For decades, Democrats have straddled a divide: they sought to represent both the producers of government services and the low and middle income citizens who depend on those services. Democrats want the votes and the contributions of teacher unions, and they want the votes of the parents whose kids attend public schools. As long as the blue model worked, the contradictions could be managed.

Increasingly, however, the contradictions have come to the fore. Teacher unions want life employment for incompetent teachers; their representatives negotiate farcically unsound pension arrangements with complaisant politicians and want taxpayers to pony up when the huge bills come due. Other producers of government services also have their sweetheart deals.

The result is that the consumers of government services, many of whom of course are Democrats, are getting a raw deal. They are paying too much money in taxes to support a system of government that, however outstanding and dedicated some people in it may be, simply cannot deliver acceptable services at a reasonable cost. The Democratic claim to represent both sides fairly is getting harder to sustain.