Where are the grassroots of the Left?

Richard Fernandez notes that grassroots conservatives have mobilized, what with all of the Tea Parties and the surge of political activism. But where are the grassroots leftists, the ones that raised all of that money and that did all of that organization for Barack Obama during his campaign? We learn that those grassroot organizations have been subsumed into the official Democratic party apparatus. They are directed from the top. Whereas the conservative groups are directed from below, to the point of defying the Republican party when necessary.

Similarly, in yesterday’s elections, the young people and minorities who surged to the polling places to elect Barack Obama just didn’t turn out in big numbers. Social conservatives, though, did.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Jonathan

    Maybe the astroturf really is more durable.

  • Jonathan

    Maybe the astroturf really is more durable.

  • Rose

    The zeal for Obama’s election was a mix of two factors: 1. racial pride by black voters 2. expiation by some white voters for the sins of their fathers. It would be well if we could move on and examine a candidate’s records and policies in the future.

  • Rose

    The zeal for Obama’s election was a mix of two factors: 1. racial pride by black voters 2. expiation by some white voters for the sins of their fathers. It would be well if we could move on and examine a candidate’s records and policies in the future.

  • Tom Hering

    Rose @#2, I can’t remember feeling a single moment of “white guilt” before the election. My zeal, and the zeal of every white Obama supporter I know, was to elect a president who would be the opposite of George W. Bush. On specific issues. Not including slavery.

  • Tom Hering

    Rose @#2, I can’t remember feeling a single moment of “white guilt” before the election. My zeal, and the zeal of every white Obama supporter I know, was to elect a president who would be the opposite of George W. Bush. On specific issues. Not including slavery.

  • Bruce Gee

    I find it fascinating that elections aren’t won by a real measure of the will of the people, but by the measure of who feels like voting on any particular day.

  • Bruce Gee

    I find it fascinating that elections aren’t won by a real measure of the will of the people, but by the measure of who feels like voting on any particular day.

  • DonS

    The funny thing is that the Democratic party really has become the party of the rich. They have all of the huge donors and far fewer small donors than the Republicans. It’s a stratification of the white elite, unions, and the poorer minority population which makes up the modern Democratic party. A recent USA Today article discussed this trend, where Democrats now represent the richest districts: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-10-13-House-wealth-gap-Democrats-richest-districts_N.htm

    Also, if I recall correctly, the average wealth of Democratic congressional representatives is far higher than that of Republican representatives, particularly in the Senate.

  • DonS

    The funny thing is that the Democratic party really has become the party of the rich. They have all of the huge donors and far fewer small donors than the Republicans. It’s a stratification of the white elite, unions, and the poorer minority population which makes up the modern Democratic party. A recent USA Today article discussed this trend, where Democrats now represent the richest districts: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-10-13-House-wealth-gap-Democrats-richest-districts_N.htm

    Also, if I recall correctly, the average wealth of Democratic congressional representatives is far higher than that of Republican representatives, particularly in the Senate.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    It is easier to mobilise people against something (primarily), than for something (primarily). The spectre of GWB & Cheney, with Mc Cain as their continuation, was one easily used by the said grassroots organisations. Saying you are for change, is more saying that you are against the status quo. If the chant was for specified change (other than electing a black president), the momentum would have been less. Now, the dissapearing federal billions can act as mobiliser for those on the right.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    It is easier to mobilise people against something (primarily), than for something (primarily). The spectre of GWB & Cheney, with Mc Cain as their continuation, was one easily used by the said grassroots organisations. Saying you are for change, is more saying that you are against the status quo. If the chant was for specified change (other than electing a black president), the momentum would have been less. Now, the dissapearing federal billions can act as mobiliser for those on the right.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Grassroots of the left? Maybe Soros, Huffington, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and the New York Times?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Grassroots of the left? Maybe Soros, Huffington, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and the New York Times?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bruce, Bruce, Bruce (@4), what nonsense is this: “elections aren’t won by a real measure of the will of the people, but by the measure of who feels like voting on any particular day”?

    Must I quote Rush lyrics at you? Must I? I must: If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

    The problem you seem to have is that the will of so many people is to not care, or to let those who do care make the decisions for the rest of them. And that is their right. But let’s be clear: on Election Day, everyone is expressing their will.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bruce, Bruce, Bruce (@4), what nonsense is this: “elections aren’t won by a real measure of the will of the people, but by the measure of who feels like voting on any particular day”?

    Must I quote Rush lyrics at you? Must I? I must: If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

    The problem you seem to have is that the will of so many people is to not care, or to let those who do care make the decisions for the rest of them. And that is their right. But let’s be clear: on Election Day, everyone is expressing their will.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I don’t understand the surprise in the main question here. As Scylding notes (@6), such movements are almost always opposition movements, so you would expect conservative/Republican groups to be louder and more active now (and … they are). It’s all part of the pendulum that is American politics. Back and forth, back and forth.

    And while I’m not terribly familiar with them, it wouldn’t surprise me that people who honed their teeth at lower levels doing activism have been “mainstreamed” into the national party apparatus. That’s a pretty time-honored tradition, no?

    Of course, I’ve read articles in which the left-wing groups still exert pressure on the Democrats in office — if not criticize them outright — on things like Afghanistan, the public option, and so on.

    But the claim that the conservative groups — apparently all of them — “are directed from below” while liberal ones are “directed from the top” seems a bit thin. What about FreedomWorks, the conservative group led by Dick Armey? What about Glenn Beck and Fox News’ coverage?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I don’t understand the surprise in the main question here. As Scylding notes (@6), such movements are almost always opposition movements, so you would expect conservative/Republican groups to be louder and more active now (and … they are). It’s all part of the pendulum that is American politics. Back and forth, back and forth.

    And while I’m not terribly familiar with them, it wouldn’t surprise me that people who honed their teeth at lower levels doing activism have been “mainstreamed” into the national party apparatus. That’s a pretty time-honored tradition, no?

    Of course, I’ve read articles in which the left-wing groups still exert pressure on the Democrats in office — if not criticize them outright — on things like Afghanistan, the public option, and so on.

    But the claim that the conservative groups — apparently all of them — “are directed from below” while liberal ones are “directed from the top” seems a bit thin. What about FreedomWorks, the conservative group led by Dick Armey? What about Glenn Beck and Fox News’ coverage?

  • Dan Kempin

    Todd, #8,

    And now a quote from RUSH.

    For the rest of the day I’m calling you butter, ’cause you’re on a roll.

  • Dan Kempin

    Todd, #8,

    And now a quote from RUSH.

    For the rest of the day I’m calling you butter, ’cause you’re on a roll.


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