Thursday, February 11 , 2016, 8:40 pm | Fair 57º

David Harsanyi: Democrats Are the Silent Majority — For Now

By David Harsanyi | @davidharsanyi |

Don’t get too depressed, Republicans; the national decline will be divvied up justly. After all, in a liberal nation, there is no higher calling than fairness.

And a liberal nation it is. The electorate is complicated, and factors of culture and geography can dictate party identification more than any specific policy. And yes, the Republicans rolled out some ghastly candidates. But that shouldn’t fool anyone; there’s been a fundamental shift in how Americans view government’s role in society, and the GOP is losing the argument.

There was no theoretical hope peddling this time around. There was a record. And President Barack Obama also promised the most explicitly left-wing agenda in presidential history — more government, more taxes, more dependency, more bailouts, more regulations — and he won easily. He promised universal health care, more crony “investments” in proven economic losers, more interference in markets — yet he cruised.

Conservatives may be shocked by statist slogans such as the Democratic National Convention’s “government’s the only thing that we all belong to,” and they may be scandalized when they hear a candidate say “you didn’t build that,” but their neighbors ... well, not so much. When you can’t beat a candidate who — judging him on his own terms — owns both a brutal economic record on jobs (this is the first time since FDR that a president has won re-election with an unemployment rate this high) and the feeblest economic recovery in the nation’s history, it’s time to rethink what you’re doing.

No doubt, the battle for the future of the Republican Party will set the same exhausted factions against each other — moderate vs. conservative. It’s the wrong fight. Moderate Mitt Romney lost. Severely conservative Mitt lost. Candidates from both GOP camps lost all over the map, as well. In American politics, one can’t be more reasonable than Scott Brown or more of an ideologue than Elizabeth Warren, yet look how that turned out. John Kerry lost his bid pretending to be a moderate, and Obama won by embracing the progressive left of his party. After the GOP 2010 midterm victory, the president didn’t moderate; he doubled down.

I’d like to see Republicans change their tone and stands on a number of issues, but across-the-board moderating for its own sake is a soulless exercise and a losing proposition. Washington insiders might be astounded, but there are still people in this country who believe in things. But there are an array of issues and an array of solutions and an array of ways to approach them. They want to convince, not surrender.

Optics, rhetoric and perception matter. If Republicans have any hope of persuading independents, they’ll need charismatic people, people who look and sound like a modern America and not a boardroom of Brahmin, because real-world competency is no match for fresh packaging and a good slogan. Welcome to democracy.

The fight starts in Congress. You’ve no doubt heard that the House is crammed with hard-core right-wingers, folks who have the temerity to represent constituents and take conservative positions. Well, this is also the most left-wing Senate in history. Warren, Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, et al., vote with socialist Bernie Sanders because — despite a gag order on the pundit class — by European standards, that’s exactly what they are.

Whether Republicans mean what they say or not, there will be a distinct debate over the direction of the nation. Right now, left-wing economic populism is the political center. Republicans have a lot of the wrong people in a lot of the right places to change that. If that stands, they’ve lost for good.

David Harsanyi is a columnist and senior reporter at Human Events. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him. Follow him on Twitter: @davidharsanyi.

» on 11.07.12 @ 11:53 PM

Oh, give it a break, you decisive idiot.

» on 11.08.12 @ 10:49 AM

Total nonsense.  If there was a moderate in this campaign, it was Obama.  It was Mitt Romney who initially took a hard right turn, then tried to scramble back toward the center, because that’s where most of the votes are.  However, he couldn’t escape his own record or his own words.

What Americans want most is not a handout but for government to perform the essential functions required in a modern, complex, and fast-changing society: in the words of the Preamble of our Constitution, to “provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”  Obama has performed well on all those measures, whether in terms of national security, health care, education, critical investments in research and infrastructure, response to natural or man-made disasters, or protections against economic abuses and exploitation.  Not perfect, but more than adequate.

He deserved reelection.

» on 11.08.12 @ 01:10 PM

“What Americans want most is not a handout but for government to perform the essential functions required in a modern, complex, and fast-changing society”

Don’t have a problem with the first part of the above sentence, but based on a lifetime of experience with government, the second part is highly doubtful. Performing functions in a “complex” and “fast changing” society are not what govt does well and no amount of wishing or hoping is going to change this.

I thought it was interesting that people 18-25 years old heavily voted for Obama but that changes as they get older. Not surprising.

The supreme irony of Obama’s election is the people who supported him the most are the very people who have gotten hurt the most by his policies. The 1 to 5% will be okay either way; it is everyone else who better worry.

» on 11.10.12 @ 03:16 PM

Obama was a moderate? Drmerk, you gotta lay off the Kool-aid. Obama was the most leftist, progressive, liberal president this country has ever had. His predecessors, Wilson and FDR were a close second. The only reason we don’t speak Swedish socialist nanny state right now is that Obama is one of the weakest, inexperienced presidents we have ever had.

You dopes own the show now. Lets see how well you grow an economy with a welfare state.

» on 11.10.12 @ 05:08 PM

Dear AN50:

Get a life.

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