The Influence of the Netroots

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David Brooks takes after the Netroots in his column today in the New York Times, arguing that Hillary Clinton’s commanding position in the primary proves that the internet-driven hordes on the left are not nearly so influential in the Democratic Party as we all thought. Clintonism and the DLC still hold sway over the party, he says, and still provide the only blueprint for a Democrat to win a national election — i.e., by embracing the center. He points to the fact that in polls on DailyKos, Hillary badly trails her two top competitors (as well as Al Gore) even as she has an expanding lead in every national and most state polls. Brooks’ thesis graf:

Now it’s evident that if you want to understand the future of the Democratic Party you can learn almost nothing from the bloggers, billionaires and activists on the left who make up the β€œnetroots.” You can learn most of what you need to know by paying attention to two different groups β€” high school educated women in the Midwest, and the old Clinton establishment in Washington.

Brooks is right that the Clintons, both Hillary and Bill, are far more popular within the broader Democratic Party than they are with the slice represented by Netroots activists. But does the fact that Hillary is the most centrist/conservative of the Democratic contenders mean that the party as a whole is much more centrist/conservative than the Netroots?

You tell me.