Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Read part one here
What happened? How did our only choices become ideologues and bureaucrats?
Let’s start with the Republicans. The right wing have some advantages that other groups don’t. The American Civil Christians are the largest cohesive unit in the country, and every Sunday morning, churchgoers are given their marching orders for the week. Attend one of these services, and you may be surprised to learn that very little is said about God or the Bible. You’ll hear the name Jesus come up a lot, but not about the life of the man in the New Testament, but rather in reference to the power churchgoers are given to go forward with their plans. “In the name of Jesus, I implore you to call your Congressman and tell him to vote for H.R. 3200.” Yes, you will hear the phrase “H.R.” as often as you’ll hear anything about faith.
It’s hard to pinpoint the reach of Civil Christians, but I’ve mentioned before that they tend to make up about 26% of any voting bloc. Any Republican who caters to this group is halfway to being elected.
Beyond this group, Republicans also have a greater sense of cooperation. It seems strange to say when it seems that every day there’s another story about Republicans’ refusal to compromise… the “party of No,” as they’re called. I’m not talking about compromising with liberals, though. This was where President Bush got his power. Many Republicans opposed the wars, and the Bush Administration’s shameless handouts to their corporate allies didn’t go over well, either. But there are many Republicans who do feel strongly about not allowing gay marriage, and they’re willing to compromise on those other things if a candidate opposes gay marriage. Still others care about nothing but lowering taxes, even if they may not agree with a Republican’s views on education or religion. If a candidate promises to stand for every conservative principle, even if they contradict each other, he’ll get the conservatives’ votes.
On the other hand, left-leaning Democrats must accept that they will never get all of the liberal vote. Liberal agendas are much farther reaching and much more likely to contradict each other. Technology and science tend to be fairly liberal demographics, but reaching out for the pro-science vote may not sit well with environmentalists or animal rights groups. Minority groups tend to be fairly jealous of each other, and a focus on black rights may get feminists wondering why women don’t get the same attention. The ACLU staunchly believes that free speech of all kinds, even hateful or defamatory, must be protected, yet other liberal organizations like ADL and GLAAD have the phrase “Against Defamation” right in their names.
Beyond these internal conflicts (which aren’t really internal at all, as they stand for their special interest first and Democrats only when it suits them), if activists on the left don’t feel that a candidate will be loyal to them, they’re perfectly happy not voting, or placing a symbolic vote for a third-party, one-cause candidate. I would say that garnering liberal votes is like herding cats, but I wouldn’t want to piss off the PeTA people.
So what’s a Democrat to do? Unsurprisingly, they just take the far left votes where they can get them and ignore the rest. So since they have dismissed a large chunk of their 26%, they make up the deficit by going after the disaffected Republican vote, moderate conservatives who look for any excuse not to vote for the nutbag their primaries let in. It’s no wonder, then, that the only Democrats to be elected President in the last 40 years all had a conservative (or at least non-liberal) bent, and even then, only one could win a reelection.
So what option do liberals (or even moderate liberals) in the United States have? Let me know what you think.
To Be Continued…