Skip to comments.The Biggest Missing Story in Politics - One Year Update
Posted on 08/20/2009 10:42:20 PM PDT by Scanian
August 25, 2008, just about one year ago, my article on those Battleground Polls -- which have routinely shown for many years that about sixty percent of Americans are "conservatives" -- stirred up quite a ruckus. If my analysis is right, then that would explain Democrat hysteria over the town hall meetings in America as the revelation that the Left is just a small minority of Americans who have insinuated themselves into the chokepoints of information, education, entertainment, and policy in American society.
Gallup, which has also polled the ideology of Americans, has presented the data in a much murkier way. While the Battleground Poll allows respondents six options -- "very conservative," "somewhat conservative," "moderate," "unsure," "somewhat liberal," and "very liberal," the Gallup asks (or reveals) only whether respondents identify themselves as "conservative," "moderate," or "liberal." Nevertheless, three Gallup Polls this summer have shown just how profoundly conservative Americans are. On June 15, for example, Gallup revealed that conservatives are the largest ideological group in America: 40% of us call ourselves conservative, 35% of us call ourselves moderates, and 21% of us call ourselves liberal. Moreover, Gallup shows that since 1992 conservatives have become an increasingly larger share of America.
Then, on July 6, Gallup revealed that Democrats were becoming more conservative, independents were becoming more conservative, and Republicans were becoming dramatically more conservative (a whopping 58% of Republicans said that they had become more conservative in the last few years.) Viewed from every angle, both Gallup and the Battleground poll identify conservatives as the largest ideological group in America and a group that is growing fast.
The most fascinating poll, however, was revealed by Gallup on August 14. The impact appears deliberately downplayed by Gallup. The title of the article simply states that the conservative ideology prevails
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...
What it means is that everything is relative. I know extremely liberal people who think they are conservative if only because they know people who are even more liberal than they are.
Yours is the best analysis I’ve seen. You must be pretty smart seeing as how you have the good sense to agree with me! Seriously, I have been thinking in the same terms, though not as clearly stated. Thanks for filling in the gaps for me.
How many self-identified conservatives oppose on philosophical grounds a new program that benefits them directly? And, then, of course, the seduction becomes complete when once they have it, it becomes a right to be angrily protected.
At least one time in my life I rejected a benefit on philosophical grounds - I returned to college in my 40s and even though I qualified for student aid I consciously chose not to take it. I’m no hero for so doing, but how many conservatives participated in cash for clunkers?
Some people think conservative means you shouldn’t have more than four illegitimate children for the government to support.
Considering that back in ‘96 someone told me that he was voting for Clinton because Bob Dole,”Is such a liar”, I think that many Americans are that stupid. When Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and others of their ilk are described by some people as conservative it leads me to believe that most people don’t have a clear idea of what is meant. When people talk about how many conservatives voted for Barack Obama I get the notion they don’t know what the word means.
the dead ones put him in office
While your argument that it was an unfavorable environment for Republicans is quite on point, and while we are largely in agreement with regard to the causes thereof, the bare fact remains that the entire primary season and early election season were designed in their totality for a run "up the middle" (read "turn even harder to the left"). Rather than being a reasonable damage control tactic, this served to alienate and drive the Conservative base even further away from any reconciliation. Conservatives were not merely angry, not outraged, they were apoplectic.
Regardless of whatever credentials Palin might have to wear the Conservative mantle (none), it was far too little, far too late. Republicans had been hemorrhaging Conservatives badly since 04, and now, there are more Conservatives outside Reagan's House than in it (me included).
And there were times and strategies that would have brought the base back, at least in part - The House sit-in for off-shore drilling springs to mind - Had that been parlayed by the party into a bone for the Conservatives, If the House alone been given the investment needed to stay true to Conservatism, there may well have been a chance of saving the House. But everything, if you'll recall, was poured into saving McCain, and the House Republicans were hung out to dry, in the media, financially, and politically, by the Republican leadership.
And while your demographics are convincing on the surface, the very same arguments were being made prior to Reagan. The overwhelming argument at the time was gender rather than race. Then the Conservatives were doomed by the fact that minorities voted Democrat, and half the population were women bent upon feminism, so Conservatism would never be a force.
But I am one of Limbaugh's "See, I Told You So" Conservatives.
If the over-arching truth of this article holds true, and we are a Conservative nation, then the very same dynamic that has aways supplied Conservatives their power still applies today in spades.
