In his latest post on this site (The God of the Blue States), I think that Sam Harris is making the same mistake that he attributes to other “liberals and secularists??? in the United States by drawing the “wrong lesson from the 2004 election???. Namely, that the election was primarily determined by the voters’ religious beliefs. The objective evidence would suggest that this is a far too simplistic and one-dimensional analysis of a much more complex and multifaceted voter preference model.
For example, the Pew 2004 National Survey of Religion and Politics, (http://pewforum.org/publications/surveys/green-full.pdf) found that religious belief is quite diverse and fairly well distributed between Democrats and Republicans with slightly more respondents identifying themselves as Democrats (42%) vs Republicans (38%). Also equally split was whether or not respondents thought that religion was important to their political thinking (39% “yes???, 37% “no???).
None of the religious groups were “monolithic??? with each containing many “independents??? and significant minority populations claiming affiliation with the other party.
However, what is most striking about the survey results is that 35% of respondents self identified themselves as “conservative??? whereas only 22% claimed to be “liberal???. The most heavily liberal group was found to be Jews (a strongly religious group) at 46% exceeding even atheists at 44%.
I think that, by “drawing the wrong conclusion??? liberals are erroneously deciding that if they just wrap their leftist policies in religious rhetoric that they can appeal to (i.e., “fool???) the religious idiots that voted for Bush and regain political power. In my view, nothing could be further from the truth.
What the American electorate has consistently and increasingly rejected since 1976 when the last openly liberal politician was elected president (Jimmy Carter) is LIBERALISM! Even Clinton ran as a “centrist???.
However, by incorrectly mixing up considerations of religious belief and political philosophy in their analysis, liberals avoid examining the fundamental failure of their repeatedly discredited vision and policies to resonate with the American electorate.
It is clear to me that this is a fatal error which will even further erode their political influence at all levels of government and, I must say, makes me extremely happy to watch it unfold.
I believe that this shift is primarily due to the aging of the US population and will not be quickly or easily reversed (unless, of course, God intervenes :o ).
I agree with the reasoning, if not the conclusions of my friend above. I am a lifelong republican who has never voted for a democrat in a national election, but I damn near did this time! If the democrat had been anyone from the center of the party, I’m thinking Leiberman, they would have had my vote.
I would consider myself a swing voter in this past election. As I have grown older, my views have moved closer and closer to the center. The republican party has left me, the same way the democrats left Reagan.
I voted the way I did for two reasons:
1. I am a viet nam vet. In my opinion, kerry betrayed not only his uniform and the people he served with, he was/is a traitor to his country and should have been court martialled after meeting with the viet cong in paris. He has no honor. His lies (self-admitted) to the senate dishonored America.
2. He has been the emptyist suit in a senate full of empty suits.
There were at least two dems who ran in the primaries that I could have voted for, but none of them made it. I cant wait ‘till next election. The dems will probably run hillary or edwards (another empty suit, and head as well), get killed again and bitch about the election being “stolen” again.
The democratic party needs to get with it, or we WILL have the theocracy we all are working against. You libs out there - start now trying to drive your party more to the center. Get a reasonable candidate for next election, or we are all in deep do do. In my opinion, the dems are as much to blame for the present situation as the reps.
I still do not understand how GW Bush record was better than Kerry’s even to a Vet.
I can understand Kerry serving in the war, and coming home with a conviction to do what he could to stop it, a kind of shell shock.
I knew people like this, that went thinking it was a patriotic duty and came home disillusioned and a bit nuts.
I can understand Bush taking advantage of the Texas good ole boy system to completely avoid putting himself in harm’s way also, I knew quite a few people that took the hike to Canada because they had no other way out.
Please show me the lies, and the true history, and explain your thinking, I am very curious about your opinion.
