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Radicalization: “Democrats have moved left far more than Republicans have moved right”

Radicalization: “Democrats have moved left far more than Republicans have moved right”

Former Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum:  “It is not conservatives who have turned American politics into a culture war battle. It is liberals.”

Kevin Drum, a former Mother Jones writer, had a post on July 3 that popped up on our radar, then dropped off. But it’s worth mentioning, if for no other reason than it confirms what we already knew: Democrats have become radicalized, Republicans have remained pretty much the same.

That is not the media narrative. Radicalized Republicans is the media narrative.

From Drum’s post, If you hate the culture wars, blame liberals:

On Thursday I posted a series of charts that all documented a similar theme: Since roughly the year 2000, according to survey data, Democrats have moved significantly to the left on most hot button social issues while Republicans have moved only slightly right.

This wasn’t meant to be a rigorous scholarly analysis. And you can argue about margins of error, question wording, choice of topics, and so forth. Still, the gaps are too big and the trend too consistent to ignore the obvious conclusion that over the past two decades Democrats have moved left far more than Republicans have moved right …. [chart]

I’ve made this point many times before, and I want to make it again more loudly and more plainly today. It is not conservatives who have turned American politics into a culture war battle. It is liberals. And this shouldn’t come as a surprise: Almost by definition, liberals are the ones pushing for change while conservatives are merely responding to whatever liberals do. More specifically, progressives have been bragging publicly about pushing the Democratic Party leftward since at least 2004—and they’ve succeeded.

Now, I’m personally happy about most of this. But that doesn’t blind me to the fact that “personally happy” means nothing in politics. What matters is what the median voter feels, and Democrats have been moving further and further away from the median voter for years: [chart]

Law Professor David Bernstein, responding to the article, pointed to the radicalization of academia as one culprit:

Here’s Drum’s summation, pointing to the precarious position DEMOCRATS are in because of their relative radicalization (again, not the usual narrative):

Here’s the nickel summary of all this:

  • Since 1994, Democrats have moved left far more than Republicans have moved right.
  • This has produced lots of safe states in liberal places like California and Massachusetts but has steadily pulled Democrats farther and farther away from median states like Iowa and Ohio.
  • Recently, white academic theories of racism—and probably the whole woke movement in general—have turned off many moderate Black and Hispanic voters.¹ Ditto for liberal dismissal of crime and safety issues. Hispanics in particular moved in Trump’s direction despite—or maybe because of—his position on immigration and the wall.
  • Democrats will remain on an electoral knife edge forever unless they can pull themselves back toward the center.

Democrats are far more radical than during the Obama years. The Culture War is far more intense now because Democrats and Leftists smell blood in the water, using the full prosecutorial and police power of the state for a repressive political agenda.


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From where I sit in my little corner of flyover country, I submit that “Republicans” would have to move considerably to the Right to actually be on the Right. As it is, they are the “near left” while Democrats are the “extreme left”.

    JHogan in reply to Rusty Bill. | July 12, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    I read somewhere that “Republicans” are basically Democrats minus ten years. I’d say it’s closer to five.

    For 30 years the GOPe has stayed just a little to the right of the Dems. As the Dems moved further and further left. They pandered to the rubes and deplorables at election time and collected donations. While delivering nothing to their voting base and making deals with the Marxists.

    We have been governed by a Uniparty that only recently exposed itself for all, not just an enlightened few, to see. Its reaction to Trump forced it to expose itself. And all its corruption and lying duplicitous power drunk ugliness.

      Ben Kent in reply to JHogan. | July 13, 2021 at 9:06 am

      Let’s be clear. You are talking about ESTABLISHMENT Republicans who are only a shade of difference from ESTABLISHMENT Democrats.

      The Establishment wing of the parties believe the people are to be RULED. That power comes from the government. The POPULISTS believe power comes from the people with the R and D split based on the extent you mean “people” as individual vs “people” as the collective group.

        Neo in reply to Ben Kent. | July 13, 2021 at 10:47 am

        Example: Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi

        mark311 in reply to Ben Kent. | July 14, 2021 at 7:29 am

        With respect when you look at the issues raised by Drum he is talking about issues like same sex marriage, abortion, taxation, gun laws and religiousity. These issues are only considered left wing in context of American politics. Everywhere else considers these normal things. So it’s a view point which isn’t particularly interesting.

    You beat me to the punch! Regardless of what Kevin Drum says, Republicans have moved Left, not Right. On a host of issues (the deficit, border security, privatizing Social Security, eliminating the worse-than-useless Departments of Energy and Education, repealing Obamacare) the GOP has veered sharply Left. The Republican Party significantly weakened our national defense by throwing away tens of thousands of lives in two Forever Wars in the Middle East (we ended up losing both of them anyway), and by turning a blind eye to the “Woke-ification” of the Pentagon.

    Even now Republican leaders are telling us that gun control is actually good, that it’s time to let DIDs (Dudes In Dresses) use the girls’ locker rooms, and that maybe we have too much religious freedom.

