlash may predate the recession, but the recession clearly has accelerated it.

“You don’t want to discourage it, it’s a wonderful tradition,” says Naidre’s owner Janice Pullicino, 53 years old. A former partner in a computer-graphics business, Ms. Pullicino insists she loves technology and hates to limit its use. But when she realized that people with laptops were taking up seats and driving away the more lucrative lunch crowd, she put up the sign. Last fall, she covered up some of the outlets, describing that as a “cost-cutting measure” to save electricity.

So far, this appears to be largely a New York phenomenon, though San Francisco’s Coffee Bar does now put out signs when the shop is crowded asking laptop users to share tables and make space for other customers.

Some coffee shops say they still welcome laptop users, if only because they make the stores look busy. For some, the growing number of laptop-carrying customers with time on their hands is reason to expand. “I had to add more outlets and higher speed” in early June, says Sebastian Simsch, 40, the co-owner of Seattle Coffee Works. Starbucks Corp. coffee houses, which in some cases charge for Wi-Fi, and bookstore chain Borders Group Inc., which always charges for Wi-Fi, don’t have any plans to change their treatment of laptop customers. Neither does bookstore giant Barnes & Noble Inc., where the Wi-Fi is complimentary.

But in New York, the trend is accelerating among independents. At Cocoa Bar locations in Brooklyn and on the Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a five-month-old rule forbids laptops after 8 on Friday and Saturday nights. At Espresso 77 in Jackson Heights, Queens, owners covered three of five electric outlets six months ago after its loosely enforced laptop-use restrictions failed to encourage turnover. At two of three Café Grumpy locations — one in Brooklyn and the other in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood — laptops are never welcome.

At least this shouldn’t interfere much with my typically brief use of WiFi when traveling, but it will make things more difficult for those who use coffee shops as a free office. I was also happy to receive the email from Barnes & Noble a few days ago saying they were changing their policy to provide free access to WiFi. This accompanies their recent attempts to sell ebooks to compete with Amazon’s Kindle. It only makes sense that if they want customers to download books to view with their new software that they allow free access to the internet in their stores.

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Starbucks vs. McDonald’s

While Matthew Yglesias’ predictions regarding taxation discussed in the previous post are reasonable, he sure does not understand the life style of affluent liberals.  He reviewed a study from the Pew Research Center which looked at whether Americans “would rather live in a neighborhood with more McDonald’s or more Starbucks.” The results:

Americans manage to typecast themselves by just about every demographic and ideological characteristic under the sun; overall, more Americans choose McDonalds (43%) over Starbucks (35%), but the split is more pronounced — and rather predictable — when analyzed demographically. Liberals want coffee; conservatives choose burgers. Younger Americans vote for caffeine; older Americans decidedly pick the value menu. When one controls for all the factors tested, the variables that do the most to explain whether someone chooses Starbucks over McDonalds are: having a college degree, having a high income, being a liberal, being a Westerner and being a woman.

Matthew responds:

But as someone who fits firmly into the Starbucks demographic, I can’t help but wonder what people are thinking. At the end of the day, if you want some coffee and there’s a McDonald’s nearby but no Starbucks, you can go to the McDonald’s and get some coffee. It’s not the same range of selection, and I do like Starbucks coffee more, but McDonald’s is a reasonably close substitute. By contrast, there’s no french fries at Starbucks. There’s no burger at Starbucks. No nuggets. No ice cream. And nothing that even vaguely resembles any of that stuff. It’s an assymetrical relationship where McDonald’s can imperfectly substitute for Starbucks but Starbucks can’t substitute for McDonald’s at all. And these days they both have WiFi. But McDonald’s has delicious Diet Coke and other sodas.

Long story short, the yuppies of America need to get real.

He fails to understand the tremendous differences between the Starbucks and McDonald’s experience. I ran this by a sample which was small but readily available–my wife and daughter. Both quickly voted for Starbucks. Actually my daughter’s reaction was the typical reaction of teenagers who think that adults don’t know what they are talking about. She thought the very question was ridiculous with only one plausible answer.

