The Democrats, shrewdly, have sworn off ideological coherence in favor of a more decentralized strategy. In the Deep South, they've run as economic nationalists opposed to the Iraq War, mass immigration, and free trade. In affluent suburbia,
they've run as pragmatic cultural liberals staunchly opposed to the cruel vagaries of the Alternative Minimum Tax. Obama has managed to bridge this still-emerging divide, by drawing on the language of anti-war Midwestern populists as well as the soothing tones of the foreign policy establishment. This balancing act is what makes Obama a political virtuoso. But these divisions and contradictions, similar in some sense to those that divided the Democrats at their political zenith, will prove difficult to manage once something tangible is at stake. If, as looks increasingly likely, increased minority turnout and youth turnout contribute to a sweeping Democratic win, we will see newer generational and cultural tensions that will undoubtedly shape the future of American involvement in Iraq and the welfare state.
At the risk of invoking a "be careful what you wish for" curse, I can only say that I think it would be amazing if Democrats big problem were holding our broad governing coalition together. Here's hoping.