Aug 17 2009
It is no surprise to most people that America on average leans far more to the conservative side of things than the liberal side. In fact, Gallup has come out with a large study showing that self described ‘conservatives’ outnumber ‘liberals’ in all 50 states. It is so one sided that there is only one part of the nation (DC of course) considered liberal – the rest of the nation is scored by how much more conservative it is than liberal:
So why do we have a Democrat Congress and President if the nation leans very much to the right? Well, it must have something to do with how ‘true conservatives’ on the far right (now in exile) repulsed the center of the nation to the point it was willing to experiment with centrist sounding Democrats. It was a big risk, but the angry, insulting, pure conservatives pretty much had run out their welcome over many issues where they derided anyone who looked to progress on issues over purity.
The fact is the largest political affiliation is independents, followed by democrats, with Republicans coming in last place at half the size of the independents, as shown in this recent survey from Pew Research:
I have had a lot of ‘true conservatives’ making the laughable claim the drubbing of the GOP was due to centrist approaches to prescription drugs under Medicare and Medicaid, as well as centrist proposals on comprehensive immigration reform. These delusional fantasies are really hysterical since, if this was really what ‘America’ wanted the Dems would not be in power today. The more the Amnesty Hypochondriacs raged at reasonable solutions and penalties to immigration, the more elections the GOP lost.
At I must note that the Iraq war also could not be the source of the center bailing on the GOP. So far President Obama is getting high marks for his continuation of President Bush’s policies on Iraq, Afghanistan and the FISA-NSA changes made since 9-11.
The place where the Democrats screwed up was in far left policies (along with demagogic rage at the middle mirroring the GOP blunders) that have failed or scared the center. The failed stimulus bill, the threat of government run health care rationing services to the needy, and the idea of taxing energy to cool a planet that has been cooling for over a decade (and will continue to do so for another decade or two longer) was a naive over reach.
The thing the GOP needs to take from all this is not to Â repeat the mistakes both fringes have made over the last few years. You need to cater to the middle, not insult them with single minded solutions no one really believes in outside the fringe echo chambers. One key thing to note in the Gallup survey, with its precise +/- 1% MoE and large samples, is that moderates are always around a third of the population in all states. Insult them and demand allegiance to partisan purity and you will be dumped next election.
So far the liberals have given a broad conservative coalition an wide opening to take control of the government in the coming election cycles. The only way to screw that up is for some to destroy that potential coalition by not accepting and respecting the conservative middle of the nation – and giving them their just seats at the table of governance.