As we were told by Pew Research the other day, the Democratic majority continues to grow -- give or take those damn gerrymandered Republican districts in some states. In the November 6 election, you'll remember, Republicans didn't win the House with numbers. The majority voted for a Democratic House. It was the rejiggering of districts that gave the final count to Republicans. And it's costing the country plenty.
Jonathan Chait underlines the Pew Research study that shows conservatives are, as Chait puts it, "doomed." The key to this is what people really want. People like the idea of conservatism. They like to tell pollsters they lean conservative. But...
More than four decades ago, Lloyd Free and Hadley Cantril identified the core of Americans’ political thinking as a blend of symbolic conservatism and operational liberalism. Most Americans, that is, oppose big government in the abstract but favor it in the particular. They oppose “regulation” and “spending,” but favor, say, enforcement of clean-air laws and Social Security. The push and pull between these contradictory beliefs has defined most of the political conflicts over the last century. Public support for most of the particulars of government has stopped Republicans from rolling back the advances of the New Deal, but suspicion with “big government” has made Democratic attempts to advance the role of the state rare and politically painful.
This tension continues to define the beliefs of American voters. ...Chait, Daily Intel
So what does that mean for the future? Well, the younger generation are prouder liberals.
By a 59 percent to 37 percent margin, voters under 30 say the government should do more to solve problems. More remarkably, 33 percent of voters under 30 identified themselves as liberal, as against 26 percent who called themselves conservative.
What all this suggests is that we may soon see a political landscape that will appear from the perspective of today and virtually all of American history as unrecognizably liberal. Democrats today must amass huge majorities of moderate voters in order to overcome conservatives’ numerical advantage over liberals. They must carefully wrap any proposal for activist government within the strictures of limited government, which is why Bill Clinton declared the era of big government to be over, and Obama has promised not to raise taxes for 99 percent of Americans. It’s entirely possible that, by the time today’s twentysomethings have reached middle age, these sorts of limits will cease to apply. ...Chait, Daily Intel
Aside from what this does for Democrats, it's a much healthier situation. People who are liberal admitting in public that they are liberal! Not pretending to be conservatives! ...
... Sure, but as people age, they get more conservative, don't they?
.... As another Pew survey showed, generational patterns to tend to be sticky. It’s not the case that voters start out liberal and move rightward. Americans form a voting pattern early in their life and tend to hold to it. ...Chait, Daily Intel
Sure, things change. But face it, voters have taken a fresh look at what conservatives have offered and what they have actually accomplished -- war, fiscal crisis, recession, racism, voting irregularities, an angry and often vicious electorate -- and are saying "no thanks" to the Republican party.
By the way, the idea of tying "big gubment" to "liberals" has always seemed absolutely nuts to me. The Republicans in the decade just past put together the most enormous and intrusive "national security" bureaucracy that George Orwell might have experienced in his worst dreams. One does have to admit that 9/11 was a very productive moment for a party that rakes in megabucks and votes from "hawks." (See also government under R. Reagan.)