A COMMON THREAD: I want to briefly mention a topic that's been bouncing around in my brain for a while. I think it was brought to the forefront by something I heard on the radio today, but I'm not sure.
In a country with a parlimentary system of government, the Democratic Party would be five or six seperate parties. Because of our electoral system these disparate factions have banded into one party, and there are a few important threads that tie them all together. What do labor unions, NOW, environmentalists, urban blacks, Hollywood stars, teachers' unions, welfare mothers, and all the rest have in common? Well, the most obvious answer is that they all benefit greatly from big government and think that it's better for everyone if the elite have the power to tell you how to run your life. Longing for a big, powerful, unlimited government that can usher in Utopia is the major platform that all these groups stand on; only slightly beneath the surface is the desire to profit off this concentration of power, to use the government as leverage to attain wealth and easy living.
More subtle, though, is the issue of abortion-on-demand. There are/were many Democrat politicians who used to be pro-life (such as Al Gore, Dick Gephardt, Ed Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Jesse Jackson, to name only a few) but who have since changed their position. Why is that? The fact of the matter is that no Democrat will get political support from the party apparatus these days if he/she is not stridently pro-abortion. Ideological diversity is unacceptable to the people who value other arbitrary/involuntary forms of diversity above all else.
Abortion is the hidden tie that binds. I'm not exactly sure why, though. Most blacks and hispanics (who largely identify themselves with the Democrats) aren't knee-jerk pro-choicers, so what's the deal with the party? I guess the party elites just know better than the plebes do, and they're intent on pushing their own agenda. It hurts the party politically, however, and I suspect that many of the minority voters that they count on are going to wake up sooner or later.