I continue to be fascinated by the ongoing frustration of the Democratic party here in the United States. Despite facing an opposing party led by one of the most unpopular Presidents in history, many of whose leaders are tainted by corruption scandals (no offense to Republicans, just stating the facts), there is an overwhelming sense that the Democrats will once again self-destruct in both 2006 and 2008.
To add fuel to the fire comes this scorching article from American Conservative: "What's Wrong With the Democrats."
Bear in mind that this is a piece written from an explicitly conservative point of view. It also includes liberal sprinklings of passages that are guaranteed to offend. Take this doozy for example:
Many elements within the Democratic Party can’t actually stand each other. The white “lifestyle” liberals welcome minorities as allies because they believe being on the same side as African-Americans against the white majority validates their feelings of self-worth. Yet to be frank—not that they would ever say it in so many words—they also regard blacks and Hispanics as scandalously reactionary on such crucial issues (to them) as gay marriage.
Meanwhile, the racial minorities are heavily Democratic both for newfangled identity reasons and for old-fashioned ethnic clout purposes that St. Tammany himself would have understood, but they are also more culturally conservative and view their white allies as smug, out-of-touch, and patronizing.
Moreover, although this is kept out of the press except when the occasional Jesse Jackson “Hymietown” outburst breaks through, more than a few minority Democrats disdain the lifestyle Democrats as Jews or perverts or Jewish perverts.
Nonetheless, the piece is filled with perceptive insights and statistics that illustrate the author's main point: Because the Democrats have defined themselves in opposition to the white male oppressor, they can't attract a majority for the simple fact that white people account for 79% of actual voters.
Crucially, the Democrats garner the votes of merely one out of three of America’s wedded white guys—the demographic segment that, to a fair if impolitic approximation, not only runs the country but also keeps the country running. Because Democrats have increasingly alienated the group that, more than any other, gets things done in America, it’s become implausible for Democrats to portray themselves as the natural governing party. Thus they have become dependent upon Republican miscues, which, luckily for the Democrats (although not for the country), have been abundant.
The piece also touches on another characteristic which I think is counter-productive, the tendency to look down on "the flyover states" or what Nixon once referred to as "the silent majority."
(As a side note, shouldn't Nixon's crimes have given the White House to the Democrats for a generation? As moral and kind a man as he seems to be, Jimmy Carter's disastrous presidency has to take some of the blame for 25 years of Republican hegemony.)
The Democrats’ fundamental weakness is that even after four decades of their strenuously celebrating the moral supremacy of every organized minority, our political system remains, more or less, one of majority rule. It’s hard to win a majority if you don’t personally want to be part of the majority because your ego centers around visualizing yourself as better than the average American. If you don’t like the American majority, either in principle or in person, the majority won’t like you.
While many "red state" residents also look down on the "blue staters" as perverts on the bullet train to Satan, moral censure has always been easier to swallow than snobbery. We Americans may dislike a good two-shoes, but we hate snobs even more, which is why every 4 years we witness two millionaires who went to Ivy League schools competing to burnish their "common man" credentials.
A few other tidbits:
On the tendency for Democrats to sympathize with exactly the folks who turn off heartland voters:
Although we are constantly assured today that America was unified throughout the Cold War in opposition to the Soviet Union, the public at least vaguely recalls that during the Reagan years much of the Democratic Party wanted to beg the Soviets for mercy, almost up to the day the evil empire collapsed.
The Democrats’ other mark of Cain is the horrific 1964-1996 crime wave unleashed by the Great Society. After almost a quarter of a million excess murders and the reduction of great American cities like Detroit to wastelands, it was finally quelled by the old conservative nostrums of cutting welfare and locking crooks up and throwing away the key.
These were not fluke mistakes. Instead, they explain the unpopularity of the Democrats. Their common denominator was the Democrats’ tendency to sympathize more with foreign enemies and domestic delinquents than with their own country and their fellow citizens.
On why uniting behind a hatred of George W. Bush is not enough:
The Democrats can seldom appeal to one of their blocs without offending another, so the main message they can all agree upon is how much they hate George W. Bush. The problem with that strategy is that, yes, admittedly, the president is a national disgrace, but that also reflects badly on the nation that twice elected him, so a large fraction of patriotic Americans don’t want to hear it.
And an absolutely fascinating statistical fact that links housing costs with votes:
Housing differs sharply in price between red and blue America. Bush carried the 20 states with the cheapest housing costs, while Kerry won the nine states with the most expensive. And the mortgage gap has been growing. Bush was victorious in the 26 states with the least home price inflation since 1980. Kerry triumphed in the 14 states with the most.