Of course this is a very biased sample. I suspect that my wife and daughter are responsible for the bulk of the profits at the nearest Starbucks. Ever since my daughter got her own car it has become common for one to go to Starbucks and be told by the baristas (who all know them both) that the other had just passed through.

Sure McDonald’s has more food choices, but I would very rarely actually eat at a McDonald’s. Some afluent liberals might eat there from time to time out of convenience but they could easily live without the McDonald’s. My wife will even drive through McDonald’s occasionally for a diet coke (which she does believe is better than that available elsewhere) but she would never give up a Starbucks for a McDonald’s coke. We would not use either Starbucks or McDonald’s as a primary place to get food, but have relied upon the limited food selection at Starbucks far more often than going to a McDonald’s.

People go to Starbucks for the experience, not just the coffee. We will go with other couples to a Starbucks after having dinner out with friends, but would never go to a McDonald’s for coffee after dinner. My wife will meet friends at Starbucks but would never do this at a McDonald’s. My daughter will even sit with friends and do homework at Starbucks but I can guarantee she would not be caught dead hanging out at a McDonald’s.

Incidentally, Matthew’s post is not the first time I’ve encountered people on line who did not understand the importance of the experience. While Starbucks is far preferable to McDonald’s, often I prefer to go to local coffee places which often have both better coffee and a better ambiance.

Last year while in South Beach (Miami Beach) we quickly found that coffee was available in the lobby at our resort and found a nearby Starbucks. While there were also many nearby restaurants and bars, we were unable to find any places we would like to go for coffee other than our lobby or the Starbucks. I did what I will usually do when wandering around a strange city–ask ChaCha.

ChaCha is a free service which researches questions submitted by cell phone and sends a text message with the answer. Generally they are very helpful, but this time I did not receive a response until the next day. They totally struck out on this one. I asked for coffee places near Lowe’s resort in South Beach other than Starbucks, hoping for a cozy place we could go at breakfast time or in the evening. The answer received was a Dunkin’ Donuts in Fort Lauderdale–hardly what we had in mind. Apparently people in South Beach hang out on the beach during the day and then at the clubs at night with far less interest in coffee places than we have in the colder midwestern cities.

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Must You Be Out Of Touch With Reality To Be An Economic Conservative?

The answer to the question, of course, is no but you certainly have to look beyond some right wing writings to appreciate this. Yesterday I quoted Will Wilkinson’s views on libertarians and liberals. Wilkinson belongs to the growing number of people who have liberal views on social and civil liberties issues along with free market views on the economy. This group ranges from fiscally conservative liberals to libertarians such as Wilkinson who reject the conservatism of many libertarians who have seen Republicans as their natural allies.

The current left/right divide is now primarily over social issues, civil liberties, and one’s position on the Iraq war, with economic issues no longer providing a clear delineation between left and right. The left/right continuum has increasingly become based upon two parameters: support for liberty on the left in contrast to the authoritarianism of the right and support for science, reason, and a reality-based view of the world on the left versus the reactionary opposition to modernity, science, and reason from the right. This division can be seen in Robert Stacy McCain’sresponse to Wilkinson’s views on liberal/libertarian fusionism:

Most of the Will Wilkinson types are intellectuals who are embarrassed by what Hunter S. Thompson called the “Rotarian” instincts of the Republican Party. That flag-waving God-mom-and-apple-pie stuff just doesn’t light a fire under the American intellectual class, which is not now, nor has it ever been, enamored of religion, patriotism and “family values.”

As a political impulse, the sort of libertarianism that scoffs at creationism and traditional marriage wields limited influence, because it appeals chiefly to a dissenting sect of the intelligentsia. It’s a sort of free-market heresy of progressivism, with no significant popular following nor any real prospect of gaining one, because most Ordinary Americans who strongly believe in economic freedom are deeply traditionalist. And most anti-traditionalists — the feminists, the gay militants, the “world peace” utopians — are deeply committed to the statist economic vision of the Democratic Party.

