Well, a lot of of people fear and lament about what’s happened to the culture, the political rifts, and where it’s going. Well, I ain’t happy with all the changes to the culture, but I think I’ve a pretty good idea where we’re heading, and it’s a better place than where we are.
What gives me optimism is looking at history, and observing what dynamics should be in play to affect change. I dare say, if you look at the past successes and the like, like this book here http://www.amazon.com/The-Progress-Paradox-Better-People/dp/0812973038 does, for instance, well, movement seems inevitable, socially, at least.
The left accuses the right as being reactionary, which it is. And yet, for all the left’s emphasis on diversity, it’s left a good many feeling excluded, if the election results of the last twenty, thirty years are any indication. The left does not appreciate this fact.
And why should they? any political movement reacts first to its base than anything else, and it’s culturally energized, if nothing else. Ah, but its economic underpinnings have slipped, and this tells an interesting story, primarily explaining recent Republican successes.
The current Democratic coalition more or less dates back to the New Deal Era, when unions were a rising economic force, composed of poor white immigrants, yet waiting to be enfranchised politically. Unions crested in the early sixties, and so did the coalition’s heyday, suffering twin beatings from both the Reagan Revolution, and the Gingrichian one in 1994.
So what did it mean for the coalition? It meant that key parts of their coalition felt more enfranchised, and thus were no longer voting like they used to. As a result, to deal with the less radicalized electorate, leaders like Bill Clinton shifted tack accordingly.
But still, the key theme of the coalition is enfranchisement, and that leaves blacks, women, and Hispanics. Still, I see that as capable of unraveling for them, too. George Bush’s Latino success in 2004 shows that if the GOP can ever get past their Tea Party period sans destructing, they possess appeal towards them.
Add that’s where full enfranchisement occurs, I believe, with both parties competing for the same group, and not just writing it off. Not all parts of the Republican Party are anti-immigrant, and where they aren’t, they’ve had a pretty fair amount of success.
The monolithic black bloc’s 90% solidity has to crumble at some point for the same reasons I’ve cited; it’s just not natural, and under the surface, things have changed a lot since 1964. Back then, their middle class was around 20%, but now, it’s more than double. Even liberal pollsters expect hear from them at some point, and think Bill Cosby’s Detroit speech is a harbinger, as was their lack of anger over Trayvon Martin, if you look at the polls.
That group of black ministers who were angered over Barack Obama’s shifting stance on homosexuality, is yet another. The Hispanics Bush attracted in 2004, you know, weren’t Catholic, but rather evangelicals. Were an Exodus of black middle class voters from the Democrats to occur, I would hazard a guess that it would begin with them as well.
That leaves the female bloc, or, should I place more accurate, the feminist one. Out of the the whole population of women, only a hard core of ten, fifteen percent votes determinedly Democratic, yet possesses undue cultural influence. Unlike blacks and Hispanics, whose blocs are far bigger, proportionally, I can’t see how this one will dissipate.
Feminism came from the middle class, so in that way, they’re already enfranchised, but between abortion and the trouble these career women have raising a family while working, I just can’t see this bloc going away, even if pay equality were achieved. Shrinking, yes, but not beyond that.
Still, I think the evidence is clear that political shifts occur when the bases shift, and that usually occurs after economic shifts, though the exact triggers can be cultural, or whatever. Overall, I think the social center of gravity is shifting in the conservatives’ favor, and here’s why.
Liberals may groan about conservatives wanting to turn back the clock, but that’s not practical, and through the force of liberal culture, conservatives themselves are far more liberal than even a generation before. Still, conservatives feel disenfranchised, and as a result, they elect folks that represent them, namely angry and suspicious.
Liberals themselves have gotten more conservative fiscally, following Reagan and Gingrich, but they’ll never come to terms with their obsessive focus on race and the like until their bases starts to desert them, though. Instead, they’ll just keep on saying nothing’s changed, until the day everyone wakes up, and realizes it has.
Politics is dirty, and so is our culture, but you know why conservatism will prevail? Lower center of gravity!
Well, that, and a moreenergized political base. It’ll show in the long.