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News & Politics News & Politics

Dem Majority Sign Of U.S. Decline

Posted by on Nov. 18, 2012 at 6:26 PM
  • 11 Replies
3 moms liked this

Ross Douthat

By ROSS DOUTHAT

Published: November 18, 2012

WINNING an election doesn't just offer the chance to govern the country. It offers a chance to feel morally and intellectually superior to the party you've just beaten. This is an inescapable aspect of democratic culture: no matter what reason tells us about the vagaries of politics, something in the American subconscious assumes that the voice of the people really is the voice of God, and that being part of a winning coalition must be a sign that you're His chosen one as well.

This means the losing coalition must be doomed to wander east of Eden, and liberals have been having a good time with this idea of late. "Those poor, benighted Republicans!" runs the subtext of their postelection commentary. "They can't read polls! They can't reach Hispanics! They don't understand women! They don't have a team of Silicon Valley sorcerers running their turnout operations!"

Back in 2011, the Obama White House earned some mild mockery for its "win the future" slogan. But now that the president has been re-elected, the liberal conventional wisdom is that the Democrats have done just that - that Republicans are now Radio Shack to their Apple store, "The Waltons" to their "Modern Family," a mediocre Norman Rockwell to their digital-age mosaic.

Maybe it's too soon to pierce this cloud of postelection smugness. But in the spirit of friendly correction - or, O.K., maybe curmudgeonly annoyance - let me point out some slightly more unpleasant truths about the future that liberalism seems to be winning.

Liberals look at the Obama majority and see a coalition bound together by enlightened values - reason rather than superstition, tolerance rather than bigotry, equality rather than hierarchy. But it's just as easy to see a coalition created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear.

Consider the Hispanic vote. Are Democrats winning Hispanics because they put forward a more welcoming face than Republicans do - one more in keeping with America's tradition of assimilating migrants yearning to breathe free? Yes, up to a point. But they're also winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren't assimilating successfully - or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates. The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems.

Likewise with the growing number of unmarried Americans, especially unmarried women. Yes, social issues like abortion help explain why these voters lean Democratic. But the more important explanation is that single life is generally more insecure and chaotic than married life, and single life with children - which is now commonplace for women under 30 - is almost impossible to navigate without the support the welfare state provides.

Or consider the secular vote, which has been growing swiftly and tilts heavily toward Democrats. The liberal image of a non-churchgoing American is probably the "spiritual but not religious" seeker, or the bright young atheist reading Richard Dawkins. But the typical unchurched American is just as often an underemployed working-class man, whose secularism is less an intellectual choice than a symptom of his disconnection from community in general.

What unites all of these stories is the growing failure of America's local associations - civic, familial, religious - to foster stability, encourage solidarity and make mobility possible.

This is a crisis that the Republican Party often badly misunderstands, casting Democratic-leaning voters as lazy moochers or spoiled children seeking "gifts" (as a certain former Republican presidential nominee would have it) rather than recognizing the reality of their economic struggles.

But if conservatives don't acknowledge the crisis's economic component, liberalism often seems indifferent to its deeper social roots. The progressive bias toward the capital-F Future, the old left-wing suspicion of faith and domesticity, the fact that Democrats have benefited politically from these trends - all of this makes it easy for liberals to just celebrate the emerging America, to minimize the costs of disrupted families and hollowed-out communities, and to treat the places where Americans have traditionally found solidarity outside the state (like the churches threatened by the Obama White House's contraceptive mandate) as irritants or threats.

This is a great flaw in the liberal vision, because whatever role government plays in prosperity, transfer payments are not a sufficient foundation for middle-class success. It's not a coincidence that the economic era that many liberals pine for - the great, egalitarian post-World War II boom - was an era that social conservatives remember fondly as well: a time of leaping church attendance, rising marriage rates and birthrates, and widespread civic renewal and engagement.

No such renewal seems to be on the horizon. That isn't a judgment on the Obama White House, necessarily. But it is a judgment on a certain kind of blithe liberal optimism, and the confidence with which many Democrats assume their newly emerged majority is a sign of progress rather than decline.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/DouthatNYT.

I agree with this.  And the NYT, even.

by on Nov. 18, 2012 at 6:26 PM
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Replies (1-10):
imamomzilla
by on Nov. 18, 2012 at 6:45 PM
4 moms liked this

 FANTASTIC READ!!!

Thanks for posting, Carpy.

imamomzilla
by on Nov. 18, 2012 at 6:57 PM
2 moms liked this

"it's just as easy to see a coalition created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear."

bow down

_Kissy_
by on Nov. 18, 2012 at 8:45 PM
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This is a crisis that the Republican Party often badly misunderstands, casting Democratic-leaning voters as lazy moochers or spoiled children seeking "gifts" (as a certain former Republican presidential nominee would have it) rather than recognizing the reality of their economic struggles.



This article plainly states the GOP ceases to exist. Everything the GOP hates or doesn't understand, has risen and will never be caged again. The GOP will have to meet evolution.
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Carpy
by Platinum Member on Nov. 18, 2012 at 8:57 PM
1 mom liked this

You are not very old are you?

Quoting _Kissy_:


This is a crisis that the Republican Party often badly misunderstands, casting Democratic-leaning voters as lazy moochers or spoiled children seeking "gifts" (as a certain former Republican presidential nominee would have it) rather than recognizing the reality of their economic struggles.



This article plainly states the GOP ceases to exist. Everything the GOP hates or doesn't understand, has risen and will never be caged again. The GOP will have to meet evolution.


tnmomofive
by Silver Member on Nov. 19, 2012 at 5:30 AM
4 moms liked this

Good article and I also agree.Clearly America is headed in the wrong direction.

