Consider the example of now ex-Democrat Brendan Loy:
Okay, I’m calling it. It’s over. Ned Lamont has won the primary. Democrats in my home state of Connecticut have seen fit to give their incumbent U.S. senator, the honorable Joseph Lieberman, the old heave-ho. Get out of our party, the Democratic voters have told Joe. You aren’t one of us anymore.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Lieberman’s fine Senate career is over — he says he’ll run as an independent, and if he does, he may well win. Nor does it necessarily mean that the majority of national Democrats, or even the majority of Connecticut progressives and liberals, agree with the decision that today’s voters made. Connecticut’s largest “party” is unaffiliated voters, who were ineligible to vote in today’s primary, and they have long been big Lieberman supporters. Moreover, even among registered Democrats, it was always going to be more difficult for Lieberman to motivate his contented-but-not-fervent supporters to vote in the same numbers as his rabidly angry critics. Lamont was bound to have a natural advantage in this primary, and Lieberman a natural disadvantage, for the same reason that moderates are almost always at a disadvantage in primaries. (See, e.g., the 2002 GOP gubernatorial primary in California.)
But regardless of all that, the hard reality is that the voters have spoken, and their message was loud and clear: there’s no longer room for Joe Lieberman in the Democratic Party. And alas, tonight’s result will reverberate through the November elections and into the 2008 presidential campaign. It’s really much more than just a single primary in a single state; it’s a shot across the bow of moderate Democrats everywhere. And so, whatever further ramifications this result might have, there’s one thing it definitely means, one result that is officially cast in stone, as of today:
I am no longer a Democrat.
I'm with you, Brendan. I don't really plan on switiching parties yet, because I've never been that much of a party loyalist anyway, and I remain a Dem basically because I agree with them more than the Republicans, and I feel that Democratic policies are better for the country than Republican ones. The fact is, the elite Democrats have been sending the message that has now been set in stone: Moderates like Joe Lieberman are not welcome. You see, Lieberman didn't abandon the Party. The Democratic Party abandoned him, and all of us who have the clarity to place our national security interests above knee-jerk Bush-hatred and the antiquated idiocy of the hard-Left.
Despite all this, I'm still holding out hope. At the end of the day, I still believe in theose time-tested Democratic principles. I'm not leaving. I plan to stay and fight. I'll have to do it from the sort of wilderness I've been forced into, because alot of the Democratic elite has made it clear than there's no room in the tent for people like me. It's not just the war, either. My view that the abject killing of the unborn is not the best plan of action is verboten in the tent. Right now, I'm an independent Democrat. A lone-wolf Democrat. I've been that way for awhile now, as the Dems have increasingly lost their minds.
I must take issue with one point that Loy brought up. While the Dems have proven themselves to be intolerant of any ideological dissent from the Party line, I reject the idea that the Republicans are any better. The bold steps of Rudy, Arnold, and McCain notwithstanding, as far as the base is concerned, neither would make it through.
At the end of the day, neither Party has a big tent, and both have been hijacked by ideologues. Although the idea of the big tent was a uniquely Democratic staple, one that has been slowly undermined over the past ten years, and may have suffered the death blow Tuesday night.
Hat tip: Centerfield
UPDATE: Based on some the comments on this post over at Booker Rising, I think a clarification is needed. Moderates are still welcome in the Democratic Party, as long as they don't openly support the war in Iraq. Heck, the fact that Ned Lamont has a track record of supporting Republicans 80% percent of the time, while Lieberman supports Democrats 90% of the time is proof that even if you vote like a Republican, if you're anti-war, the anti-war Left will back you.
UPDATE #2: It looks like all hope might not be lost.