"Has 'Us vs. Them' Politics Taken Its Toll on Conservatism?" by Politics Blog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Politics Blog

Has 'Us vs. Them' Politics Taken Its Toll on Conservatism?

Call it "us vs. them politics"—like http://www.nationalmemo.com/the-disintegration-of-us-vs-them-politics/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=MM_frequency_six&utm_campaign=Morning%20Memo%20-%202015-05-27&utm_content=A">National Memo does in this piece—or what I call the "virtue of selfishness" that has been pushed for the last 30 years by conservative think tanks and pundits, but it boils down to this—social conservatives in this country like to blame the "other" for societal ills.

From the American Family Council calling an open-door campaign in the wake of anti-gay legislation http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/weblogs/politics-blog/2014/apr/30/the-back-story-on-the-anti-gay-alliance-attacking-/">"bullying" of Christians, to the persistent bellyaching here in the JFP comments about crime and social safety net programs, you see this "us vs. them" argument over and over again.

But here's what's interesting... the "us" may be getting smaller and smaller all the time.

For the first time since Gallup started asking the question in 1999, there's a tie between people who identify as "socially liberal" and those who identify as "socially conservative." The number is http://www.gallup.com/poll/183386/social-ideology-left-catches-right.aspx">pinned at 31 percent each. Up until now, conservatives had led in that poll.

Likewise, on specific "moral" issues, again as http://www.gallup.com/poll/183413/americans-continue-shift-left-key-moral-issues.aspx">measured by Gallup, the country has showed large left-ward shifts since 2001 on questions such as gay and lesbian acceptance, sex and childrearing out of wedlock, divorce, and stem cell research; smaller shift show on issues such as abortion rights, doctor-assisted suicide and against the death penalty.


Going into an election year in Mississippi, we probably won't feel that shift; most likely the we'll hear more about conservative wedge issues such as immigration, marriage equality and irrational rallying cries against expanding Medicaid and education.

But on a national stage going into the 2016 elections, this tilting landscape could spell trouble for the GOP, especially as it seems largely intent on trotting out the http://www.salon.com/2015/05/29/the_gops_impotent_millennial_warfare_what_hillary_clinton_understands_that_republicans_simply_do_not/">same candidates and many of the same tropes that have failed them in previous presidential election cycles. From the Salon piece:

Gen-X dreamboats Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, on the other hand, are offering young people a bleak vision of endless war, antiquated social values and economic hardship and they know it. It matters little if that dark picture of the future is offered by a youthful fellow with an ethnic name. It’s embarrassing for the Republicans that they don’t understand that.

If the country continues on its path to the left on social issues, it does seem that the clever politician who can marry a fiscally moderate position (strong economy plus strong safety net plus modern education and workforce) with a leftward social platform will likely continue to win outside of the gerrymandered districts of Congress.

From there, it's a question of rallying voters to the cause of fixing broken Congressional districts and campaign finance, so the voice of the people truly be heard at all levels of government.


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