Thursday, March 25, 2021

Can the Democrats Capture the Political Center?

In my new piece for The Liberal Patriot, I argue that they can, but it won't be easy.
"The Democrats appear to have a simple two prong strategy for capturing the political center and holding (hopefully expanding) their razor thin Congressional majorities in 2022. The first prong is to end the covid pandemic, revive the economy and deliver benefits widely within the American electorate. This approach is encapsulated in the American Rescue Plan, which has been wildly popular with the public. All communities (except the rich) are seen as benefiting from the plan—white, black, Hispanic; cities, suburbs and rural areas. And Americans across lines of race and class believe they personally will benefit from the plan. In fact, white noncollege adults are significantly more likely than their white college counterparts to believe they themselves will benefit from the plan and even somewhat more likely than Hispanics....
So….what could go wrong? That brings us to the second prong of the Democrats’ strategy: trying not to engage in culture wars conflicts. This makes sense for the Democrats’ current purposes of fast action out of the gates, passing and popularizing the American Rescue Plan and so on. It is far less clear this is a sustainable approach. Indeed, it is perilously close to assuming a problem will go away if you ignore it. The fact of the matter is that Democrats’ approach in the American Rescue Plan and their general economic approach is centrist in the sense that it corresponds to the center of gravity of American public opinion.
This cannot be said of a wide variety of cultural issues that have come to the fore in Democratic party circles and have vigorous advocates within those circles and more broadly in Democratic-adjacent nonprofits, media and academic institutions. These cannot be said to be centrist in any sense of the term and are typically embraced by only a small percentage of voters overall and are not generally majoritarian even within the Democratic party itself."
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot. And subscribe!

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