Courting Joe Six-Pack

The Democrats may seem divided along class lines, but it's actually the Republicans who need to worry

John Gress / Reuters

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama tours a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisconsin on February 13, 2008

Does Barack Obama have a class problem? He routinely demolishes Hillary Clinton among upper-middle-class "wine" Democrats. Among white working-class "beer" Democrats, however, he sometimes struggles. Traditionally, in Democratic contests, hops trump grapes: Walter Mondale beat Gary Hart in 1984, Bill Clinton beat Paul Tsongas in 1992, Al Gore beat Bill Bradley in 2000, and John Kerry beat Howard Dean in 2004--all by winning big among the Budweiser set. If Obama wins the nomination, he'll have done so with the most upscale coalition since Michael Dukakis' in 1988 or maybe even George McGovern's in 1972. Both Dukakis and McGovern got trounced in...

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