Paul Starr, writing in today’s NY Times, makes the valid point that Democrats (and liberals) have focused too much on winning constitutional battles through the courts, instead of winning elections, over the past 40 years. Now, it’s payback time. He writes:
To be sure, Democrats were right to challenge segregation and racism, support the revolution in women’s roles in society, to protect rights to abortion and to back the civil rights of gays. But a party can make only so many enemies before it loses the ability to do anything for the people who depend on it. For decades, many liberals thought they could ignore the elementary demand of politics - winning elections - because they could go to court to achieve these goals on constitutional grounds. The great thing about legal victories like Roe v. Wade is that you don’t have to compromise with your opponents, or even win over majority opinion. But that is also the trouble. An unreconciled losing side and unconvinced public may eventually change the judges.
And now we have reached that point. The Republicans, with their party in control of both elected branches - and looking to create a conservative majority on the Supreme Court that will stand for a generation - see the opportunity to overthrow policies and constitutional precedents reaching back to the New Deal.
That prospect ought to concentrate the liberal mind. Social Security, progressive taxation, affordable health care, the constitutional basis for environmental and labor regulation, separation of church and state - these issues and more hang in the balance.
Under these circumstances, liberal Democrats ought to ask themselves a big question: are they better off as the dominant force in an ideologically pure minority party, or as one of several influences in an ideologically varied party that can win at the polls? The latter, it seems clear, is the better choice.
I think this is a good analysis of the situation. We liberals tend to assume that progress achieved in liberalising the country is never reversible - that the country is on a one-way ride to greater individual liberty. But why should this be the case? The opposition just stores up its resentment and goes about the messy business of winning elections, and then changes what it doesn’t like. There is no comfort in being right if we lose in the end.
Scary stuff. Also, it is a mistake for Sam to automatically view the 44% of people who think jesus will return during their lifetime as the people who elected Bush. Many of them are confused democrats, and I fear that the whole issue is much more complex than Sam pretends. If even 30% of liberals are expecting jesus to drop by soon, then things are indeed bleak.
You guys seem to be forgetting that the greatest predictor of how a person would vote in the last election was how often he or she went to Church. While religion was not the only variable in play, it was definitely a major one. Harris’ point is clearly that a significant percentage of the electorate had decided that Bush was God’s man in the White House, and there was almost nothing he could have done to disqualify himself in their eyes. He would have had to curl up in the fetal position during one of those debates to have seemed unpresidential to them. These people were never really open to looking at the facts. That’s not to say that everyone who voted for Bush did so for religious reasons, but clearly many did. And there is no doubt that the whole gay marriage thing mobilized the Republican “base.”
Paul Starr’s article is nice, but I think its revisionist history.
Rehnquist - Nixon
Scalia - Reagan
Stevens - Nixon
O’Connor - Reagan
Kennedy - Reagan
Ginsberg - Carter
Souter - Bush
Thomas - Bush
Breyer - Clinton
Abortion was revisited in 1992 and upheld. As you can see, from this simple list, the number of Democratic appointments vs Republican appointments is quite out of line.
Sure FDR packed the court back in the 1930s and the Earl Warren court was socially active, particularly in expanding the constitution to protect individual rights over states.
I did hear something quite disturbing the other day though, some people want the Supreme Court to be subject to elections.
The Democratic problem is not one of failure due to making enemies.
That sounds like the Republican party line. If you saw how GW Bush won over Ann Richards, you would know that the Republicans are propaganda experts, and this article is really just more Republican propaganda.
The old division between Democrat and Republican was based on economic issues, labor vs big business. The Moral Majority and Christian Coalition have changed the dialogue mostly because of abortion, but now “family values” and other rhetorical catch phrases are being used. At the same time as this was being formed and solidified, the big labor Unions were being dismantled.
The simple fact is, labor no longer has any money to support the party.
Labor actually no longer exists.
The Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition have an agenda. The Democrats no longer do. Democrats were always the party that reacted to excesses of exploitation by business and government.
The Great Depression, brought to you by the Republicans economic policy.
