More On Ideological Drift

David Harsanyi responds to the op-ed by Steve Rosenthal I posted about last week:

But like many folks on the left, Rosenthal is forced to make a big leap. He contends that a shift on social issues and the electoral success of (a now-unpopular) Barack Obama proves that the entire progressive buffet is destined for widespread approval. Guess what? It doesn’t work that way. Support for gay marriage does not mean support for unions. (Unions, one of backbones of political progressivism, have never been less popular in practice.) Pot legalization does not mean we’re ready for nationalize energy policy. And support for immigration reform doesn’t mean people are prepared to “Make Everything Owned by Everybody.” And while I certainly don’t believe we’re about to privatize Social Security, to believe that the philosophy of the electorate is on a fixed leftward arc — which seems to be conventional wisdom these days — is premature.

I’d actually like to see some empirical evidence on that. I think that positions held are likely to come in clumps and, possibly, increasingly so. However, I’m prepared to believe that they don’t come in the clumps that either progressives or conservatives cling to so that people don’t fit entirely neatly into the respective camps. Note, for example, that “None of the above” is the fastest-growing political party in the U. S.

8 comments… add one

  • I agree that policy support does often come in clumps. It does require a “buy in” that usually remains incomplete (except in venues where such things are discussed). I know a lot of people that used to consider themselves “middle of the road” that are increasingly buying in to the Democratic Party. Or more accurate, are so repelled by the Republican Party that they more or less frame their positions as being primarily against the Republican view on it (which may or may not be an accurate representation of what the Republicans are actually pursuing).

    So, for instance, rather than actually supporting PPACA, they spend a lot of time knocking down its critics and opponents. Instead of supporting unions, they’ll focus on Big Corporations, how bad they are, and how the Republicans are in bed with them.

    It’s shaping up poorly for the GOP within my demographic (which is only a demographic, and not a terribly large one at that), but I could see things reversing pretty quickly. They may have bought in to the Democratic Party and the Democrats’ framing of issues, for now, but there is a reason they still call themselves independent and they may be gettable with the right nominee and with a change in general perceptions (or a change in the recent Republican habit of doing everything they can to alienate these people).

  • michael reynolds

    The thing saving Democrats is Republicans. We’re basically out of ideas and show no signs of suddenly coming up with new ones. But the Republicans are so hateful we’re not being pushed to innovate.

    The coming generations are not table d’hôte people, they’re a la carte. But what are they gonna do in a 2 party system where one party is run by un-medicated mental patients?

  • jan

    IMO, both major parties are bereft of innovative ideas. Nowadays, it’s all about winning elections — not growing the economy, creating jobs, or easing tensions among people.

    However, it seems particularly bizarre when I hear posters continue to chatter how ‘hateful’ they consider those who ideologically disagree with them to be — especially when most of the hate speech seems to be emanating from them. A case of projecting, perhaps? As for sensing any ideological drift to the left — I don’t particularly see a social progressive dominance in the future. For one thing I don’t think dems have as firm a grasp on the populace as they think they do. In fact it appears fewer people than ever are impressed with their ideas, awesome governance, and the direction of the country. One of the latest polls shows over 70% think the country is going in the wrong direction. The republicans certainly don’t win any popularity contests either. But, they aren’t the ones who have been in power for the better part of the last decade. And, as time has demonstrated in the past, people get tired of being pessimistic, poor, and tied down by too many obstructive rules and regulations, which then gives an opening for the other side of the political stage to take their turn at turning things around.

  • ...

    Examples of Democratic non-hateful activities:

    The Governor of New York stating that anyone that doesn’t agree with him should get out of the state.

    House Democrats fundraising on the premise that anyone that doesn’t love abortion on demand is revolting.

    Love abortion and agree with us on every single thing, or be a hater and get fucked in the ass by the IRS. (Funny how there’s all this outrage about a lane closure on a bridge, but not a peep about the President using the IRS to throw elections. Why, it’s almost as if Democrats like having a secret police force to stifle dissent!) That’s the modern party of love, right there.

  • jan

    It’s especially difficult for a performer to hold any political POV outside of Beyonce/Jay Z’s love-fest for socially progressive democrats. The latest victim of Hollywood McCarthyism is Conchita Alonzo, who had to quit a San Francisco production because she supported someone (a tea party guy -gasp!) running for CA governor.

    In fact, the growing intolerance, being shown by the avid absolutism of some democrats towards their opposition, is more troubling, IMO, than any political myopia demonstrated by ‘awful’ republicans/ libertarians/Independents.

  • jan

    When papers chose what news to print and what not to print they are essentially distorting reality. Just one case in point (out of many) is the recent March for Life event that goes on in DC every year. No matter what a person’s opinion may be on abortion rights, there seems to be a willful deceitfulness being exercised by the MSM to omit and blatantly ignore Right to Life protests — especially when the crowds are tenaciously large, despite the freezing, inhospitable cold. If nothing else it should be considered a ‘human interest’ phenomenon.

    “Hundreds of thousands” of people attended this year’s march, one organizer told the Free Beacon as the demonstrators left the National Mall and walked toward the Supreme Court.

    He was quickly corrected by another organizer, a woman who clarified that the march does not offer official crowd estimates.

    “But when you fill Constitution Avenue, I mean, that should give you a sense of the size,” she said.

    Even Pope Francis commented on this event, from afar. However, for the most part it proved to be an irrelevant story to the MSM, much like Benghazi, the IRS, F & F, the AP and Rosen stories etc. — all of which have been reluctantly covered, with little to no follow-up, afterwards, creating a sense of resolution, when there has been none.

  • Ellipse… if the Republicans had been able to implicate people as close to Obama in the IRS matter the same way that Christie’s aides were implicated, it would have been a much bigger deal. There might even be talks of impeachment. They were never able to establish that link. If

  • Andy

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