In a recent article, columnist Ari Berman discussed this idea that has been kicked around in the last few years that there is a demographic tidal wave coming that is going to usher in a new age of Democratic, hard left progressive dominance.
Quite a few people started to buy into this idea a couple years back, after the 2006 takeover of DC by the Democrats, and the as the Obama campaign phenomenon emerged, but is there any truth to it? Do demographics really determine our political destiny?
Hubristically Ignoring Centrist Swing Voters = Pendulum Politics
But wait – weren’t Republicans saying the same sort of thing just a few years ago? How quickly things turn around, no? Where is that ‘red sea, as far as the eye can see’?
In short, it led to overblown hubris, and ignoring centrists even more than that did before, which led to a wave election that gave them split government. Yet again, if that sounds familiar, it’s probably because that is what we’ll be seeing in about three months, when that blind hubris strikes the Democratic Party for ignoring the centrist swing voters that ushered them into office.
For those with a short memory, the book describing the coming of a future blue America (‘The Emerging Democratic Majority’, by John Judis and Ruy Teixeira) had a predecessor by the name of ‘Painting the Map Red: The Fight to Create a Permanent Republican Majority’, that I actually read years back (and is presumably residing in one of the many boxes of books I’ve got in my basement), that claimed that 2006 was going to bring a deeper shade of red to the American political map.
What is the pattern behind this? Besides the myopia that leads to partisans on both ends to think that the country is coming around to their way of seeing things, or even the ridiculous claim that centrists don’t exist, a pattern that has been emerging in more recent times is the increasing pace of pendulum like action by swing voters.
Immoderate Partisan Blindness Causing Pendulum Pace to Increase
Whereas before, when it took years for a party to so push the majority to being fed up with them that they would swing and usher in their opposition, now it’s taking just a handful of years.
Republicans came into power in the late 90’s, peaking with the total control of DC with George W. Bush and a Republican congress. Their excesses pushed the pendulum back to the left in under ten years, a record from my understanding, ushering in the Democrats in 2006. Now, just four years later, we’re looking at a disastrous mid term election for the Democrats, with the pendulum again swinging away from the party in power.
The wool has been pulled from our eyes. Those of us who aren’t zealots see the corruption of both parties, see through the talking points that both parties pull out of a hat after they’ve made it through the primaries and start pretending they’re moderates just enough to get some of us to choose them as the lesser evil. More and more of us are swinging not just to the other side, but stopping mid swing and giving up on both.
Though still relatively rare, we’re looking for other options, and – slowly but surely, starting to find them in candidates like Eliot Cutler in Maine. We’re finally finding organizations to join, and centrist third parties like the Independent Party of Oregon and the Independence Party of Minnesota, both growing powers in their own states that other states are working on emulating.
The consensus on the left seems to be that they’re losing because they just didn’t go aggressively liberal enough, and just haven’t delivered. Frankly, I hope they keep those blinders on, because they’re pushing more people into the center every day by ignoring that the American people are turned off by their pushing the agenda too far to the left, and their drunken sailor-esque spending.