In expressing this belief in creationism, McCain already demonstrates a limited ability  to either think rationally or to coherently comment on the issues of a twenty-first century world. The degree to which he is out of touch with reality also comes from the manner in which his views of liberals comes from a Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity promoted stereotype as opposed to anything which exists in the real world.

The typical liberal is just as likely as most conservatives (and more likely than Rush Limbaugh) to be in a traditional marriage, go to work every day, and abstain from drug use. The difference between liberals and social conservatives is not as much life style as the toleration of other life styles. Many of us live a basically conservative life style but do not feel the drive seen among conservatives to use the power of the state to impose their life style and personal choices upon others.

Fortunately it is not necessary to hold these irrational views to be a supporter of the free market. Of course McCain might view this differently as, despite their rhetoric, the economic policies backed by the right often have little to do free market principles. Republicans have given us wage and price controls under Richard Nixon, Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force, The K-Street Project, and the Bush deficit. As Wilkinson noted, “the great success of the GOP over the last eight years has been to destroy the reputation of free markets and limited government by deploying its rhetoric and then doing the opposite.”

The other difference between free market liberals and the flat-earthers of the right is a willingness to consider facts as opposed to making decisions based upon a perverse combination of extremist ideology and hyper-partisanship. While the extremists might see the free market as something which exists in a pure state of nature with perfect regulation by Adam Smith’s invisible hand, most people realize that markets work because of a certain degree of necessary regulation. While many of us would philosophically prefer to see a minimum amount of government involvement in the economy, we also recognize that there are certain functions which the market does not handle well, and that there are certain times when more drastic action is necessary to avert disaster.

McCain also sees a combination of liberal and libertarian beliefs as having little prospect for electoral success. A discussion of which views are right and which views can win elections are two different things, but McCain is also wrong here. There is a growing number of people under variety of labels who fit this description. In the past they were sometimes called liberal Republicans until the Republicans drove them out of the party. More recently they were called Starbucks Republicans or South Park Republicans until they began to vote Democratic.

Obama’s victory was an example of the emergence of socially liberal and economically conservative or pragmatic voters as we had a significant impact in both the Democratic primaries and the general election. All of us affluentwine and latte drinking liberals who enjoy and understand the virtues of the free market are still around despite all the opposition from both the Clintonistas and Palinistas. Our views may or may not win in future elections, but we have become a force to counter both the views of the big-government elements of the left and the authoritarian right.

In a two party system there is a wide range of voters supporting a major party candidate, but many of us were attracted to Obama based upon the combination of his social views along with the Chicago school influences on his economic beliefs. Of course rabid right wingers who repeat the Limbaugh/Hannity line that Obama is a far leftist or even a socialist are too out of touch with reality to see this.

In their desperate fight against modernity and thier clutching to beliefs such as creationism they are missing how America is changing. The current economic crisis might accelerate such changes as the country increasingly becomes divided between the productive cities dominated by educated liberals and the Republicans become a primarily regional party of the south and Mormon belt dominated by those who are intellectually unprepared to live in the modern world.

Update: McCain responds here. I would normally respond to his post, but a discussion such as this was well beyond anything his world view could handle. He has nothing of substance to say in response to any of the actual points.  It is just another example of how many on the far right are not able to handle the issues of the twenty-first century and  lack of understanding of respecting the rights of others. This probably explains why the attacks on liberals from this element of the right are nothing but repetitions of Limbaugh/Hannity stereotypes. They have no ability to even understand the beliefs of others. Instead, as seen a previous time when McCain replied to one of my posts, his world view is limited to trying to figure out what God wants and then imposing this view upon others. Such a limited world view hardly leaves one capable  of giving a coherent response to this post.

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Democrats, Independents, and Values

Earlier I noted a study from The Cook Political Report which found that education has become the most significant predictor of party identity. In the recent past others have found that religious adherence was the strongest predictor, with those who attend religious services multiple times a week being more likely to vote Republican. In contrast, those who attended once a week or less were more likely to vote Democratic. Marc Ambinder has reviewed some data which is  influenced by the older religion-based division between the parties to examine the 2008 election.

