The Moose notes that there is now persuasive evidence that Deaniacs were suffering under the severe delusion that they represented the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party."
A Pew Survey that was released yesterday provides a fascinating portrait of supporters of the Dean campaign. It undercuts all of those self-righteous claims that it was the Deaniacs who were the genuine tribunes of the Democrats battling against those evil forces who would transform the party into "Republican lite". They have about as much in common with the Democratic mainstream as Tom Delay has with Christie Todd Whitman.
The Washington Post summarizes the findings,
"Dean attracted an activist corps that is whiter, wealthier, better educated and far more liberal and secular than Democrats generally or the population at large, according to the Pew Research Center. But the study found that Dean's followers were not, as some reports had suggested, dominated by young people and that he had strong appeal among voters ages 40 to 59."
In short, the Deaniacs were 21st Century McGovernites, and many of them probably helped make him the nominee back in '72. The survey found,
"Looking at the party's future, Dean activists voice strong sentiment for the Democrats to move to the left. Two-thirds (67%) want the Democratic Party to reflect more progressive or liberal positions, while just 13% would prefer a shift to more centrist positions.
"These attitudes contrast sharply with the opinions of both Democratic officials and rank-and-file Democrats. A Gallup poll of Democratic National Committee members (in February 2005) showed that, by more than two-to-one (52%-23%) the DNC members want the party to become more moderate, rather than more liberal. That view is shared by Democrats nationally; in a January survey, Gallup found that 59% of Democrats wanted the party to take a more moderate course."
As expected, the Deaniacs were far more wired than the average American. Their views are reflected in the prominent left wing blogs and those perspectives are probably just as representative of the views of the mainstream of the Democratic Party as they are. That is fine, but they are clearly in no position to speak for the "heart and soul" of the party. For that matter, right wing claims that the Democrats were a band of left-wing crazies were laid to rest by this survey.
At the end of the day, it will take a coalition of lefties and moderates for the Democrats to prevail. But this valuable Pew survey should put an end to the suggestion that the lefties are the ideologically pure representatives of the rank and file of the Democratic Party.
The Moose avers that it takes two wings to fly. --