After capably serving as Secretary of Commerce under Presidents Harding and Coolidge, Hoover became the Republican Presidential nominee in 1928. He said then: “We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land.” His election seemed to ensure prosperity. Yet within months the stock market crashed, and the Nation spiraled downward into depression.
After the crash Hoover announced that while he would keep the Federal budget balanced, he would cut taxes and expand public works spending.
In 1931 repercussions from Europe deepened the crisis, even though the President presented to Congress a program asking for creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to aid business, additional help for farmers facing mortgage foreclosures, banking reform, a loan to states for feeding the unemployed, expansion of public works, and drastic governmental economy.
At the same time he reiterated his view that while people must not suffer from hunger and cold, caring for them must be primarily a local and voluntary responsibility.
Once the Republicans totally fuck shit up again, the country will elect a Democrat = )
[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]In his latest post on this site (The God of the Blue States), I think that Sam Harris is making the same mistake that he attributes to other “liberals and secularists” in the United States by drawing the “wrong lesson from the 2004 election”. Namely, that the election was primarily determined by the voters’ religious beliefs. The objective evidence would suggest that this is a far too simplistic and one-dimensional analysis of a much more complex and multifaceted voter preference model.
This is a good example of where I think authoritarianism (“The Authoritarian Specter” by Bob Altemeyer) explains the data much better than simply faith. The two are closely related, but faith tends to be loaded with the baggage of religion (though religious-type faith certainly isn’t exclusive to what are generally considered religious beliefs), and that leads to confusion of the issues and misinterpretation, I think—things get all convoluted.
People seem to have a hard time not equivocating with the term faith, probably because the word has been popularly used so sloppily and vacuously to where it’s hard to tell what anyone means when they use it (without carefully defining their use). It’s what I call a “fudge term,” like “spiritual.” It’s been used to mean too many things to mean much of anything—so much so that the problem is hard to defeat even through presenting a clear definition (of course the fault lies with readers not the writer).
Even still, given what I understand Sam’s definition to be (the same one I have issues with—belief wihout sufficient epistemological cause—presumption, which Western religion has elevated to the status of high virtue), faith in small doses doesn’t seem to be any more problematic than alcohol or any other mildish recreational drug. The problem with faith is that we’re a culture of abusers—our abuse meter has been seriously miscalibrated by the factory, so to speak (Western—or US at least—socialization). But still, I’m not sure faith itself is the main problem. When faith is combined with authoritarianism, however, is when it gets ugly (arguably it has to be combined with authoritarianism in order that it be genuine faith, or real religious faith, but I think the problem—the ugliness factor—is more directly a function of authoritarianism than of faith).
Once the Republicans totally f*** s*** up again, the country will elect a Democrat = )
It is an unfortunate sign of desperation that liberals view their best hope for regaining political power to be that some sort of disaster will befall their country.
This is an excellent example of the reluctance of liberals to critically examine why they are losing “mind-share” with the American people.
Is it any surprise that voters are reluctant to elect candidates who consistently and obviously relish, celebrate and enthusiastically “spin” every piece of negative news about the economy, the war on terror, the environment, poverty, healthcare, etc., etc.,.......?
When will these people face the reality that the old liberal playbook of attempting to scare senior citizens with implications that the next great depression is just around the corner, that social security is going to be taken away by heartless Republicans, that soup lines will be forming on every block to serve dog food to the hungry masses, etc. etc. does not work anymore?
Liberals need to quit rooting for the terrorists, hoping for an economic meltdown, eagerly anticipating the onset of either global warming or an ice age, and fearing the spread of freedom in the Middle East.
In my opinion, until liberals abandon their “doom-and-gloom” worldview and develop a positive vision for the country, they will continue to see their political power erode at an ever increasing rate.
okay to review…
lets look at the past say 50 years ...
Its not a sad state of affairs, its history….those with an agenda care more than those that just react to bad situations.
The liberals didnt lose Mind share…with the rest of the country….