    If it weren’t for Trump, the culture war would already be over. The Republicans continue to do their part in shifting the Overton window to the far left. If McConnell isn’t replaced soon it will be over.

healthguyfsu | July 12, 2021 at 9:02 pm

Thanks MJ but you might as well say water = wet

No matter which direction these four morons move in, they’ll never be anything but morons.

They’re irrelevant to our lives, except as a disease.

Democrats are far more radical than during the Obama years.

I don’t think this is true. They’ve just come out of the closet.

Obama was a closet Marxist. He hid it to get elected. His rhetoric was deliberately moderated.

It is now far more obvious obvious he completely agreed with Jeremiah Wright (I always thought he did). And with Ayers and other Marxist radicals. He has since revealed himself for what he always was. As has the Democrat party.

This is another thing we can thank Trump for. If not for Trump they would have continued to hide what they really were. Thinking it politically prudent.

henrybowman | July 12, 2021 at 9:34 pm

Who do we care if Democrats “move towards the center?”
They are finally showing us what is in their hearts.
Anything different from now on is just a mask, and won’t fool us.

    JHogan in reply to henrybowman. | July 12, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    The mask is off and they can never effectively put it back on.

    Ben Kent in reply to henrybowman. | July 13, 2021 at 9:12 am

    We can never unsee the extent to which our own countrymen are willing to undermine our country. They stoke racial animosity and division and open borders and raid the country’s treasury to fund their radical campaign.

    35 years ago these people would have been tried for treason – today they are in power.

The democrats are going for the women’s vote, with feelings over structure. The republicans are holding to structure to hold the men’s vote but making a show of being empathetic in all things to nibble at the women’s vote.

At bottom, it’s media-driven. There’s no market for hard news on the left or the right so hard news can’t pay the daily bills (eyeballs are the product and they’re sold to advertisers). But soap opera women (40% of women) will watch every day, news or no news, so long as there is soap opera. That’s what’s now called the left’s narrative, and it will always conform to soap opera, with the same victims and the same villains.

In reaction, there’s a right wing business model that reports on the idiocy of what the left is saying now.

The ultimate game though is at bottom men against women.

    Ben Kent in reply to rhhardin. | July 13, 2021 at 9:20 am


    The left is all about style and virtue signaling, dramatic narrative and rumor. The right is about substance, facts and logic.

    Women are more susceptible to the lies the left tell. But I know many women who now see through all that bullshit. And once a women realizes she has been deceived – watch out. Women are less likely to forgive and forget. That why I think Dems will have a problem with women in future years. Once women leave the Dems – they are unlikely to go back.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Ben Kent. | July 13, 2021 at 11:28 pm

      As Jordan Peterson points out, there are many studies of the psychological makeup of men and women, and one of the characteristics in which they differ is “agreeableness,” with women consistently rating as much more agreeable than men. This means that women are more susceptible to “going along to get along” than men who tend to stand their ground.

      I wonder how old the studies are, and if there is now a trend (considering the femininization of men) of convergence between men in women in this characteristic.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | July 13, 2021 at 12:52 am

The Culture War is far more intense now because Democrats and Leftists smell blood in the water, using the full prosecutorial and police power of the state for a repressive political agenda

It’s not a “culture war”. It’s a war of annihilation that the left is running … and not just on us, but on themselves. Yes, they are that demented and deranged. They are self-hating nihilists who have been allowed to get away with murder over and over and over, and now, they aren’t going to stop. They have been unleashed – the most insane group of people that evolution has ever puked up.

Democrats and Republicans were pretty much equidistant from the center up to 1994, when the Republicans took the House after 40 years of Democrat control. After that, the Democrats went insane.

    JHogan in reply to Neo. | July 13, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    And the MSM has been well to the left of mainstream Democrats since the Reagan years.

      DaveGinOly in reply to JHogan. | July 13, 2021 at 11:31 pm

      The rot set in well before Reagan, during the war in Vietnam. CBS and the NYT were already notoriously anti-Republican and both pretended that Nixon was the sole person responsible for our involvement in Vietnam. It just went quiescent during the (largely boring) presidencies of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.


Funny how none of those who push the leftist viewpoints are commenting on this story.

Many ppl are waking up and leaving the new Dem Party. why don’t they just change the name to The Woke Party ?

> I left it 7 years ago.

They moved so far left that many of those in leadership positions today – would have been tried for treason about 35 yeas ago.

    Ben Kent in reply to Ben Kent. | July 13, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    I guess they are checking in with their DNC / Progressive handlers to be sure they get the official talking points.

“Now, I’m personally happy about most of this.”

Even if Drum doesn’t include the looting, burning, and killing that occurred last summer – just the latest manifestation of leftist ideas – his general approval enables it all. Will he be happy when that behavior becomes the norm outside his home? Will he agree with Klaus Schwab and be happy when he doesn’t own anything? Like the “moderate Muslim” moderate liberals do nothing but enable the radicals.