Salena Zito
As both political parties consider how to gain the fickle support of Tea Party activists and independent voters in the 2010 midterm elections, another increasingly dissatisfied tribe exists for both to lure: Hillary Democrats.

No other candidate has captured their frustration better than U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Democrat trying to take out one-time Republican U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in the state’s May primary.

A campaign web-ad for Sestak shows real Democrats who voted for Obama, set in a stark black-and-white backdrop, voicing their collective dissatisfaction with the president’s support of Specter: “That's not change we can believe in."

It is exactly how prickly voters across the spectrum feel about this administration’s choices. Yet it is particularly telling when Democrats go in-your-face with it.

Last week a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey showed 59 percent of voters dissatisfied with the way democracy is working in this country, leaving just 40 percent satisfied. In a country basically split 50/50, you could wager that at least some dissatisfied Democrats are in that mix.

Sean Hannity FREE

Enter the Hillary voters – the ones everyone feared would not show up for the 2008 general election but who did.

When Clinton began her quest to become the Democrats’ nominee in 2008, she was the establishment, insider, elitist candidate. The presumptive nominee, if you will.

Obama was this annoying guy, bored after just one year with the constraints of the U.S. Senate and taking a long-shot at making history – the anti-establishment candidate.

He went to Iowa, went populist, earned the love of leftist activists at time-consuming caucuses who felt unrepresented by Washington élites, and won.

Hillary got her game back in New Hampshire with more skeptical independent-thinking voters but fell down in a string of caucus primaries. All of a sudden, Obama possessed the elite mantel, had the super-delegates (mostly Washington insiders and party élites) and the caucus voters (mostly proud intellectual, leftist activists).

In a stroke of pure political irony, Clinton switched gears and became the darling of populist Democrats: From February through June, she won nearly each successive primary and, eventually, the party’s popular vote.


Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.