To stay in the fight, Democratic leaders will have to acknowledge political realities affirmed by the electorate in 1994 and 2006. Many Democratic constituencies — organized labor, minority advocacy organizations, reproductive-and sexual-rights proponents — are reliving battles of a decade or more ago, not the more subtle disputes of today.
I think this is a key point. As an example, some civil rights group seem to treat the affirmative action debate as if it were of the same importance as the desegregation debate. But it's not. Segregation was a pretty clear issue: it was evil and racist. By contrast, affirmative action is a very close call, something which I think people on both sides of the debate should acknowledge. In my view, the Democrats would do much better if they toned down their rhetoric on some of these issues (the Republicans, too, of course, but the article was about the Democrats, so that's what I focused on).