One aspect of the sharp turn to the right that the country has taken over the last year or so is that the percentage of self-identified conservatives is growing, while that of liberals is shrinking. This has a striking consequence that is highlighted by Peter Wehner:
The Third Way group put out a report that argues that the Democratic Party needs to motivate moderates, not just the liberal base, to turn out and vote. The report argues that because the number of conservatives has grown during the Obama years, energizing liberals is simply not enough. Indeed, because of the shrinking liberal base and the growing conservative one, the group found that “[i]n 16 of the 21 most hotly contested states this cycle, Democratic candidates who simply match President Obama’s overall 2008 performance with liberals, moderates and conservatives still won’t have the votes to win.” Hence the need to reach out to moderates.
Let’s pause there for a moment. If it isn’t immediately clear, what Peter is saying is that in nearly four-fifths of the swing states, a Democrat who does as well with each group–liberals, moderates and conservatives–as Obama did in 2008, which was very well indeed with the first two groups, will nevertheless lose because there are so many fewer liberals today than in 2008, and so many more conservatives. That is a rather astonishing conclusion, especially given that very few Democrats can expect to match the coronation-like atmosphere that surrounded Obama’s Presidential run.
So, are the Democrats heeding what would seem to be sound advice? No:
As a political strategy, Obama has decided in the past few weeks to try and rally his base by (typical for Obama) hectoring and lecturing it. In the process, though, he is further estranging independents. The Obama administration, in other words, is doubling down on an approach it’s pursued (more or less) for 20 months now: governing in a deeply liberal manner. In a nation in which voters self-identify as conservatives rather than liberals by a margin of more than 2-to-1, this is destined to fail. The Obama administration has taken a bad hand and, in almost every case, made it worse. Which is why we’re going to see an epic repudiation on November 2.