WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The other night when I watched the Democratic presidential candidates participate in what they presumed to call a "debate," I wondered anew about the failure of one of my political coinages to catch on. The debate was sponsored by CNN and what is called YouTube, which is essentially an agglutination of home videos filmed for and by that preposterous mass of shut-ins who sit in their underwear day and night glued to the Internet. More than a dozen of these sad sacks filmed their mainly ignorant questions, and a CNN talking head then directed the inquiries to those Democrats who aspire to the responsibilities of a Roosevelt or a Kennedy. The questions bespoke the questioners' gloom or indignation or narcissism or infantile stupidity, and occasionally all of the above. Not one of the questioners struck me as a normal American.
The "debate" brought to mind the 2004 presidential race, when the Democrats catered mainly to the kind of patheticos that now apparently gravitate to YouTube. Obviously, the Democrats will cater to them again. Now I am sure that there are millions of Democrats who are normal Americans: hardworking, cheerful, can-do types. When one of their greatest political leaders intoned his famous line about America only having "to fear fear itself," such Democrats -- and Republicans, too -- took heart and rolled up their sleeves, even in an economic depression.
Today we are living through almost three decades of hardly broken economic boom. The products we buy and often rely on would be considered by earlier Americans luxuries or miracles or both. Our health has never been better. Racism and intolerance are in decline. What was lamented 30 years ago as "the urban crisis" has been replaced by peaceful prosperous cities.
Yet there are still these sullen, angry, self-absorbed citizens carping with their Democratic presidential candidates, as though they were living in 1968. Not one candidate corrected them. Every one attempted to propitiate them. Some, for instance Sen. Hillary Clinton, just riled them up. Who are these misfits?
That brings me to my coinage of a few years back. In 2004, the Democratic presidential candidates were courting the same bellyachers. They seemed to comprise a core component of the Democratic electorate. I called them the "moron vote." For some reason the term did not catch on. Maybe it will this time.