There has been a shift in the American political spectrum and this is my attempt to break down how it shifted & why it happened.
Obviously, this is my opinion and some details could be slightly off but the point still remains that American politics has shifted throughout the past decade but considerably in the past 4-6 years for multiple reasons.
I’m going to be focusing on 4 main political groups: liberals, progressives, conservatives & the religious right/evangelicals. I could go into more detail but I don’t want to bog you down with too many details.
We’ll start with liberals since this is where the largest fracture has occurred. I would say the fracture started around the Occupy Wall Street movement.
There was a growing resentment happening by moderate liberal types who saw Obama use tax dollars to bail out wall-street and continue the “stupid wars” that he stated he wanted to end.
The hope & change candidate provided the status quo for major issues & for many, they felt he underdelivered & played typical politics. This led Donald Trump to gain some validity in his criticisms.
Of course, Trump can be hyperbolic but to people who were sick & tired of undelivered promises, it was more of disgust with the political system, not just Obama. Hence, why people were willing to go outside the norm & try out Trump to “change the system”.
The fracture continued when Bernie Sanders ran for the Presidency for the 1st time and people were attracted to him for similar reasons as Trump. Although their policy positions were different, many did not want another Clinton in power. They simply wanted someone different.
We often overlook how many people who supported Bernie initially but when they saw how the DNC screwed over Bernie, they went straight to Trump as an alternative. This is because these liberals are very moderate in their positions & were open to going in either direction.
Keep in mind that Barack Obama had won the popular vote twice & there were many who voted for Obama & Trump. The #WalkAway movement is filled with them. This tells me that Trump was not seen as a right-wing only candidate but as a populist candidate who spoke to many people.
With the growing progressive social movements (i.e. BLM) & the full embrace of identity politics by Democrat leaders, some liberals moved farther to the left becoming progressives (some for party loyalty), and those who disagreed moved further to the right.
Interestingly enough, while some liberals thought the Democrats were too progressive, progressives believe Democrats aren’t progressive enough. Many of them see Democrat leaders as being one degree better than Republicans. There is also still anger there about how Bernie was treated.
There are obviously different factions of progressives but many of them are new progressives created by the failures of Democrat leadership, and unkept promises while enticed by simplistic solutions. For a period of time, I was this person who was interested in their solutions.
On the right, with Trump essentially infiltrating the Republican party and reframing what it means to be on the right, it was no longer purely about low taxes, family values & Christianity. While those aspects still remain, it became much more of a liberal adaptation.
Free Speech for example was a proud liberal principle (one I strongly believe in) yet now, because of the shift in politics, conservatives, many of them former liberals, have fully embraced this liberal principle to the point of being their brand.
Many of the people you are labeling conservatives are part of the ‘new right’ and have either embraced certain conservative principles and/or brought into the conservative movement some liberal ideals. This is why they appear to be more open-minded today than in years past.
The Republican party is very much so the party of Trump or the remnants of Trump, although this is changing slightly. Some do see him as a one-time necessity & would rather be a more traditional type of politician who will deliver better messaging than Trump.
This leaves us with the religious right / evangelical right. They are still involved in the party but their influence has been diminished by the existence of a populist President. Once they were the party’s base, now they are on the sidelines waiting for their turn.
What I think many of them fail to understand is that even the new conservatives are religious as well. They support the same social policy positions (i.e. pro-life) but the ‘new right’ is open to commonsense adaptations instead of stagnation.
There are obviously liberals who stand firm in their positioning as being liberals but even they see the fractioning occurring. They would rather stay as Democrats & fight to bring back the party they used to know, which I understand. However, many have bailed, including me.
Those same liberals who want to stand firm are now viewed as being “right-wing” even though they support the same positions they always have. This is because the political spectrum has shifted left & the usage of identity politics has been prolific in forcing sides.
The changes in media, COVID response & a general ignoring of common people’s issues have also made apolitical people become more politically active and anti-Democrat (which is different than pro-Republican).
The same type of anger against elitists in media & government pre-Trump is returning as there is a new animosity for the political structure to the point of having an anti-establishment movement regardless of party. They are choosing political independence & values over party.
There are constant changes happening within the world of politics but to ignore these changes will only leave you behind the curve as to what is going on within our country.
This article originally appeared at Wrong Speak Publishing. Reprinted here with permission.
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