From the way the mainstream media cover the news, you’d think socialism is on the rise and ordinary Americans are ready to raise clenched fists and wear Che Guevara tee-shirts. And vote for the Democrats in a blue wave.
Think again. A major new study by More in Common shows something very different.
Are We Really “Polarized”?
Titled, “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape,” this large-scale national survey says that 25 percent of the American people fall into the “traditional” or “devoted” conservative categories. Most of the rest are centrists or traditional (meaning wrong but not extreme) liberals.
Just eight percent of Americans identify as “progressive activists.” They tend to be “younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.” They “reject traditional sources of authority and privilege and focus on rectifying historical injustices.”
My guess is that most of these “progressives” aren’t only young but also unmarried. They don’t own homes or have children. They are living under a load of college debt that isn’t going away.
These progressives have been raised in homes and educated in schools where the concept of objective truth is seen as offensive. They’ve been force-fed a steady diet of anti-Americanism, emphasizing all that’s wrong, and not talking about what’s right. With little or no instruction about our country’s grandeur and promise. They have youth’s righteous indignation, and the young person’s impatience with real and perceived injustices. They want quick solutions to long-term problems.
These things make me sad. There’s a lot to be said about how to challenge these folks and their view not just of our country but of God, life, and meaning.
According to “More in Common,” only 40 percent of “progressive activists” say they are proud of our country’s history. This speaks to their ignorance of America’s heritage but also to a deep kind of dissatisfaction. With, well, pretty much everything.
Where does this disappointment come from? Why is nothing ever good enough for the radical left?
One key is that word “secular” in the description. If you don’t believe in a God Who is both personal and sovereign, the present is all you’ve got. You better get things right in this world. And since life is short, you need to act now. You need to make things right even if doing so leads to division and even danger.
That also means that people who won’t cooperate with what’s in their own interest need to be conformed to the demands of the “enlightened.” Conformed — or crushed. You have to ignore what they say they want in order to give them what you, the enlightened, know they need.
And if man is just matter with nothing eternal about him, if his image-bearing of God is just an ancient myth, then he can be pressed into whatever mold his betters tell him to fit. Like putty or clay or Play-Dough. He can be “perfected” by the coercion and repression of “the people.” That is, the handful of wise and visionary beings who govern from on high. Sort of like those great statesmen Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong.
Building a Base on Eight Percent
But there’s a political element to all of this that invites a big question: If only eight percent of the population is hard-left, why in the world is the Democratic Party giving this small group such a huge say in defining its political future? How did left-liberal extremists like Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Maxine Waters, Gavin Newsome, and Kamala Harris become the faces of a once great political party?
It makes no sense to build your party’s base of support on a small minority of the population. The Democrats, though, believe they have that covered. They are banking on the resentment, envy, and fear of Americans who feel vulnerable. People whose concern with losing health care is genuine but exploitable. Whose concern about their children’s future can be manipulated into a demand for free college. Who believe that for some to gain means others must lose. And whose sense of human decency can be twisted into what amounts to acceptance of open borders.
This brings us to the upcoming election. Will a “blue wave” sweep across the political map?
As I’ve written previously, I don’t think so. The Democrats want higher taxes on job creators, greater domestic spending (nothing is ever enough, mind you), and a weaker national defense. If the party does regain the House, they’ll alienate even more of the 92% who aren’t progressive activists. That’s the reason a once great political party doesn’t give a small radical group a huge say in defining its future.
That’s why any Democratic House win will likely be short-lived. And why a once-great political party is finding that appealing to resentment will be a losing strategy in the long term.