Liberal became a bad word about 20 years ago over one issue..abortion…
Liberals aren’t a cohesive group anymore, and what you accuse the liberals of doing has been done by the conservatives also in every election they lost. Look at Jimmy Carter?
seriously you must be under 25 = )
this is just more Republican party line rhetoric, and I am not buying it.
who was the ones that said if you vote for Kerry there will be another terriorist attack? talk about using fear…
this isnt a liberal only position about the state of economy, but many of us know that what is screwed up takes 8 or so years to come to fruition, meaning the effects of the bad decisions today will be felt tommorrow.
I am actually a social liberal and an economic conservative, so I have voted republican before…well before they became irresponsible spenders…
I am sorry the Democrats didnt have any plans to invade another soverign country on bad intelligence reports then try to cover it as spreading freedom. I am glad no other country feels as strongly about its political system it is invading other soverign countries to spread it around.
Oh wait, wasn’t that what the cold war was about? = )
you know the more I think about what you are saying ....
the madder I am getting….
go read Its My Party Too
you guys are spouting gloom and doom about a party with NO base coalition that still had TWO of the closest elections in recent history…
Bush vs Gore and Bush vs Kerry were both very close.
It is True that the Democratic Base is neither rich nor cohesive, it is true that over the last few years it has lost some. It represents minorities, small business, blue collar workers, gays, pro-choice, compassion for the poor, education, the enviroment, benevolant foriegn policy, social services, equal rights and protections, gun control, abolition of the death penalty, election reform, actors and artists, intellectuals, scientists,
Alot of these people chose to vote Republican on narrow issues or out of FEAR of TERRORISTS. ....
But you still have the Republicans representing Big Business, the Oil Industry, Wall Street, the Insurance companies, Investment companies, exploitative foriegn policy, White supremacy groups, The American Nazi party, the NRA, Evangelical Christians, Pro-lifers, the Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition, isolationists, and uneducated morons from Kansas…
you know I watch C-Span for most of my news. I watched the Con. Rice hearings. I saw my senator, Ms Kay Bailey Hutchinson get up there and say this (Paraphrased) “We shouldn’t be bringing up past mistakes made over Iraq or the war on terror or past job performance as an issue in the confirmation of Con. Rice”
Everytime anyone disagrees with the party line, even Moderates in their own party, they get shouted down with the same kind of accusations and rhetoric you are spouting here about the Democrats. The Republicans feed you a self-defeating spin, and you lap it up like the Pavlov’s dogs you are.
Think for yourselves, look up the facts, turn off Fox and CNN and watch PBS and C-Span.
Just because the Republicans are out there using and abusing everyone they can to make a base and take power, doesnt mean I want to vote for another party doing the same thing.
My point about the way the country works is simple, its not gloom and doom that makes people vote, its when the government does something that finally directly affects their lives. Like getting their kids killed in wars overseas….
Oh yeah and the Daily Show on Comedy Central = )
[quote author=“Iisbliss”]okay to review…
lets look at the past say 50 years ...
seriously you must be under 25 = )
First of all, although I wish that I was under 25, in actuality, I voted for each of the people on the above list from Kennedy on (including Carter - my biggest mistake) and except for Billy Jeff Clinton.
So, over the last 45 years, I have voted for both Democrats and Republicans. I have always been open to listen to what they have had to say and, after careful consideration under the circumstances of the time, I have generally voted with the majority of the electorate (10 out of 12 times).
Based upon that record, I don’t think that I am too far out on the “fringe” of the political spectrum and feel that I am at least reasonable barometer for moderate mainstream voter sentiment.
However, for the last 24 years, I have resided in the “Peoples Republic of California” where I have personally been subjected to the relentless assault of a political process dominated by modern liberal Democrats.
As a result, I would NEVER vote to impose liberalism on my fellow citizens in the rest of the country and must plead “guilty” to an experience-based strong anti-liberal bias.
