Joe Lieberman Loses Senate Primary.
US domestic politics ceased to grip my attention some time ago. I enthusiastically followed the 2004 election, but was rather disappointed by the outcome. Obviously that disappointment along with a natural lull resulting from lack of any serious "action" played a part in ending any serious interest on my side.
More importantly, however, a growing sense of cynicism about the existing political setups in the democratic world is beginning to shape my thinking. (I am not implying that I doubt the correctness of democracy as a means of governance. I do not.) I am more and more of the opinion that power and privilege, overwhelmingly, are the only determining factors - with money playing a big role in defining power and privilege. Hence my doubts about enthusiastically supporting one side of this elaborate drama over the other. Anyway, more on this some other time.
Having written this, I must quickly add that my disillusionment is not complete and I still have firm likes and dislikes among the political actors, and I can still be animated by these preferences. As I was today with the Senate primary in Connecticut.
Joe Lieberman, once the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, is holding the Senate seat, and in normal circumstances he would be the obvious choice for running again November. But in a very refreshing deviation from a largely rigid script of political norms, the Democratic party voters turned up in large numbers (close to 50% showed up, apparently a very large turn-out for Senate primaries) and defeated Lieberman, albeit in a very narrow contest. What makes this rather sweet is the fact that the aggressively anti-war stance of the victor, Ned Lamont, proved popular.
However, I would refrain from any sweeping conclusions about the directional change in the Democratic party, the increasingly effective role of bloggers and online activists in shaping the outcomes of elections etc. What happened in a very liberal state like Connecticut can not be taken to imply anything about the larger scene. Further, with Lieberman running as an independent, the Democrats might actually lose this seat. Either one of them can probably win the seat easily, but together they will split the Democratic vote - more or less evenly if tonight's result is any guide. So all this might actually end up hurting the Democrats.
But it is not the occasion to be pessimistic and doubtful. There will be time for that later. For now, simply savor the moment.