We have a tea-party movement, and a raucous and rivalrous gang of independent groups, precisely because GOP leaders cannot exercise the sort of control over their coalition that Democrats do over theirs. Left-leaning PACs and independent groups are a supplement to the Democrats’ machine; right-leaning groups are an alternative to the Republicans’ machine.Naturally this narrative appeals to me; I'd like to think I support the party that values honest debate over mindless conformity. But I wonder if it's really true? Democrats--even potential donors--do exhibit some fracture lines in their political solidarity. The fulminating fury at left-wing sites about the sell-out DINOs sounds to me remarkably like its counterpart at right-wing sites: indeed, remarkably like the frustration I vent daily over why everyone in power can't be sensible enough to agree with me all the time.
I will say that Democratic leaders in the House and Senate in the last few years have exercised better control than Republicans over their caucuses.