As a general response to the question 'where did the hope go?' - I lay it at the feet of putting too much faith in politicians. I don't mean this in a "they are all bad" sense, but in a you misunderstand politics if you place faith in pols sense.
In the 2008 primary wars, I was in the "not a dime's worth of difference" between Obama and Clinton camp. I thought Obama had the better chance to expand the map and maybe be a transformative president, but I was not holding my breath. Why? Because pols are pols and do what they do.
The fight for change really can not be pol-centric in my view. In 2007, I wrote They All Disappoint. I think what I said then is appropriate today:
The best show on television today is "The Wire." In subsequent entries, I'll explain why I think so. Its new season, Season 5, starts in January and The Wire will be one of the things I write about. Season 4 focused on politics a good deal.I believed it then. I believe it now. And I'll believe it in 2016 when I expect Hillary Clinton to be elected our next president.
At the finale to Season 4, the new mayor of Baltimore, where the show is set, is faced with the dilemma of doing "the right thing" and doing what he perceives is the right thing politically (the plot point involves "eating shit" so the Baltimore schools get money it needs vs. what's right for his shot at being Governor. You know what he does.
Afterwards, his close aide, who fought the campaign with him, discusses this with the chief of staff of the former mayor, saying "can't believe he left the money on the table." The former COS responds "they all disappoint." And indeed, they do. They've all disappointed, even Lincoln, FDR and Bobby Kennedy.
As citizens and activists, our allegiances have to be to the issues we believe in. I am a partisan Democrat it is true. But the reason I am is because I know who we can pressure to do the right thing some of the times. Republicans aren't them. But that does not mean we accept the failings of our Democrats. There is nothing more important that we can do, as citizens, activists or bloggers than fight to pressure DEMOCRATS to do the right thing on OUR issues.
And this is true in every context I think. Be it pressing the Speaker or the Senate majority leader, or the new hope running for President. There is nothing more important we can do. Nothing. It's more important BY FAR than "fighting" for your favorite pol because your favorite pol will ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, disappoint you.
In the middle of primary fights, citizens, activists and bloggers like to think their guy or woman is different. They are going to change the way politics works. They are going to not disappoint. In short, they are not going to be pols. That is, in a word, idiotic.
Yes, they are all pols. And they do what they do. Do not fight for pols. Fight for the issues you care about. That often means fighting for a pol of course. But remember, you are fighting for the issues. Not the pols.