The Left Eating Itself & The Right Growing Fat

For Whom The Bell Tolls

  • Unfortunately, the Left has a propensity to imbibe demographic and identity politics determinism
  • Most citizens process political information in deeply biased, partisan, motivated ways rather than dispassionate, rational ways
  • Progressives should incorporate this willfully abandoned religious dimension into their conversations and debates

To fathom the powerful currents shaping the future of the Democratic Party, it is crucial that we examine and evaluate the forces and events that propelled Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States in 2008. 

It is also critical that we assess and reflect on the decidedly shocking and seemingly incomprehensible election of President Trump in 2016.

One of the most significant reasons for the electoral defeat of Hillary Clinton two years ago was that the female Democratic candidate was too far removed from the young and the disaffected, a popular base that would have probably voted for a Democratic candidate other than the wife of the former president of the United States.

Many are contending that there should be room in the Democratic Party for a revitalized center-left platform consisting of sensible socioeconomic proposals and policies based on solid principles, as opposed to the current overblown and far-fetched euphoria of an impending and sweeping anti-Trump Democratic wave.

Unfortunately, the Left has a propensity to imbibe demographic and identity politics determinism.

Since Americans are becoming more tolerant of same-sex marriage, consequently more voters will support the Democratic Party. More and more Americans are horrified and disgusted by the rampant and indiscriminate school shootings, therefore more voters will back Democratic candidates.

This logic is flawed and injurious to any meaningful effort to recapture the House of Representatives, the Senate, and some governorships. It is disheartening and frustrating that every day political pundits, mostly from the Left, are accusing the current occupant of the White House of distorting the truth and proffering falsehood, but to no avail.

Even some who support Trump acknowledge that he is misrepresenting facts and misinterpreting historical events.

Most citizens process political information in deeply biased, partisan, motivated ways rather than dispassionate, rational ways.

Let’s remember that Trump was elected in spite of his objectionable and offensive behavior…

THE PERVASIVE NATURE OF AFFECTIVE POLARIZATION

Recent studies have shown that there is a rise in affective polarization, the notion that partisans increasingly dislike and distrust supporters of the other party. People increasingly report being upset by the possibility of their children marrying someone of the other party and say that they are less likely to make friends with opposing partisans.

The new Montagues and Capulets… How pathetic and disturbing…

Many, if not most, people tend to loathe people who disagree with them, holding that people with alternative worldviews are dumb, evil, self-centered, or at best, profoundly misguided.

Furthermore, partisanship influences economic behavior and its effect on economic decisions is not only real but often significant, extending throughout the electorate.

As a result, partisanship has become a powerful social identity that shapes behavior. It signals one’s values and worldview.

Contrary to popular belief, economic mobility in the United States (the so-called land of opportunity) is waning and the socioeconomic ladder is unsteady and slippery. In essence, your existential ladder is mostly determined by your family’s socioeconomic status.

American society displays a comparatively higher income inequality and intergenerational earnings mobility than other industrialized countries, which makes any upward movement on the socioeconomic ladder disconcertingly difficult.

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ELECTORAL SUCCESS

Upon analyzing President Obama’s electoral success in 2008, we come across a game plan, a sensible approach, to develop a strategy for winning the Democratic nomination that relied on assembling the same coalition of black and white liberals that had enabled him to succeed in Illinois, with an additional focus on young voters. His opponent was Hillary Clinton.

Obama was elected nicely on November 4, 2008.

He defeated the Republican presidential candidate McCain by 53 percent to 46 percent in the national popular vote. Exit polls revealed that the two candidates broke even among voters who had participated in the 2004 election. But Obama built his majority among first-time voters who surged to the polls in 2008, many of them young or African American.

In the Electoral College, Obama prevailed by a margin of 365 to 173. While carrying all of the traditionally “blue” states in the Northeast, Pacific Coast, and Great Lakes region, Obama built his majority by winning previously “red” states such as Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Colorado.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s miscalculations, hubris, and disdain of certain cultural and socioeconomic groups cost her the presidency. Her blunders were eminently avoidable.

There is a lot to be learned from the 2016 presidential election.

INCOME INEQUALITY: A HIDDEN BLESSING OR CURSE?

People resent when society permits huge inequalities. Some say income inequality is the inevitable result of economic growth, which is needed to generate wealth and improve the Gross Domestic Income.

However, income inequality that economically immobilizes large segments of a society is objectionable and undesirable, especially if it undermines equality of economic opportunity and erodes the fairness of political institutions and the judicial system.

Let’s not forget, progressives and conservatives alike, that many of the West’s deepest convictions about equality and inequality are fundamentally Christian in origin.

Progressives should incorporate this willfully abandoned religious dimension into their conversations and debates about income inequality.

Likewise, conservatives should not misinterpret, distort, or altogether purge the basic Christian tenets of human worth, dignity, and equality from their value-system.

As Lincoln wrote, “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.”

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

Liberals have a propensity to assail and decry people, including progressives, when they do not follow their identity politics pathway and checklist. It is rather deplorable since Liberals are known for their more tolerant and inclusive attitude…

For example, two years ago, advocates of transgender rights have criticized author Ian McEwan for comments that appeared to question the right of transgender people to choose their gender and restroom.

Despite the fact that the English author is considered a secular liberal, people on the Left vilified and antagonized him. This is a microcosm of the Left’s, at least some of them, reaction to internal dissent and criticism. This treatment epitomizes the antithesis of how to build a broad coalition to win elections and make meaningful reforms more viable and sustainable.

Although candidate and President Trump upped the ante in the so-called “Say it as you see it” vulgarized and coarse discourse, Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee just followed in the footsteps of the leader of the free world. We shouldn’t be surprised to see more and more people, including celebrities, to “say it as they see it” because they “can” do it and, apparently, it makes them feel good.

The Left needs to be more mindful of culturally and socially divisive issues that might alienate more segments of the population and, as a result, lose potential and key voters.

Yes, the Left needs voters who are going to make a significant difference in this year’s midterm elections.

Adding millions of Democratic-leaning voters to California or New York electorates, although laudable, might not make a huge impact on the outcome of the elections because of the intricacies of the American electoral system and its convoluted congressional map.

THE LEFT EATING ITSELF

How can you make the Democratic Party, the Left, the Progressives, the Liberals, more appealing and trustworthy?

I don’t think there is a serious attempt to address this fundamental issue. Internal fragmentation and self-inflicting wounds are damaging the image of the party. Also, and unfortunately, there is no plan of action.

We were shocked and unprepared for the 2016 results.. Will it be different in 2018? I don’t believe many of us have learned from the 2016 campaign and election.

 

 

About the author

Vahe Tcharkhoutian is the founder and editor of Los Angeles Intelligence. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Science [American Politics] and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration. He currently teaches in Glendale, California.

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