Evidence continues to mount that our system of primary elections is pushing the Democratic Party into a corner, away from the center of the ring. This occurs because the “disinterested middle” that acts as a flywheel on the basic direction of the country tends not to participate in our primary elections. This leaves the field — and the selection of candidates — to the more engaged, partisan, and passionate voters who show up to vote in the primaries.
While this phenomenon occurs in both of our major political parties, it affects them very differently. These days, the passion in the Republican Party revolves around a farrago of nationalism, small-l libertarianism, a distrust of government as a provider of “solutions,” and indeed a distrust of “solutions” in general… with a sizable dose of pro-life sentiment thrown in. By contrast, the passion in the Democratic Party is almost pure leftism. It’s big-government authoritarianism wearing a Happy Face mask. Many Democratic elected officials now proudly call themselves Socialists, and we’re even hearing the word Communist used as something other than an epithet.
Democrats of course still want to label all the Republicans as right-wingers, but in fact there is nothing particularly right-wing about the people who are voting in Republican primaries and thus selecting the Republican candidates. They aren’t especially pro-business. They certainly aren’t war mongers. They aren’t even all that fiscally conservative. They simply defy the usual stereotypes that Democrats use to visualize people who aren’t Democrats.