As Thomas B. Edsall notes,
Democrats now depend as much on affluent voters as on low-income voters. . .The party and its candidates have come to rely on the elite 0.01 percent of the voting age population for a quarter of their financial backing and on large donors for another quarter.
the Democratic Party and its elected officials have come to resemble their Republican counterparts far more than the public focus on polarization would lead you to expect. The current popularity of Bernie Sanders and his presidential candidacy notwithstanding, the mainstream of the Democratic Party supports centrist positions ranging from expanded free trade to stricter control of the government budget to time limits on welfare for the poor. . .
The practical reality is that the Democratic Party is now structurally disengaged from class-based populism, especially a form of economically redistributive populism that low-to-moderate-income whites would find inviting.
That makes the Sanders campaign all that more noteworthy. His current momentum, even if he doesn’t in the end win the nomination, will be squandered unless and until a movement that builds on his successes emerges, either inside or outside the Democratic Party.