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Dem Analyst: Ideological Terrain Tilting Toward GOP

William Galston is one of the smartest thinkers on the Democratic side of the aisle, and this candid and thoughtful assessment he’s published at The New Republic makes sober reading for his colleagues.   According to Galston, the tilt away from the Democrats toward the GOP between 2008 and 2010 continues today.  As the electorate continues to polarize and tilt rightwards (conservatives have replaced moderates as the ideological category with which the largest number of voters identifies and there are roughly twice as many conservatives as liberals) and trust in government declines, Democrats face huge challenges in the run up to 2012.

In Via Meadia’s view, Democrats still have some hope: the Republicans still don’t seem to have a strong candidate — and the GOP has managed to lose ‘sure thing’ elections before this.

Read Galston’s whole piece here; Democrat or Republican, it is well worth your time.

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  • Bruce B

    Eventually, even the American electorate figures out that social welfare states always go bankrupt.

  • Silverfiddle

    Is it any wonder? They call themselves liberal, but in the classical sense they are anything but that, coming off as strident and doctrinaire on such issues as climate change and personal lifestyle choices.

    Conservatives are in danger of committing the same errors, and have in the past, so anything could happen.

    Maybe people are tired of being preached at? Maybe people are tired of government infesting every last corner of their lives?

    President Obama had the chance to usher in a new Era of Good Feelings and really kick off some governmental reform.

    Perhaps a GOP president will get the same opportunity. If he and the GOP blow it, the pendulum will swing back… *sigh*

    I pray the DC power players of all parties are reading your blue model essays. There is good stuff in there for liberals and conservatives alike

  • Scott

    The Democrat Party and the sympathetic mainstream media have desperately tried to create the narrative that the Republican Party has shifted further to the right. I do not believe that is true. Just because there are very few, if any, liberal Rockefeller Republicans remaining in Congress, it doesn’t follow that party orthodoxy has become more “extreme” or that it appeals only to right-wing zealots.

    No, the real story is that after LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of ’64, he famously said the Democratic Party would lose the South for a generation, so the Democratic Party made a concerted effort to fill that hole by appealing to every disaffected fringe extremist element in society — from radical feminists, anit-war student protesters, environmental extremists, homosexual activists, black activists, abortionists, Marxist professors, hippies, drug enthusiasts, etc. Over time, the Far Left gradually highjacked the Democratic Party (just look at the phenomenal growth in numbers of Congressmen in the “Progressive” Caucus as proof — going from 6 members in 1991 to 79 after the 2010 elections.)

    The Democratic Party has distinguished itself as the Party that hates traditional American values and has tried for 40 years to redefine America. And many in the MSM were sympathetic to their efforts, so the the mainstream media portrayed the Party highjacked by the Far Left as “mainstream”.

    However, it is mostly people on the coasts and the professors and elites in the big cities who buy into it. The vast majority of Americans in flyover country who the Democratic Party hates because they still believe in guns, religion, and traditional American values, are no longer buying what the Democratic Party is selling. It’s taken 40 years for them to wake up, but they finally realize the Democratic Party of 2011 isn’t the Democratic Party of their father and grandfather. It’s no longer about compassion. The know it all professors of the Democratic Party now want to control and dictate how we all live our lives.

    That’s how I see it. Your mileage may vary.

  • Charles R. Williams

    The Democrats do not have a strong candidate either. Clinton is very weak and only looks strong in comparison to an extraordinarily weak incumbent. The real strength is in the Republican backbench: Christie, Rubio and Ryan, McDonnell. The Democrats do not have any backbench at all. Cuomo might be viable in 2016.

  • Anthony

    WRM, no matter what idological designation there remains the fact that we are operating within an increasingly obsolete social structure (designed commercially and culturally for another era). Now given our polarized politics and electorate, can Democrats or Republicans provide the much needed systemic supportive change and combat the concomitant resistance by established groups challenging 21st century America?

    The Galston article provides a Democratic heads up but shares little insight about “what to do” concerning our cross-stresses and currents of tension. WRM, ideology has its place (and its trending is noteworthy) yet modern conditions warrant serious adjustments not guided fundamentally by ideological tenets alone.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    How you can even talk about the make up of the electorate and ignore the most significant change that has occurred since the formation of the Republican Party? How serious can Galston be, if he can overlook the TEA Party. Enthusiasm counts in elections, and at the moment, all the enthusiasm is with the TEA Party.

  • Peter

    Scott, you nailed it.

    Today’s Democrat Party is a coalition of freaks and government dependents.

    Once the GOP successfully neuters the government unions, it game, set, match for the Dems.

    Will the Dems disappear? Probably not, but they will have to reform the party back to respectability, which is something they lost in the 1970s.

  • ms

    Romney is a very strong candidate IMO. He is much better–more seasoned–than in 2008, and has been very impressive in the debates. He has a wealth of experience with repairing troubled organizations. Romneycare is a liability, but I think he is sincere when he says that such things are better left to the states and that he’d dismantle Obamacare. It would be nice if some other candidates would join the race. The more the merrier, I say. But if they don’t, we’ve got a good man for what will be a big job. As WRM has pointed out many times, the challenge of the 21st century is to harness technology to solve the problems that the collapse of the blue social model is throwing our way. Well, Romney is a problem solver and I think he is more than up to the job.

  • ms

    PS–I agree that Bill Galston is one of the most thoughtful and insightful democratic strategists. I wish there were more like him.

  • Anthony

    Correction @5; second sentence 1st paragraph should read: Now given our polarized politics and electorate, can Democrats or Republicans provide the much needed systemic supportive change our politico-economic system presently requires and simultaneously combat established resistance intent on protecting its economic interest (while 21st century challenges inundate America)?

  • mike

    Read Mr Galston’s article. Very interesting. President Obama is in a primary against himself, it seems. He has to now run to the left of where he has governed to get Congressional Black Caucus and left wing support.
    Don’t know if this has happened before. Jimmy Carter was the centrist in his party compared to Edward Kennedy (RIP). LBJ quit rather than lose to a leftist in his party.

    Strange times.

    As a recovered Republican, now independent/TeaParty member, I hope the (R)s realize we don’t need halfway socialism. We need a Restoration of constitutional limits to federal power and a smaller federal government in cost and regulation.

    I am a citizen, not a subject.

  • Jim.

    Two interesting lines in Galston’s piece, which he doesn’t seem to be able to usefully connect:

    “A survey released earlier this week found that Americans now believe that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every dollar it spends, the highest estimate ever recorded.”

    In other words, most people think that everything the government spends on programs they ideologically disagree with is wasted money. (The solution here is, obviously, cut government spending and slash taxes so that *each individual taxpayer* gets to make sure that their money is given only to worthy causes.)

    Then the second quote:

    “Americans are more liberal on particulars than they are in general—ideologically conservative but operationally liberal. (Surveys have shown majority support for most individual elements of the president’s jobs and budget packages.)”

    What do you get when you combine these two?

    Obviously, Americans have a new sense of scarcity of government funding, brought on by the new awareness that either we stand on the brink of utterly unpayable debt, or we have fallen off already.

    Even if the each little plate of sushi looks good, if you take everything you want, you simply can’t afford the bill at the end. **And now Americans know it.**

  • Mrs. Davis

    Events will be in control. The only way the Blue model will be replaced is for things to get so bad that the majority at the teat are compelled or willing to lose their milk. And that’s bad.We’re not even close. Look at how long the EUros are living in denial. At that point someone who several years earlier had seemed innocuous will rise to the occasion, point in a new direction, and be followed. Or an era in history will end.

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