Ednarooni160
by Eds on Nov. 19, 2012 at 6:51 AM
3 moms liked this

This tells me that there are a lot of grasshoppers that have suspicions about faith and domesticity (as stated in he article) and I even DOUBT they know how to play the violin..and their King is happy that he got re-elected.. But soon..as the seasons do not change for grasshoppers or anyone there will come a reckoning and their King "knows" this... The pied piper is around the corner.


JZB
by Member on Nov. 19, 2012 at 7:00 AM
Bump for later (if I remember to come back :/ )
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MomTiara19
by Silver Member on Nov. 19, 2012 at 7:32 AM
2 moms liked this

I feel as a Democrat that republicans in general feel morally and intellectually superior and that is why the Romney loss is so hard to comprehend.

When it comes to the Hispanic vote.There were a few things in play that I believe swayed them to vote for Obama.Obama supported the dream act which allowed immigrants a chance to stay here and finish their education,and Romney wanted to deport all immigrants.

Single women and moms seem to be a real target for republicans?Womens rights is a civil right and important to many women.Lots of women are independent and have to be the bread winner and desire proper womans healthcare.I see nothing wrong with demanding equal pay,or having your employer offer healthcare covering paps,prenatal,and bc care??

As far as single moms go....repubicans are quick to judge and condemn.You expect her to be pro-life despite any circumstance.Then you call her a moocher when she is only making minimum wage and needs a hand up not out.You want to control her womb....but what about prenatal care....and after the baby is born?Do we just turn our backs?

I have to admit I love the American dream and vision you speak of.Traditional values,going to church,working hard and family idealism.I am living this very dream and am very blessed.I want everyone that is American to have this dream too.

My belief as a democrat is.It isnt how you start....it is how you finish.Just because you were not born priviledged...should not mean you cant get a fighting chance.When you take away humane progams for people who are suffering,squeeze the middle class with the highest tax,while the rich ride high on the hog.....this may sound lazy on the poor side....yet can also be seen as greedy on the rich side.

The right and the left parties may never totally agree.Yet in order to move forward we have to bring compromise to the table.

 

Carpy
by Platinum Member on Nov. 19, 2012 at 8:02 AM
3 moms liked this


Quoting MomTiara19:

I feel as a Democrat that republicans in general feel morally and intellectually superior and that is why the Romney loss is so hard to comprehend.  You "feel" that, do ya?

When it comes to the Hispanic vote.There were a few things in play that I believe swayed them to vote for Obama.Obama supported the dream act which allowed immigrants a chance to stay here and finish their education,and Romney wanted to deport all immigrants.  No he did not.

Single women and moms seem to be a real target for republicans?Womens rights is a civil right and important to many women.Lots of women are independent and have to be the bread winner and desire proper womans healthcare.I see nothing wrong with demanding equal pay,or having your employer offer healthcare covering paps,prenatal,and bc care??  I see nothing wrong with equal pay, that is why it is law of the land and has been for years.  I also see nothing wrong with healthcare coverage for women, which is why it is covered in most every insurance policy.  You are confusing it with free BC.

As far as single moms go....repubicans are quick to judge and condemn.You expect her to be pro-life despite any circumstance.Than you call her a moocher when she is only making minimum wage and needs a hand up not out.You want to control her womb....but what about prenatal care....and after the baby is born?Do we just turn our backs?  Personal responsibility.  I fully support it.  I don't want to control anyones womb, but the woman, herself should give it a try.  And NO we do not turn our backs.

I have to admit I love the American dream and vision you speak of.Traditional values,going to church,working hard and family idealism.I am living this very dream and am very blessed.I want everyone that is American to have this dream too.

My belief as a democrat is.It isnt how you start....it is how you finish.Just because you were not born priviledged...should not mean you cant get a fighting chance.When you take away humane progams for people who are suffering,squeeze the middle class with the highest tax,while the rich ride high on the hog.....this may sound lazy on the poor side....yet can also be seen as greedy on the rich side.

The right and the left parties may never totally agree.Yet in order to move forward we have to bring compromise to the table.



JZB
by Member on Nov. 19, 2012 at 9:58 PM
1 mom liked this
http://bloomingcactus.typepad.com/bloomingcactus/2012/11/the-liberal-gloat-nytimescom-1.html

Response To Douthat's "The Liberal Gloat" -NYTimes.com

Ross Douthat said in Sunday' NY Times:

WINNING an election doesn’t just offer the chance to govern the country. It offers a chance to feel morally and intellectually superior to the party you’ve just beaten. This is an inescapable aspect of democratic culture: no matter what reason tells us about the vagaries of politics, something in the American subconscious assumes that the voice of the people really is the voice of God, and that being part of a winning coalition must be a sign that you’re His chosen one as well.

Bloomingcactus responds:

Mr. Douthat’s views are just “kinder, gentler Randism.” But it is still a dark Ayn Rand view of the world, just without pejorative words like moochers and takers. He reduces liberalism to a vision of transfer payments, rather than the essential American values of fairness, equality and opportunity. While I think it is dangerous to gloat, many of us do hope that this election signals the value of science, women’s equality and freedom of choice, and opportunities for new immigrants to become citizens just like our ancestors did. Furthermore, while liberalism is a secular governing philosophy, it is not anti-religious, but rather affirms pluralism. Obama was right to not give in to the demands of the Catholic Church on contraception, over an issue that the vast majority of Catholics disagree with the bishops. Many of us who are liberal and Christian don’t think people should be told how to vote from the pulpit based on a few hot button issues. The problems of the Roman Catholic Church are not from a secular onslaught, but rather the Church has been a major cause of secularization through its enormous institutional failures. While gloating is annoying, so is sour grapes. Move on, Mr. Douthat. As Desmond Tutu counsels, when you lose an argument, don’t just shout louder, improve your argument.
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