The ideological sorting out of the parties in the last 20 years means there is no place for Conservative Democrats in the Democratic party, nor much room for liberals in the Republican party. The tangle of ideologies that used to make up both the Democratic and Republican parties were relics of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Conservative Southerners would not vote for Republicans, so the Democratic primary in many cases became the de facto elections. Conservative Democrats usually won these primaries. This made the Democratic party the dominant political party while depriving it of ideological unity. Along came Goldwater, Buckley, Nixon and Reagan, and Republicans became the party of Conservatives. Democrats, deprived of their ideological diversity, became the party of Progressives.
By the year 2000, this realignment of the parties along what we think of as the traditional ideological divide was complete. Progressives make up the majority of registered Democrats and they control the party, but they make up perhaps 20% of the electorate, barely half the percentage claiming to be Conservatives. Democrats are therefore drawn ever to the left and are hemorrhaging American centrists, which lean Conservative. It is possible for Republicans to be too Conservative and put off moderates, but they need to woo far fewer of them to reach 51%. One may recall that before Franklin D. Roosevelt, when progressives and Southern Democrats reached an alliance, Republicans long dominated national politics. Therefore the Democratic party is more susceptible to marginalization than it has been since the rise of the Progressive movement in the late 19th century.
Progressives have used a variety of ingenious methods to maintain a fighting chance in national politics over the last several decades despite their dangerous separation from centrist American thought. Their main weapon is machine politics. By taxing the middle class in order to fund middle class entitlements, they have every American dependent to some degree on government largess. Progressives are then able to convince Americans that Conservatives want to take something away from them that government has provided, while ignoring that the government is really only recycling money it took from the middle class in the first place and depriving Americans of the freedom to use their own money however they wish. After all, what non-political purpose do middle class entitlements serve, when government support for those in actual need would be comparatively cheap?
They use other forms of welfare to cement their own power as well. Larger government and corporate welfare makes business increasingly beholden to government decisions. Business is then susceptible to government pressure. This has been on display during the last few years. Progressives in governments and unions pressured all kinds of businesses, from Wal-Mart to insurance companies, to support their takeover of healthcare. They pressured financial companies to support the so-called “financial reform” bill using the stick of punitive regulations and the carrot of selective government debt guarantees. They have tried and failed to control the energy industry with the same sort of tactics. All of this is a blatant abuse of government power. Their greatest weapon is the unaffordable middle class dependency agenda, combined with open corruption on a grand scale and outright deception of the body politic with the aid of a complicit media. Using media cover, many Democrats have been able to use flimsy arguments to distort the image of Republicans, while running as Conservatives themselves. However, as the legacy media’s credibility and influence have steadily eroded, more and more Conservative Democratic voters, who were once called Reagan Democrats, have begun to realize that if they want a Conservative representative, they need to vote for the candidate running under the Conservative party’s banner. It is long past time to stop voting for representatives of the liberal party in the now unsupportable belief that they will buck their party.