So, in the last election, I believe that you are probably too liberal if your preferred candidate for President……
…..voted against the war and thereby to let Saddam Hussein keep Kuwait in 1991.
…..opposed every Ronald Reagan initiative to confront the Soviet Union and communism in the Western Hemisphere during the 1980’s.
…..introduced legislation to cut intelligence funding by over $6 billion after the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.
…..failed to show up to any Senate Intelligence Committee meetings for one year after the first World Trade Center bombing.
…..failed to show up to over 75% of all Senate Intelligence Committee meetings while a member.
…..had his campaign website claim that he served as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence……even though he never held the position.
…..voted against the death penalty for terrorists.
…..voted against every significant weapon system now used to wage the global war on terror.
…..voted to increase taxes nearly 100 times and against tax reductions over 300 times.
…..voted against the funding needed to support our troops in Iraq.
…..spent 20 years in the US Senate without sponsoring any useful legislation that became law.
…..has a Senate voting record that is significantly to the left of Ted Kennedy (a.k.a. “The Hero of Chappaquiddick”), Hillary (“Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy”) Clinton and Fidel Castro.
…..believes in freedom of speech ……unless you disagree with him in which case he will go to court to silence you, keep you off of radio and TV, suppress your videos, ban your books and, if you are Ralph Nader, keep you off the ballot.
…..ran as a Vietnam “war hero” but refused to release his military records or answer any questions regarding his military service.
…..wants yet another purple heart for the traumatic a$$-whipping that he suffered at the hands of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
…..admitted to personally committing atrocities against innocent civilians while serving in Vietnam.
…..while serving as an officer in the US Navy Reserve, aligned himself with “Traitor-Jane” Fonda to illegally meet with, take direction from and give aid and comfort to the North Vietnamese Communists and Viet Cong enemy thereby undermining the morale of US soldiers and POWs during the Vietnam war.
…..wanted to fight a more “sensitive” war on terror by broadening the “nuisance laws” against prostitution, gambling, loitering, curbing your dog and spitting on the sidewalk to include other “misdemeanor” terror acts such as mass murder, beheading of innocent civilians, car bombings and advocating Islamic jihad.
…..thinks that, before any action against suspected terrorists is taken under the Patriot Act, it should first be reviewed and approved by a panel of ACLU lawyers followed by passing a “global test” administered and proctored by the World Court.
…..believes that the best way to avoid international misunderstandings is to confuse both our friends and enemies by taking constantly changing and increasingly “nuanced” and convoluted positions that defy understanding by anybody on all significant issues.
…..thinks that he can build international support by referring to current US allies as “the coalition of the coerced and the bribed” and to patriotic Iraqi leaders as “puppets” of the US government.
…..thinks that he knows more about what is happening in Iraq than the heroic Iraqi Prime Minister who is risking his life for his country every day of every week.
…..thinks that he can attract new allies to our side and motivate our troops in combat by declaring that we are “fighting the wrong war, at the wrong time, in the wrong place” and that Iraq is a “distraction” from the global war on terror.
…..thinks that it is OK for US soldiers to die in support of and under command of the corrupt United Nations but not in defense of the United States of America.
…..thinks that we should forego collective multi-lateral negotiations with North Korea in favor of the failed Clinton/Albright/Carter bilateral approach that handed them nuclear weapons on a silver platter.
…..insists on taking a poll, consulting a focus group and passing a “global test” before committing any unilateral action including eating crackers in bed, singing in the shower, passing gas or taking a wiz.
…..thinks that the reason that American children cannot read, write or do math is because the recently passed “No Child Left Behind Act” has standards that are too high and funding that is too low…...not because of incompetent teachers who are protected by powerful labor unions.
…..thinks that the decision to recognize marriage between two men, two women, an adult and a child, a man and a sheep, a woman and a donkey and/or any other polygamous combination of animals, vegetables or minerals should be left up to the states.
