Meet the left's netroots. Jon Chait has a definitive essay (free pass-thru!) in the new New Republic. Money quote:
Already, the netroots are the most significant mass movement in U.S. politics since the rise of the Christian right more than two decades ago. And, by all appearances, they are far from finished with their task: recreating the Democratic Party in the image of the conservative machine they have set out to destroy...
It is true that the netroots embraces political calculation. But the strategies put forward by these activists almost invariably involve shifting the Democratic Party at least a bit to the left. Some of them are explicit about this. "Hiding from progressives and the left will lead to Democratic losses in 2006," wrote MyDD's Matt Stoller last year. "Running as a progressive will lead to victory." One survey of netroots members found that two-thirds wanted the Democratic Party to move to the left.
So the netroots are clearly liberal, and more liberal than the Democratic Party as a whole. Ideology, however, is not the movement's defining trait. What unites them is a desire to replicate the successes of the conservative movement dating back to the 1960s.
And TNR is moving leftward to meet them.