Galston correctly cites the polls that show Americans shifting opinions about whether they favor Republican policies over Democratic policies. He has the facts right, he just does not have a clue about what they mean. William Galston wrote an article entitled “How Americans’ Shifting Political Ideologies Threaten the Democrats.”
The basic thrust of his article is that many American citizens have changed their opinions. Wrong, bucko, the American people have not moved towards the right; rather, it has been the Democratic party that has moved further left.
“On the whole, 58 percent of voters see Democrats as liberal or very liberal, while 56 percent see Republicans as conservative or very conservative; no surprise there. But voters now place themselves much closer to the Republican Party than to the Democratic Party on this left-right continuum. Indeed, the ideological gap between the Democratic Party and the mean voter is about three times as large as the separation between that voter and the Republican Party. And, startlingly, the electorate places itself a bit closer to the Tea Party movement (which is well to the right of the Republican Party) than to the Democratic Party. All this represents a major shift from five years ago, when mean voters placed themselves exactly halfway between their ideological perceptions of the Democratic and Republican parties.”
Here, let me help you son. Americans didn’t shift their views, the Democratic Party did.
The Dem Party has been hi-jacked by the far left-wing of the party. The “blue dog Democrats” have been marginalized, or forced to play by Pelosi and Reid’s playbook lest they be marginalized.
The polls show that America is and always has been in my lifetime a right of central leaning country. Self-identified “liberals” only constitute approximately 20% of the population, and yet the liberals have a strangle-hold on the entire federal government, vastly out of proportion to the percentage of liberals within the general population. Now those in the middle who have always been uncomfortable with the ultra-liberal agenda are becoming uncomfortable within the Democratic Party. It’s that simple.
“The Pew survey also shows that Democrats are far more ideologically diverse than Republicans. Twenty-four percent of Democrats describe themselves as conservative or very conservative, while only 5 percent of Republicans call themselves liberal or very liberal. Conversely, 65 percent of Republicans think of themselves as conservative or very conservative, while only 42 percent of Democrats self-identify as liberal or very liberal. This helps explain why 83 percent of Republicans see the Democratic Party as more liberal than they themselves are—while only 60 percent of Democrats place the Republican Party to the right of where they place themselves.”
Sheesh, son, you sound wet behind the ears. Let me help you some more. First, Republicans who describe themselves as “conservative” is a misleading class set because he does not specify terms. Many Republicans are fiscally conservative but socially liberal or moderate (think libertarians and “Country Club Republicans”). Many other Republicans are socially conservative but fiscally moderate or populist (e.g., Mike Huckabee). Together these two groups constitute a large portion of the Republican party, but on many issues they are sworn enemies.
Second, of course there are more “conservative” Democrats than “liberal” Republicans. Most logical persons within the two main groups of “conservative” Republicans are certainly not going to gravitate to the Democrat party. And since America is a right of center country, Republicans do not need liberals in their party in order to make a majority coalition.
However, Democrats need to garner some “conservative” support or they would always be in the minority. Liberals are a minority in America. So of course the Democratic Party is going to have to lie and pander to certain more conservative groups. Union members, Catholics, many southerners, etc. are naturally “conservative” but have historical dislike for Republicans. They view the fiscally conservative, socially liberal, typical northeastern elitist country club Republican as the face of the party, and they (rightfully, in my view) therefore want no part of the Republican Party. Many blacks are “conservative” on social issues but moderate or liberal on fiscal issues. And many of all of the aforementioned groups just continue in the Democratic Party because their fathers and grandfathers were Democrats.
But this isn’t their Grandfather’s Democratic Party anymore. Some of them just have not been paying close enough attention. It took the jolt from having a socialist/statist infest the White House and a Pelosi and Reid to run Congress to see how their party has been taken over and ruined.
I’m one of those Democrats who fled the party early. I’m one of the original “Reagan Democrats.” My first Presidential vote was for President Carter. I bear no shame for my naiveté–I was only eighteen years old. But thank God Carter drove me into the arms of the Republican Party, and I and millions just like me voted for Reagan, and a new coalition was born. Yes, we still have those God-damned country club and “Establishment” Republicans running the show. But we have more sway in our party than any conservative does in the Democratic Party.
Thus endeth the lesson. And to all you good Democrats still holding your noses and voting for the ultra liberal Nancy Pelosi agenda, you are welcome to come join the fight to save the Republican Party. We need all the good people that we can get to take back our party and our country.