That marvelous "thing" is the depth of demographics that goes unmeasured, because it didn't necessarily rise up in the last election. The Christian Right is a microcosm of that larger demographic, and is somewhat measurable. When the Christians get lit up, their electoral power doubles. That's from 30m guaranteed, to 60m. In an electoral field of approx. 300m, that is a game-changer. The other pillars are harder to gauge, but these, added with the general popularity of a Reagan revolutionary, become an unstoppable force -
Not by convincing the static 300m voters to go either way, as the common thought implies, but because those who don't normally become engaged in the process take the time to participate because something rings in them like a bell. Attracting more of the non-voters is the key, and with 60% of the country claiming Conservatism, that far outweighs any other demographic.
Conservatives made a bargain with Ronald Reagan. They have not forgotten. They have told their sons and daughters of that bargain, and they will keep that promise close. If they are represented, they come running. The closer you get to those principles, the more of them you will get.
As to that 18 state blue wall: Those same blue states were blue states before Reagan, and have always tended to be blue states. It is the red states turning purple that should give you pause. And while the "Left Coast" is decidedly blue, that has just about run it's course. They will turn to Conservatism out of sheer desperation if nothing else, and soon.
And lastly, as to racial profiling in demographics, I reject it outright. Native Hispanics tend to be Conservative. Southern Blacks tend to be Conservative. Moral values and family values have as much impact in these groups as in any other, as do pocket-book and small business issues. Folks is folks, as it were. I refuse to fall into that trap.
I come to the conclusion that charisma is of little value, as always. Gingrich was undoubtedly the captain of the 94 revolution, and while a good speaker, he is hardly charismatic in the same league as Reagan, or an orator of the strength of Obama. He is just an intelligent guy with a sensible (at the time) outlook, and a dumpy, pudgy office drone look. He spoke to the people, spoke Conservatively, and people believed him.
And GWB, in his first incarnation, leaned heavily to the right. Sure there were indications of his real direction, but at the time, he walked the walk. Bush cannot be thought of as charismatic, and his mumbling, stuttering speech is infamous.
From the opposing view, lets not forget that king of charisma, Romney, with his slicked back hair and Dentyne schwing, who had a terrible time beating back dumpy ol' Huckabee and his Christian Right brigade... And Alan Keyes, who is simply brilliant, and a magnificent orator, perhaps the best I have ever heard, who cannot get enough face time to matter...
Yes Reagan had it all, but others got it done too- The problem lies in their betrayal. I would trade one real solid Conservative with a real solid record (subliminal mssg: Duncan Hunter) for ten charismatic betrayers. Do not fall for such fallacy.
What is necessary is to follow the recipe. A Conservative who adheres to the principles of all three pillars, and has the record to prove it. Damn the party, and damn the media. Lift him up, and he will win.
I don’t think it even means that. A conservative is someone who thinks you should be able to keep 25% of your income in New Jersey, Massachussetts, New York, or Illinois. A liberal in those states thinks you should keep nothing, as it wasn’t yours, and you only got it because you exploited the system.
This is essentially an anomalous situation that will not long obtain. Either the Democrats will wise up and find a way between now and November 2010 to posture as the great entitlement givers or they will find a way, as they have every election cycle, to libel the Republicans as satanic princes who would take away their Social Security.
By the way, This is an enjoyable little conundrum you've raised here.
I have been recently toying with a device to facilitate returning unconstitutional federal departments to the pervue of the states where they rightfully belong...
The problem with these programs lie in the fact that they are federally administered and mandated - It is nearly impossible to wholly abolish them without catastrophic and very real damage to those who have grown to rely upon them. Yet the money for the program, and the deals being lobbied against it are far removed from the people, and from the states.
What I would propose as an interim device is a federal level office, much as it is now, but with a very limited federal interface. Perhaps a congressional committee. The real working administration of the fund, and it's power, would be appointed by the states severally - perhaps by each Governor's office - with it's offices further distributed into each state.
This would have the immediate effect of confounding the lobbyists, and placing the power of the federal department in the hands of the states severally, albeit a hybrid, still and all, a closer fit to the Constitutional norm. Being an interim device, for use primarily until the federal debt is resolved, the intent would be to collapse the system into the states singly, where such a thing would rightly belong, if such a thing is necessary at all, and where the people have direct control of their representatives.
I would particularly like to see this contraption employed upon the Department of Education - Gutting it at the federal level for everything except leveling funds and standards, leaving all the rest for the states to figure out for themselves.
As a small minority, they support and hire each other. Once you get a homosexual in a management position, more will be hired. It works the same way with other small minority groups, too, of course.
They are probably a bit more than 2%, especially if you include bi-sexuals.
That 2% or whatever it is probably makes up 30%-40% of the white liberal population.
They’ve been successful in networking and forming alliances as well as emulating the civil rights movement in exploiting white, middle—class guilt. Plus, most of them are, in my experience, natural bitchers and complainers who use pressure and persistance to get their way.
