"Celebrity endorsements, mainstream media support, favorable reviews from academia plus street events rooted in the old antiwar-civil rights movement -- the old winning combinations no longer have an overwhelming effect."
I truly question whether the Left and the so-called MSM were EVER a "winning combination." What did the Left and the MSM EVER win? Did McGovern win? Or Dukakis or Mondale? No; they all lost - BIGTIME! Kerry won't win either because he's FURTHER to the Left than any of them!
"Oh," you say, "what about Carter and Clinton?"
Carter and Clinton ran as southern moderates. That's why they won: Carter was for zero-based budgeting and he was a overt born-again Christian (ASIDE: Carter's religiosity didn't seem to be a portent of fascism to the Left THEN, as Bush's open faith seems to them now; how hypocritical!); Clinton was pro-death penalty and pro Free Trade. Ands that's just for starters. (YES: How they governed is ANOTHER thing!)
I assert that Left-wing political parties are never - or best rarely - popular enough to win MAJORITY control of democracies ANYWHERE. The Left in the Cuba and North Korea and China and Vietnam maintain power ONLY because they are totalitarian tyrannies. (This was how the Left maintained power in the old USSR, too.) The Left ONLY wins elections in Old Europe because of proportional representation schemes. New Labour in the UK is a true center-left party - and still only polls just over a third of the vote.
The reason the USA is now a majority center-right/GOP country (in all 3 branches of the federal government, and in most state houses and most governorships) is because most people are center-right.
The Democrats - since 1968, have moved further and further to the Left - EXCEPT for the Clinton aberration. I call it aberration because while Clinton won twice, the Democrats lost control of Congress and most governorships - and of course: Clinton NEVER won with a MAJORITY of ballots cast.
So, there never was a winning combination of the Left and the MSM.
This is what makes the Left-wing control of the MSM SO VERY FRUSTRATING: because it is utterly so out-of-touch with who the majority of the people really are! That's why FOXNEWS gets more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined. If the MSM reflected popularly held political views, it would be center-right, instead of LEFT LEFT LEFT.
As the ratings of the MSM have declined, so to has the power of the Democrat Party. Because both have lurched Left.
Since the fall of the wall, and the collapse of the USSR and 9/11 most Americans have inched rightward. Hence the HUGE disconnect.
Kerry and the MSM do have a hard-core Left-wing constituency/audience, but it's only about 30% of the overall electorate - at best. Another 5-10% of the elecotrate who are centrist registered Democrats are still partisan enough to vote Kerry (even though they do it while holding their noses - this is the anti-Bush vote, and may comprise a MAJORITY of those voting for Kerry), and are still addicted to the Big Three evening news broadcasts. But they are dying out - literally and figuratively.
As they die out, the Big Three Network news outfits and the Democrat Party respond by either moving back to the center, or they'll with them. As they should. WHY? Because Leftism is essentially failed ideology. Take it from me, a former Leftist!
And this gets back to why Left-wing parties never really get majorities anywhere: because most people everywhere want to be as free as possible, and they see the State as something that diminishes their freedom.
Bush gets this. Kerry does not.