Throughout the election (along with my analysis of the 2006 elections) I have been arguing that the major trend has been for voters including the young, affluent, and more educated to become disenchanted with the Republican Party. In the past I’ve discussed this in terms of groups such as Starbucks Republicans and South Park Republicans abandoning the GOP to vote Democratic.

These trends have been due to Republican support for the Iraq  war and social conservatism, their adoption of McCarthyist tactics and the anti-intellecutalism seen in conservative talk radio and Sarah Palin, and the general Republican incompetence in governing. This fueled an independent movement which both helped remove the Republicans from office and helped Obama beat the Clintonistas. I have warned in several posts that the success of the Democrats has been fueled largely by opposition to the Republicans as opposed to actual support for the Democratic Party. The data reviewed by Ambinder both shows the trend towards identification with the Democratic Party and towards independents:

More voters identify with the Democratic Party today; Democrats, even after the election, maintain a nine point lead in terms of party identification. For voters under 30, the trend is striking: the party ID lead is 20 points for Democrats. Additionally, a running sample of battleground state voters sureyed from 2004 through 2008 shows a slow but pronounced migration from Republican to Democrat. Of the 11 percent of voters who were new to electorate, 62% of them were under 30, and they identify as Democrats by a margin of two to one — about more new voters under 30 identify as independents as they do Republicans.

Under normal circumstances I would not be certain that the Democrats would remain in power for long as many have failed to learn the lessons of 1994. The Democrats do have the ability to blow their current advantage. Fortunately for them, the Republicans, at least at the moment, seem intent upon committing political suicide by trying to become even more conservative and backing candidates such as Sarah Palin. By continuing to back policies which are intolerable to most educated voters, the Republicans fail to offer a viable alternative even if we should be unhappy with the return of Democratic rule.

Back in 1994 I hoped for the Republicans to take control of Congress in response to the disaster of HillaryCare and to provide greater checks an balances upon the Executive Branch, but that turned into a fiasco. I would certainly not make that mistake again, and I doubt many of the new Democratic voters who helped elect Obama will make that mistake after witnessing the Republicans in recent years.

If the Democrats do over-reach and lose the backing of their new supporters, I would not be a bit surprised if the reaction turns out to be support for a third party effort as the Republicans have made themselves so toxic. Developing a viable third party is far more difficult than for swing voters to bring the opposition party back into power, so perhaps the Democrats do have considerable breathing room. Perhaps the major division will be between the new Democrats who backed Obama and the old line Democrats leading Congress, with disputes such as what we are seeing over the economic stimulus plan becoming more common.

There is a second point in Marc Ambinder’s post which is of significance to Liberal Values. The name for this blog was chosen partially in response to the absurd conventional wisdom during the Bush years that being a values voter meant voting Republican and accepting their warped values system. Liberals as much as conservatives, and often more so, hold to a set of values.

Ambinder bases his post on an interview with Cornell Belcher who worked for Howard Dean and for the Obama campaign. He writes:

Belcher makes a distinction between “faith” voters and “values” voters, writing that “[t]hose
who place a high importance on faith in their voting choices still swing heavily Republican. But although nearly all faith voters (93 percent) are also values voters, the reverse is not necessarily true. Only half (53 percent) of values voters agree that religious faith was a very important influence in their voting choices. In short, many voters see their values as being about more than solely their religious faith.”

Republicans made the mistake of thinking that they could adopt the values of the religious right without losing the support of younger and more educated voters. Now will the Democrats truly defend the liberal values which led many new voters to support them?

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Starbucks Big Winner on Election Day

Latte liberals might be expected to stop by Starbucks on election day, but more people than usual visited. Starbucks offered free coffee on election day, and probably made a profit on the deal. Advertisng Age reports:

John Moore, a former Starbucks marketer, estimated that between 12% and 15% of customers are drip-coffee drinkers, and that each of the company’s 7,100 locations serves about 800 people a day. Those figures would set a conservative giveaway estimate at 568,000. Starbucks’ cost per cup is about 30¢, according to several executives familiar with the matter, which would put the cost of the giveaway at about $170,000.