You put your finger on turn out although you do not use the term. I think that is the remaining hope for the conservative cause as it faces a daunting wall of obstacles in the next election. We must keep in mind that the numbers I have quoted were of "voters" but even in a national election for President, the intensity factor never much exceeds 55% (56.8% in' 08) and in the mid-to high 30% range for midterms (37.1% in' 06) That leaves a lot of room for play, especially in 2010. It is in this context that I accept your argument that what the conservative message needs is conservatism. There are a lot of conservatives out there who do not vote because they have become sick and tired of being treated as redheaded stepchildren. So, if we could have converted 4.8% of the Democrat voters we would have won the last election. Equally, if we could have found 7% or 8% of nonvoters to support the Republicans, we would have won. Between these two blocks it is possible, I think, to close the gap.
And this is where the argument that this is a conservative nation comes in. When an issue arises such as the governance provided by Barack Obama in busting the budget with porkulus, the budget itself, Cap and Trade, and healthcare, voter intensity increases. But for every 10 new voters lured to the polls conservatives will get a majority perhaps as many as seven. We already know from a recent gallop poll that Obama's preference among unaffiliated voters has slipped to 50/50. So not only would he be losing new voters, he would be losing independents who likely voted for him last time around.
Incidentally, I especially agree with your gripe about energy and the missed opportunity. Months before the '06 election I posted a a reply predicting the 2006 disaster and suggesting what might be done while we still controlled the House:
1. Republicans are likely to lose the House this fall because they overspent, they failed to enforce the laws that would have sealed the border and drained away illegal immigration, and the war in Iraq has gone sour.
2. When the Republicans lose the house the present Senate bill will look very good indeed because there then will be no barrier in the House, the Senate, or the White House to the virtual abandonment of the borders.
3. If we lose the Senate as well as the House, there will be utterly no restraints on immigration because the President is simply philosophically opposed to any limitation on immigration.
4. The truth is that conservatism has lost its hold on the Republican Party and, whether we want it or not, we are now about to face our time in the wilderness. Blame is equally to be shared by senators, representatives, and the president. Thieves and Rinos and porkers in the Senate, thieves and porkers in the House, and a President who is utterly abdicated his sworn duty to enforce immigration laws and who has committed one public-relations disaster after another from Harriet Myers to Katrina and who has deliberately validated our enemies as persons, and who has handed over to them our educational system, our prescription drug system, and our federal budget, all have combined to put conservatism in a coma for awhile.
5. The house should pass the most restrictive immigration law it can muster and create the issue for the election.
6. The house should pass every conceivable energy measure such as drilling in Anwar, drilling offshore and around Florida etc. providing for refineries, providing for nuclear power plants and let the Democrats and the Rinos oppose them and create a climate in which the people can direct their rage about gas prices at the Democrats.
7. The reality is of course is it's all too late for this and any other intelligent policies which might have saved the Republican Party from the disaster which is facing us. Many of our problems have been brought on by Iraq and there too we could have done much better in a public-relations sense. Alas it is all too late now. There is nothing left but to go the polls and vote for the most conservative man on the ticket who has a chance of winning. Let's fight the good fight and go down like soldiers.
A whole lot of Americans are just fair-minded people who try to avoid cynicism by giving others the benefit of the doubt.
Zippy ran as a moderate and millions of voters accepted his words at face value without doing much research and without much concern for what was at stake.
That can be termed stupidity but I think it was more a case of the Obamanoids exploiting the natural good will of the American people with lies, subterfuge, and misrepresentations.
One think about us dumb Americans, however—when we realize we’ve been lied to we can be a mighty nasty bunch.
Franklin Roosevelt federalized patronage that formerly had been controlled by the big-city bosses. Before that, I think under Wilson, we federalized the income tax through amendment(we don't bother with amendments much anymore; we usually get the court to ratify the process of federalization) and provided the means to shift the patronage of the city to the feds. So instead of boss Hague in Jersey City bragging that everybody in Jersey City, or at least one of his relatives, was on his payroll. Now everybody or one of his relatives is on Social Security. Social Security sure beats a Christmas turkey.
Under these conditions there is simply not the political will to accomplish what you, me, and Justice Scalia think the Constitution requires. The game was over after the court packing scheme did not succeed in packing the court but did succeed in intimidating it into rubber stamping the federalization of everything.
This is disheartening, but I have suspected these things for some time. It appears that under the present circumstances, that once the generation of older white voters dies, conservatives are in deep doo-doo. The Alinskyites have done their work well, especially in their infiltration of the “chokepoints”, and in appealing to people’s sense of “entitlement”, and in undermining people’s patriotism and belief in or concern for overarching American principles.
But how does that add up to this poll which states that a majority self-identify as “conservative”?