Promoted from the diaries by Bill
Often some of the most interesting stories are the ones not told. Such a tale is being deliberately ignored by the Democratic Party-run media. This tale is a shift in identification and perception so rapid and deep, it foretells serious continued losses for the Left in this country. Since George W. Bush won in 2004, the Party-run media and its allies have been running down Republicans and smearing conservatives without pause. But something seriously major is happening under the radar. The Party-run media outlets are completely ignoring a trend so powerful, it could shake the establishment to the core. That earthquake could shake some of the established powers-that-be from their ivory towers and positions of influence.
From the Huffington Post, Emily Swanson writes, "Only two years after the proportion of U.S. adults who identified themselves as Democrats matched its highest level in 22 years, a new annual survey has found it plunging by 5 percentage points to match record lows over that same period." January 6, 2011. This is from Gallup and the survey found Democratic Party identification in their polls had plunges 5 points in the two-year cycle while Republicans picked up a point and independant voters surged. Now, there are certainly fluxuations in party identification from year to year, sometimes dramatic. However, this year is a little different. There is no apparent reason for this disenfranchisement due to normal trends. In fact, as the Party-run media has informed us daily, we are heading for a more liberal, more progressive era politically due to demographics and economic forecasts. There could be a slight dip due to frustration or annoyance, but that simply cannot explain away a serious plummeting of party i.d. [I chose the Huffington Post because not one of the Party-run outlets had a thing on these numbers. For a media who is comprised of only Democrats, it's curious they didn't see fit to report this].
The Democratic Party has never seen this kind of a drop. The closest thing to it was four point drop in one year in 1991 during the Gulf War when the far Left was agitating against that war and its leaders managed to poison their brand by supporting them. But, the center of the Democratic Party surged back with Bill Clinton and managed to eke out a win in 1992 with Ross Perot supporters abandoning the Republicans.
1994 showed Democrats losing two points due to overreach by a liberal Congress and an unpopular president. Hillarycare and a slew of big spending drove the voters to oust Democrats from the House for the first time in 40 years. The Republicans were at 30%, and didn't move up until several years later.
The next serious drop was following 9/11 when Democratic identification dropped two points in two years and continued to slide another point into 2003. But, that's over the course of three years and during a Republican insurgence due to presidential handling of 9/11 and a Republican Congress. The Party-run media had its hands full just staving off a conservative upswing while maintaining relevance. The heads of the Big Five knew they couldn't bend the curve completely, they could only salvage something from the wreakage.
Then came the Iraq War and the success of Republicans in 2004 beating off a united front of party supporters and Party-run media. Dan Rather and his ilk tried desperately to smear Bush, but in the end they weren't successful. Republican identification, which has never been strong, surged in 2004, but with Katrina and Iraq giving the Party-run media a slew of narratives, they poisoned the Republican brand which in turn helped prop up the Democratic numbers, though they never really gained much ground overall, until 2008.
Barack Hussein Obama became the Democratic Party publicity stunt of a generation. Democratic Party identification, which had never exceeded 35 percent since 1988, suddenly surged from 33% in 2007 to 36% in 2008. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's fight actually drove people to the polls identifying with the party in order to become, 'part of the history' elevating the first woman or first black to the presidency. These symbols are incredibly powerful and they worked like a charm. Being a Democrat was chic, vogue, hip, and the 'thing to do.'
Here's what is so strange about the plummeting numbers. Some of it can be the natural ebb and flow of political allegiances. Those happen, though not with this kind of flop. It takes a bungling of a serious issue for the party identification to change two points, never mind five, at least with the Democrats. Having a stranglehold on the media gives them a big identification advantage over Republicans. Republicans saw five point drops following the Gulf War, when the economy tanked and spending was out of control under H.W. Bush. They also saw a collapse after Katrina and during the Iraq meltdown, running both the executive and legislative branches. But, regardless of how terrible Democrats have fumbled, the Party-run media has either sloughed the blame off on Republicans, or nature, or chance, or society, or corporations. The Democratic Party hasn't seen this kind of realignment in the past generation of party i.d.
There are several reasons for this happening. Each are interesting in and of themselves. But, first, let's look at what's not doing this. We can isolate some things that could have brought down the Democratic Party, but didn't, so they can be safely ignored.
The Party-run media.
The Big Five, CBS, NBC, ABC, the New Obama Times, and the Washington ComPost are all still in the Democrats corner. They have suppressed stories that make the Democrats look bad (deficits and debt caused by Democrats, housing bubble created by liberal policies, worldwide ineffectualism, huge unemployment numbers, failed stimulus, and Party allegiance dwindling) and highlighted Democratic Party successes. They trumpeted Obamacare, financial strangulation, bailouts and partisan payoffs as all being positive successes. They have elevated Obama to star status and yet, its not working. Their consistent Party-propaganda has fallen flat. Even with all their constant support and smear of Republicans and the right side of the political equation, the numbers plummeted.
The identity-politics driven philosophy of the Democratic Party should be showing a party on the ascent. There are more minorities, poor, special interests, and government workers as natural allies for the Democratic Party. After the 2008 election, the best and brightest all foretold of a permanent realignment to liberalism because of all the freshly indoctrinated college grads, the people of color, the recently emancipated GiBLeTs, the foreign-born. These would swell the ranks of The Party making it a juggernaut into the future. Since those demographic trends still exist, it would appear the 'naturalism' of their presumptions are a little off. But, if these numbers are correct, it means the Democratic Party is actually losing members faster than Gallup suggests. Since minorities, college grads, and other sundry parts of the Left are actually peopling the ranks, that means they are losing a ton of traditional supporters from other groups. Instead of gaining power, the are losing it in a flood and losing more of those who actually vote.
