Monday, December 24, 2012

This is a center right country...really?

How many times have you heard Republican pundits say this?

There are a few problems with this statement, though.

Polls show that more Americans do identify themselves as conservative than liberal--35% to 25%. But 41% say they're "moderate"--neither conservative nor liberal.

That does fit the statement that this is a center-right country.

But in the last election, a solid majority of Americans voted for President Obama.

And that, my friends, says pretty clearly that we are at this moment a center-left country.

The trick is the plurality of moderates. They aren't exactly in the middle. Most tip one way or the other, since they have to choose between a Republican and a Democratic candidate.

Obviously more chose the Democratic one.

Another reason to think this is a center-left country is what changed between 2004 and 2012. The % of "conservatives" went up 1%; the % of moderates went down 4%; and the % of "liberals" went up 4%. This combined with the actual vote shows America trending leftward.

Another factor is the fact that while no "liberals" are Republicans, some "conservatives" are not Republicans. There's the slice of the "Old" part of the GOP who are moderate-to-liberal Republicans who have been driven out of the Republican Party by its extremism. These people still think of themselves as conservatives--but they don't think of the GOP as conservative. They consider it a radical, theocratic, corporatist organization that has lost the right to call itself "conservative."

Hence people like Colin Powell, who endorsed the President. The fact that Republicans responding by accusing Powell of racism instead of answering his carefully thought-out reasoning just shows how far off the edge the GOP has gone.

They would respond by saying the Democrats have gone as far left as the GOP has gone to the right. This is true-ish. The Democrats do lean more leftward than they used to. But I think this is a center-left country, and if the Democrats were as extreme as the Republicans are, President Obama wouldn't have won re-election.

So the next time someone tells you "this is a center-right country" ask them who won the last election...

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