The Democratic Party is imploding, one political commentator says. That means "bursting inward." If only it were true. If only the elements on the party's perimeter were moving together toward the center. The fact is, the opposite is happening. The party is exploding, with segments bursting off in opposite directions. The conservatives are moving right and the liberals are moving left.
Over last weekend, the right-of-center elements in the party -- the Democratic Leadership Council -- met in Cleveland to discuss abandoning certain positions long associated with the party. The leaders of the DLC are especially concerned about Democrats being known as the party of quotas, the party of the poor and the party of the dependent. Meanwhile, in Des Moines, liberal members of the Coalition for Democratic Values convened to fight back. Or, as Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin put it, "To fire a warning shot across the bow of those who want to lead us in a Republican direction."
Yet that is exactly what the Democratic Party needs to do -- move in the direction of the Republican Party.
After all, the Republican Party has won five of the last six elections -- in large part because it has been attracting many traditional Democrats to its candidates and platforms. The trick for the Democrats is to go just far enough in the Republican direction to win back those voters, without going so far as to be on the same course as the Republicans.