Thursday, December 16, 2004

Democrats head West

Interesting post over at Kos that talks about a growing Democratic presence in the West (both Mountain and Southwest).

It's intriguing to note the potential for large Democratic appeal in states that are thought of as inherently Republican, such as Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. The Republican ideals that have long appealed out West have been the Libertarian way. These are people who want small government and big guns (ie Ruby Ridge) and for a long time Republicans kept the Libertarian vote in the coalition. Perhaps the only issue that the Dems really had out West was the environment. In the past few years, the environemental issue has become an even stronger Democratic issue as Bush gutted the EPA.

So why does this bode well for Democrats? There are two main forces working against the Republicans right now and both are a result of their large power. 1) They view their main support as the Bible Belt and 2) Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It's very hard to keep a large coalition happy. The fundamentalist base wants to use their power over governement to exercise control over culture. The FCC is inherently opposed to Libertarian ideals of limited government. Every time that the government tries to exercise control over free speech they let down their Libertarian supporters while rallying their base.

Additionally, they're the ones in control. The Patriot Act is fraught with problems but it is a necessary piece of legislation and would have been passed (in similar form) no matter who was in control of Washington. However, as the opposition party, the Dems have more freedom to dissent against the elements of the Patriot Act they oppose. As the outsider party, the Democrats are beginning to shake their reputation as the party of big government as they challenge Republican abuses. Which brings us to the second point:

Absolute power corrupts... As Republicans become more and more entrenched in DC they have a larger stake in preserving the status quo and even expanding the government. It is becoming increasingly difficult for Republicans to claim that they believe in small government when they've now controlled all three branches for 4 years and the government continues to grow. This is not to say that they're all corrupt or evil or lied about their intentions - but it does give the opportunity to shift the paradigm of the tax and spend liberal to debt spending conservatives.

Additionally, the current state of DC allows the Democrats to become real reformers. Challenging the ways of the government and the inherent corruption and abuses. They can be mavericks on this, a character that appeals out West and throughout the NorthEast.

It's very hard to keep a large coalition happy and the Republicans seem to have cast their lot with the fundamentalists which gives the Democrats a great opportunity to move towards the Libertarians and the West to pick them off. Additionally, I feel that the Libertarian ideals really coincides with so called 'financially conservative dems' - no longer a small faction.


Blogger adam said...

Very good article. I've been writing about this on my own blog too.

7:44 PM  

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