The Democrat Party was always the party of a grand coalition between urban machines (like Tammany Hall in NYC), blue collar unions (mostly in old industrial cities), immigrants (mostly in cities), populist farmers (mostly on the midwest), and southern Democrats who had never stopped fighting the Civil War.
Most of that coaliton is KAPUTSKI! (1) Blue collar unions ONCE accounted for 35% of the workforce; they now account for JUST 15%! (2) LBJ knew he would lose the south for the Democrat Party - for a few generations - by signing Civil Rights legislation (mostly with GOP support) but he COURAGEOULY dissed that important part of the Party's base and did the right thing. (4) Farmers are relatively culturally conservative and have been voting more GOP since Reagan. (5) Blue collar workers started drifting to the GOP when the blue-collar HARDHATS told the anti-war Doves of the Democrat Party to "LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!).
REALLY: a casual examination of the 2004 election result "RED/BLUE" map of the USA - BY COUNTY PROVES that the Democrats are down to 1 part of their old coaliton: the cities. They have the cities mostly because of (a) INERTIA: people tend to assume and keep whatever partisan affiliation their parents had; (and UNLIKE the Southern Democrats, cities have NOT YET HAD SOME GALVANIZING EVENT TO MAKE THEM REACCESS THEIR PARTY AFFILIATION. (b) Cities have higher concentration of UNIONIZED white collar workers - most of whom work for the government and are therefore TAX-EATERS. (AFSME and the NEA come to mind). (c) And cities have a higher concentration of gays and lesbians.
If and when the GOP lays out AN URBAN AGENDA FOR THE 21st Century, that will spell the END of the Democrat Party - and with it THE LEFT!
President Rudy ANYONE!?