TUESDAY, JULY 5, 2022
We can think of three possible reasons: Last week, David Frum wrote an interesting article for The Atlantic.
In his article, Frum drew some connections between the long drive to outlaw alcohol (Prohibition) and the long drive, recently concluded, to repeal Roe v. Wade.
Once enacted, Prohibition fell apart rather quickly. So may new attempts to outlaw abortion—or at least, so Frum was prepared to suggest.
Frum's article was intriguing. On the downside, Charles Blow read the article, leading to a very strange—yet very typical—opinion column for the New York Times.
On Monday, Blow's column appeared online. One day earlier, in that same newspaper's Sunday Magazine, Jason Zengerle had penned a long analysis of the political dilemmas currently faced by the Democratic Party.
In various ways, modern-day Dems seem to be in a world of political hurt.
Our nation's creaking electoral systems tilt the playing field against them in several major ways. Historical precedent suggests that Democrats will take a drubbing in November's congressional elections.
If that occurs, the Republican Party will take control of the House and nominal control of the Senate. In the face of this impending disaster, Zengerle's lengthy essay carried this dual headline:
The Vanishing Moderate Democrat
Their positions are popular. So why are they going extinct?
Zengerle's essay examined this central question: Should Democratic politicians adopt more moderate policy positions?
We won't attempt to answer that question; Zengerle didn't answer it either. For today, we'll merely cite this bit of news from a recent survey, news which may strike blue tribe voters as puzzling:
ZENGERLE (7/3/22): In May, CNN asked 1,007 American voters for their opinions on the country’s two major political parties. After four years of Trump in the White House, an insurrection and unsuccessful attempt to overturn a presidential election and now a Republican Party that can be fairly described as a cult of personality and is moving further right on many of the same social issues, 46 percent of those surveyed considered the G.O.P. to be “too extreme.” But 48 percent of them viewed the Democratic Party the same way.
To the average blue tribe voter, that result may be hard to fathom. By an admittedly slender margin, more respondents viewed the Democratic Party as "too extreme"—as compared to the GOP of one Donald J. Trump!
For the average blue tribe voter, that result may be hard to believe. For now, we'll offer two possible explanations for that puzzling result.
First, the comforting explanation:
At present, our nation has divided itself into two warring tribes. The red tribe thinks our blue tribe is too extreme. Here within our own blue tribe, we think the same thing about Them.
That would be the tribally comforting point of view. We've simply split into two warring tribes. Each tribe thinks the worst of the other.
From our blue tribe's point of view, that's the comforting explanation. But a second possible explanation might go something like this:
Our blue tribe has made a lot of mistakes, and our errors have made us look bad.
Why did 48% of respondents describe the Dems as "too extreme?" At this point, we'll offer a third possible explanation:
In part, those respondents were channeling crackpot propaganda offered by red tribe media. Without any question, a large amount of such mis- and disinformation is constantly out there.
(Also, we blue tribers like to tell ourselves that most of Those People are racists. That explains why people like Them would say that we're extreme!)
Once we note the fact that The Others are racists, we're up to four explanations! That said, is it possible that our own blue tribe just keeps insisting on scoring "own goals?" Is it possible that our well-intentioned, admittedly brilliant tribe keeps making unforced errors?
Was Charles Blow's somewhat peculiar column part of that ongoing pattern? Tomorrow, we'll start reviewing examples of behaviors and claims we might call "Our errors, ourselves."
Tomorrow: Some of what was actually said