Muffin with that?
However, about one in every five or six Starbucks customers buys food, executives said. If that held true during the giveaway, and each of those people spent even $2, the company could have made money on the promotion. Starbucks has said 75% of its sales are beverages sold in-store, and most of the remaining 25% are food sold in-store.

An executive familiar with the matter estimated the “Saturday Night Live” spot could have cost as much as $350,000. But the value of coverage relating to the giveaway — from The Wall Street Journal, CNBC and Newsweek, to name a few — as well as rampant blog chatter likely superseded the chain’s investment. Many of those organizations, including the Journal, posted the Starbucks commercial along with their stories.

The giveaway tactic also boosted the company’s buzz rating, according to Brand Index. Starbucks’ positive buzz rating jumped from 25% on Oct. 31 to 51% on Nov. 5. “This was a strong and well-timed promotion,” said Ted Marzilli, senior VP-brand group at Brand Index parent YouGovPolimetrix, in an e-mail. “There has been huge interest in this election (as measured by the voter turnout) and likely a lot of positive word-of-mouth, particularly given that the promotion ran on Election Day (a workday), when many people could spread the word to their colleagues.”

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A Politically Safer Cappuccino

Coffee has come up in a number of posts over the years, including where one obtains their coffee. I’ve often recommended single cup coffee makers, such as my Tassimo. Besides making a variety of kinds of coffee, including types four from Starbucks, it makes tea, hot chocolate, and espresso. Not being a dedicated espresso machine, the espresso might not be up to the standards of those who drink it straight, but it is certainly good enough to make a cappuccino.

Being able to easily make a cappuccino at home has a number of benefits. It is certainly less expensive than paying for one at Starbucks. John McCain might not care about the cost, but if he had a Tassimo he could have saved himself the embarrassment of this news item:

A nine-car motorcade took him to a nearby Starbucks early in the morning, where he ordered a large cappuccino. McCain otherwise avoided reporters.

I’ve always thought the who talk about Obama supporters who drink lattes as being elitists was rather silly. Going out to Starbucks in a nine-car motorade from one of your eight or more houses definatley sounds elitist, regardless of what you drink.

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Unity Among Democrats or Realignment?

Despite all the protests seen from the most rabid Clinton supporters, most likely after the final primaries are over Hillary Clinton will realize that further fighting is futile and will accept a dignified settlement from the Obama campaign and begin unifying the party.

To partisan Democrats that is the only rational outcome. To an independent such as myself, this is the most probable outcome. It is also the most realistic outcome to home for if the Democrats are going to defeat John McCain. As I hope to see the defeat of any supporter of the Iraq war (including both McCain and Clinton) as well as the defeat of any social conservative (again including both McCain and Clinton), unity between the diverse Democratic factions appears to be the desirable goal in the short run.

This isn’t the only possible result. I discount the claims of Clinton supporters that they will vote for McCain. The videos I posted earlier with such claims are a product of both the passions of the moment and of the tendency of both the media and internet to report the most controversial and extreme views. Still, the fact remains that both parties contain diverse groups which are unified more out of political expediency than common views. Congressional votes deliberately organized to fall along party lines often provides a false sense of two unified parties when candidates are evaluated based upon their voting records as opposed to core beliefs.

The divisions among the Republicans, ranging from near-libertarian to the religious right, are far more obvious, but similar divisions exist among the Democrats. This division is increased with the trend, started before the 2006 elections and greatly accelerated by support for Obama, for independents and moderate Republicans (such as the Starbucks Republicans) to vote Democratic. While older (and often bitter) Democrats have tried to cling to the New Deal coalition, losing election after election in the process, younger voters working in the information age have a different view of government. Many of us independents voting Democratic are more interested in matters such as government reform, changing our disastrous foreign policy, stopping both the Iraq war and the drug war, increasing civil liberties, and strengthening the wall of separation between church and state. We have no love for “tax and spend” liberalism of recent years. This is quite different from the big government, nanny state views of Clinton and her supporters.

