Thursday, March 16, 2017
Why Parties Swing to Extremes When they Lose
When a party loses an election, it seems they become even more extreme.
When the Republicans lost the Presidency and House and Senate in the 2008 elections, the Republicans didn't sit back and say, "Gee, how did we lose middle-America to the Democrats? Maybe we need to hone our message more to the middle-of-the-road independent voter!"
Instead, they formed the "Tea Party" and activisits decried "RINOs" - Republicans In Name Only - who were deemed "too liberal" to be Republicans and the reason why they lost.
It was, to say the least, delusional and out-of-step with mainstream America. And mainstream America is where the votes are.
But they soldiered on, not winning seats from Democrats, but taking away seats from entrenched Republican moderates. And when they got into the House and Senate, they broke a lot of china, but never managed to really accomplish much.
Today, the Republicans control the House and Senate - mostly what would be considered moderate Republicans by today's standards. They won the Presidency by a whisker, but didn't so much win as Hillary lost. And there is a difference.
Sadly, it seems in politics in America these days, we have two extremes, and the government changes hands every four to eight years when the voters get sick of one extreme or the other.
Today, after losing House, Senate, and Presidency, the Democrats are repeating the Republicans' error. They cry out that the reason why they lost was that they weren't liberal enough. If only Comrade Sanders got the nomination! He would have won for sure! Or maybe Trump would have gotten that popular vote and landslide that he won in his imagination. I think the latter is closer to the truth.
The reality is, of course, that about 80% of the voters live in the middle-of-the-road. They want fiscal responsibility and a strong defense. They don't want to cut off grandma's social security, however. They want people off welfare, but don't want them to starve, either. They want equal rights for everyone, but not special treatment for any one group. They are in favor of gay marriage, but not men in drag using the ladies' room. They favor legalized pot, but don't want their son or daughter smoking it.
Yes, they are a bundle of contradictions, which is why both parties, on occasion, can snare their votes, usually after the opposing party has blundered enough for the voters to ignore the most odious aspects of the opposing party.
So here we are again. And the party out-of-power is holding demonstrations, shouting down any opposition, and holding up pictures of the President with a Hitler mustache. Gee, where have I seen this before? Oh, right, at a tea party rally, eight years ago.
I thought that Trump sign looked familiar....
But some folks aren't buying it, and this article in New York magazine makes the point, using actual data, that leftist politics doesn't defeat right-wing politics, but rather enables it. The Left, once in power, goes so far to the Left that they lose touch with the voters. The voters then hold their nose and vote for the other extreme.
Trump succeeded where Hillary failed by realizing there was a lot of anxiety about Islamic terrorism in the world. And make no mistake about it, it is terrorism fueled by religious fervor. The Left, trying to be "politically correct" decried this, pointing out that most muslims are not terrorists. However, it doesn't take a fool to see that a lot of Muslims hold beliefs that are really incompatible with Western-style Democratic beliefs. Just because someone says they won't blow you up, doesn't mean their beliefs in Sharia law and honor killings are acceptable.
Americans were uncomfortable with the changes Obama had wrought. It was too much, too fast, too soon for middle-America. The Democrats came across as tone-deaf and instituting policies that knew what was best for us - whether we liked it or not.
Now, you can argue that this is wrong - and I may agree with you on all of it. But the key is, the perception is what counts. And the perception was, we were entering into a nanny-state, and the way Obamacare was implemented is a classic example of that. The government knows best- but of course the plan they create for us, they themselves will never use!
We will see this trend continue in the next few years. The Democrats are all but kneeling to Comrade Sanders of the Socialist Party - forgetting for an instant that he never was a Democrat himself. They will put up "populist" candidates and lose, at least in elections in contested States. It is possible that far-left candidates may challenge entrenched Democratic leaders and win, much as the Tea Party did to the Republicans. In any event, nothing will get accomplished, except 5,000 meaningless votes to "repeal and replace" TrumpCare.
Same shit, different day. And the real idiots are the folks caught up in these "causes" who are convinced that extremist politics are the answers to their personal problems. They aren't, and these causistas become embittered when their favorite candidate doesn't change the world for them, or pay off their credit card debt.
Because when you get right down to it, they are the same people - externalizers. Right-wing or Left-wing, they are convinced that their lives will be better only if "their" candidate wins and only when their brand of politics rules the day.
Since the latter rarely happens, they have a ready-made excuse why their lives are such abject failures.
Nothing they did, of course!