Progressives -- the term of art for the party's liberal wing -- contend, with some justification, that they have provided much of the fuel that could propel the party to win control of the White House and both houses of Congress for the first time in 16 years. They have contributed and raised large amounts of money, fired up their troops on the Internet, and generally are thrilled at the prospect of a Democratic sweep.
Yet they aren't sure the party they think they are leading to victory is really following them. Sen. Obama has been essentially nonideological in his campaign, has made much of his desire to reach across the ideological spectrum to Republicans, and spent several weeks this summer moving away from the left and toward the center on issues ranging from warrantless wiretaps to abortion to gun control.
More than that, liberals realize that if the party expands its control of the House and Senate, it may do so by electing moderate and conservative Democrats who vanquish sitting Republicans. Thus, while Democratic control in Congress could expand, liberal influence may not.
So the progressive wing of the party has gathered in Denver uncertain whether to celebrate or fight for its due.