His numbers are not terrible. Not good, but not as bad as Clinton or Reagan. Obama has a historical essence to his presence, being the first black president. As such, he is immune to some of the slings and arrows which accompany failure of policy. The desperate problems which he has made even worse are not reflecting on his approval ratings. People in the center, while furious at the debt, deficits, and ineffectualism of his policies, are loathe to criticize him, just yet. He's still a bit of the golden child in the public's eyes. They don't want to look negative about his ethnicity, so they shrug and admit they don't like his ideas but like him.
It can also be said, Obama and the Democratic Party were able to accomplish most everything they promised. They've given us more and bigger government to look over our shoulders. They've exploded the costs. They rolled out unending government subsidies to their allies. They burdened us with Obamacare, financial strangulation, DADT, and a myriad of other promises. They have delivered. When someone on the left complains they haven't done enough, its not an explanation but an excuse for the failures. Nobody is crying over the lack of crap-and-tax, except Al Gore and the enviro-fascists. But, they are a lonely exception.
So, what is driving the stampede away from the Democratic Party? What has changed in the equation from just two short years ago? What has since happened which could explain such a dramatic drop in party affiliation among Democrats?
"We’ve got a tradition in this country of a press that oftentimes is opinionated. The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history" Obama in Rolling Stone 09/28/2010.
Obama is in fact right. He doesn't really understand how he's right, only that we have a history of the press being a partisan press and that an 'objective' press only existed for a very brief window in the earl- middle of the 20th century. By the time FDR rolled around in his wheelchair, the partisan press had been taken over by the 'journalistic' press of objective reporting. When he was roundly criticized by the last remnants of the Republican press, he just made them irrelevant by ignoring them and ushering an age of radio 'fairness' that later extended to television as well. Print media was annihilated by electronic media and the government controlled Democratic Party press was born. Since Democrats owned the media in the late thirties and forties, it was them alone that got any stories or news from and about government. We had a one party media monopoly, up until now. The press was the Fourth Estate, which comes from the French levels of political power. The 'Fourth Estate' was above and outside the other cohorts and could not be criticized.
And then came the New Media. First born out of the Sixties and Seventies, these new criers in the wilderness didn't have much loudness, but they had depth. From them came talk radio in the eighties after Reagan freed the press' speech. Then came the Internet and the New New Media. Obama and his Democratic minions could no longer control everything that was said about them. The Big Five furiously tried to marginalize and smear them. But, they are growing and thriving and spreading the word.
Radicalization of the Democratic Party
After the fall of the Soviet Union and the capitalization of China's markets, the existential threat posed by Marxism vanished. Suddenly, there was no communist example of the excesses of socialism and the incredible risk it placed towards freedom. The American and European Left moved significantly toward embracing Marxist ideals and publishing them freely. No longer was it dangerous to affiliate yourself with an oppressive ideology since it was only a theory and not a practice. Since memories are short, especially when a tyrannical idea is presented as 'fair'. So, the Marxism of Michael Moore, Howard Zinn, and others became 'mainstream.' This was a popular trend and some people fell for it while the rest of us shook our heads. Once Obama and his useful idiots in Congress took control, they began implementing some of the more radical ideas. This wasn't popular with the centrist Democratic Party elements but wildly popular with some who had strayed away from The Party. The far Left took over and it isolated the more mainstream base. This ideological shift would never have happened twenty years ago. But, with the fading memories of Soviet-style oppression and Chinese state-run famine receding into the background, many socialistic adherents took control and propounded their ideas and policies. This have caused a 'run' on the bank of Democrats. They are losing their mainstream brethern to the 'independent' category.
All presidents experience waning influence. Most don't see it begin to unravel until the middle of their second term. But, Obama was plastered over every magazine, news story, and popular entertainment site 24/7 for several months. This has shortened his shelf life significantly. While he's novel enough as the first black president to merit quiet endurance, it is not enough to make him less effective as an agent. People who ate up his early speeches and his image are tired of him. He's becoming less of a novelty and more a familiarity, which is breeding contempt. So, instead of lashing out against him, they are lashing out at his lackeys, the Democrats. They all seem more tired and worn as the days stack up against them. Where once Obama was fresh, he's day old bread. Media gushes about him now seem out-of-this-world and almost sickening to the average citizen.
Marginalizing, Well Everyone
Reid, Bite-Me, and Pelosi, along with Obama, have attempted to paint adversaries as enemies. They have taken the far Left's class warfare paradigm to the nth power. They lash out at any resistance. It started with corporations, then the oil industry, then small business, then ordinary people who complained about Obamacare and spending. They have marginalized the left, the right, the center, those who are not even complaining. If you are not 100% for them, you are against them. They lash out without restraint and this may curry favor with the radicalized elements of the Democratic Party, but it isn't so popular with the folks. Most Americans understand other people have different belief systems and accept this at face value. They don't hate their neighbor because he's conservative or their mother-in-law because she's liberal. Nor do they like litmus tests on party allegiance. The Obama speeches on "punish your enemies" and Pelosi's diatribe on "protesting Obamacare is UnAmerican" are things that get stuck in our craw. People don't like being affiliated with dogmatic autocrats. Nor do they like being in a party with a bunch of screaming crazies who are hellbent on taking from one person to give to another. It's unseemly and sad.
These are all things that changed from 2008 to now. While their policies are obviously not working, that is not enough to really drive down party loyalty. Policy lapses will cause a slight drop but quite frankly, if one identifies with a political movement, they are not likely to abandon it because something goes wrong. It takes more than a mistake or stumble to make someone say, "I'm no longer a Democrat." Incompetence and bad policy may make some abandon the philosophical principles of the Democratic Party, but not many, and not this quickly. What's important to remember is we on the right cannot make these same mistakes. We must learn from their mistakes, or else we won't have a country left to enjoy.