The Obama campaign has walked a fine line to present policies which will most likely be backed by both factions of the Democratic Party. While Obama seeks a more inclusive party, the Clinton camp has written off the views of Obama’s supporters and declared us to be a band of elitists. In many ways the Clinton supporters would be much more at home with the party of George W. Bush, Richard Milhouse Nixon, and Sprio T. Agnew. While Barack Obama has been compared to John F. Kennedy, the Clinton supporters remind me more of Spiro Agnew who condemned liberals as an “effete corps of impudent snobs.” The Clintonists might have come up with such a line if not for their anti-intellectualism which prevents them from expressing their views as well as the right wing, even when their views coincide.

While I believe the most likely outcome, for better or for worse ,is that the Democrats will become reunited, Cernig has presented a plausible alternative:

It seems to me that the schizophrenic nature of the Democratic Party may finally resolve itself. There’s a good chance that the right wing of the party will follow the Clintons into GOP-land. They always were “compassionate conservatives” and that’s probably where they belong. The Dems could end up looking a lot more like a European social democrat party as a result and if so the GOP will most likely fracture in its turn too. The far right won’t be able to call the shots quite so much, with what will then be a massively enhanced left wing of the Republicans able to steamroller them, and they’ll head for the exits to form a new hard right bunch of God-bothering, xenophobic helicopter-chasers. That way lies their consignment to history as a part of a ruling coalition, although they’ll be able to exert pressure from the finges. It’s probably the most positive role they could possibly play. Likewise, on the other flank of the main two, I think we’ll come to see democratic socialists and greens providing pressure from smaller but still influential partries on specific issues. The GOP will be left looking far more like a European conservative party.

If we don’t see Clintonista defections in droves, then it will be because the Republican hard right is just too odious for them to contemplate making common cause with. That will have pretty much the same efect, since in that case the GOP leadership is going to have to engineer a move leftwards just to recapture that party’s electability. The same fallout would then ensue as the hard right will still decamp following such a move and the Dem tent now has so many holes in it that a lot of those further left than right of the Dem center are likely to look to other parties to support so that they don’t have to relive the feuds of this primary season. Their trust that the Clinton camp has roughly the same aims as they do has been seriously eroded.

Either way, then, I think change is coming. The US has been further Right than the international mean for decades now, mainly due to the interplay of power centers in both the main parties rather than any intrinsic rightwingedness in the nation as a whole – but the adjustment has to come sometime.

I’ve often stated that I do not vote for the Democratic Party when they nominate conservative populists such as Hillary Clinton and, if not for the fact that it would mean electoral defeat when the Democrats do have a liberal candidate such as Barack Obama, would not mind if they left the party. I have much more in common with the diminishing type of Republican who is moderate on social issues and stresses civil liberties as opposed to social conservatism and support for the war. There are both those such as myself who currently lean towards the Democrats as well as many disenchanted Republicans who would prefer a realignment in the parties. Such a desire is also expressed by Mark at Publius Endures:

The Clintonites now threaten to pick their ball up and go home if their candidate is not the nominee. Obama supporters should not have a problem with this- the Clintonites are as illiberal as could be and are an anchor that weighs down any claim that the Dem Party is a force for good in this country, as I explained here. Instead, the Obama campaign and the remnants of the Dem party should start looking at reforming their coalition- let the Republicans be the party of authoritarians. In the process, the Republicans will lose a pretty good number of their own members, who either vote for Bob Barr (like me) or for Obama, with whom they will have more in common than McCain and the Clintons.

Most likely the Democrats will reunite and the same divisions will persist. Our greatest hope is actually not that the party will fracture at this moment but that the new voters will change the nature of the Democratic Party for the better. Demographics favor this outcome as the views of the younger voters will have dominance over those of the older Democratic voters as long as they turn out to vote as they have in the primaries.

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