The Republican Party is roiling with internal conflicts, say the analysts. The tea party is confronting the establishment. The noninterventionists are at war (forgive the expression) with the interventionists. The libertarians would like the party to endorse same-sex marriage.
Fair enough. These conflicts will play out during the primaries in 2016, and we'll discover whether they are serious fault lines or merely squabbles.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party, supposedly the firm fortress of the middle class, minorities and women, is actually showing some internal stresses as well. Little fissures are snaking through the crust, perhaps reflecting tectonic movement beneath.
The president's approval rating has been tumbling downhill. Obamacare, the poor economy and now also foreign policy are considered weaknesses. A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that 58 percent disapprove of his handling of foreign affairs. Nearly twice as many Americans believe the economy will worsen in the coming year as say it will improve. The Institute of Politics at Harvard reports that among voters between the ages of 18 and 39, 57 percent disapprove of Obamacare. By a 2-1 margin, voters under 30 believe that the quality of their care will get worse as a result of the law.
The grand alliance of minority groups, young voters, public employee unions and women that propelled President Barack Obama to two comfortable victories may be fraying.
Though the Democrats encourage the fiction that members of their coalition have the same interests, this is not the case. Children, especially black and Hispanic children, have an interest in school choice and charter schools. The teachers unions have an interest in preventing reform of the public schools.
Asian-Americans have an interest in eliminating racial quotas in education, as quotas tend to set ceilings, rather than floors, on their acceptance to college. Black and Hispanics think (though it's a matter of vigorous dispute) that their interests are served by maintaining racial quotas. (Count me among the doubters: Proposition 209 in California, the 1996 referendum that outlawed racial preferences, actually increased the number of black and Hispanic graduates at the University of California.)
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