…..thinks that his fleet of SUVs, private jet and luxury yacht will run better on caribou dung than oil from the north slope of Alaska.
…..thinks that capitalism is wrong and creates greed but supports himself by hitting on billionaire bag ladies.
…..believes that businesses create oppression but that government creates prosperity and jobs.
…..does not believe that lowering costs through outsourcing will make US companies more competitive in worldwide markets and reduce prices for US consumers.
…..believes that the domestic economy and international relations will be improved by restraining free trade.
…..believes that the economy will be strengthened by raising taxes on the entrepreneurs who create 90% of all new jobs.
…..believes that there is insufficient tax revenue flowing into the federal treasury but uses every loophole in the book to reduce his personal tax rate to 12% on multi-millions of income.
…..believes that record levels of economic growth, job creation, and home ownership, combined with low inflation and interest rates are sure signs of a failing economy that can only be rectified by raising taxes.
…..decries the high cost and inadequacy of health care but selected as his running mate a man who made his fortune on frivolous medical personal injury law suits that put good doctors out of business and forced the rest to practice extreme and costly defensive medicine.
…..ran as a devout Catholic and ex-alter boy but is in danger of being excommunicated for voting against the ban on partial birth abortion.
…..believes that embryonic stem cell research will cure athlete’s foot, dandruff, the common cold, the flu and “The Curse of the Bambino” while also stopping the outsourcing of wheelchair manufacturing jobs by eliminating them entirely.
…..thinks that preventing felons, dead people, fictional characters, and/or illegal aliens from registering and voting multiple times is Republican voter suppression.
…..is OK with having to show a photo ID to rent a video at Blockbuster but not to vote for President of the United States.
…..directed and funded an army of lawyers to sue for election fraud whether or not there is any evidence to support the charges.
…..did not renounce the goons that were harassing his opponent’s campaign workers and breaking into their offices all across the country in clear acts of election terrorism.
…..was called a “lousy candidate” by that great American conservative patriot Michael Moore.
…..cares about anything that Al (“Hanging-Chad”)Gore says .…..especially in Florida.
FINALLY…. after 4 years of bitching about losing in 2000, millions of dollars spent trashing our president during a time of war, countless books and movies spreading half-truths and lies, a rock tour dedicated to get your candidate elected, three debates, almost every well known leftist celebrity endorsement, “another Vietnam” in Iraq, the most money ever raised for a political campaign, union thugs atacking Republican election workers, thousands of dead new voters, the old news media spewing the most unabashed liberal anit-Bush bias ever seen, …………Your candidate still lost by 3 million votes and the Republicans increased their majorities in both the US Senate, the House of Representatives and in Governor’s mansions and State Legislatures across the country.
Liberals……..you need to step back, take a deep breath and realize that your political philosophy may need just a little “fine tuning” before you can sell that S**T to the American people.
ah so now we have the truth…and I am not going to play list the political exaggerations of both sides with you while you toe the party line.
clearly, you should move to Texas, and I should move to Ca.
The things that bother me about the Bush win…isnt so much how much I hate or dont hate liberals or Republicans.
Its a personal thing after having had him for Governor. The man is a smarmy as a used car salesman. And he is still smiling even when he talks about the casualties in Iraq, while Haleburton rakes in the dough and we put permanent military bases over oilfields. Well he needed to do something to help his buddies when Enron finally fell apart.
I don’t generally dislike Republicans or Christians, but when you put them both together I think you have an unholy alliance, and it will fall apart of its own weight after doing some irreparable damage.
Anyway, you have Arnie now, so you should be happy = )
We got rid of Bush, and finally maybe we do something about the states terrible education problems.
The Atlantic this month has an excellent issue. One of the articles is the now-obligatory analysis of the election results, and the writer (whose name I’ve unfortunately forgotten) cites the widening gap within religious populations between the hardening conservative element and the more moderates. While religious believers’ numbers apparently has remained relatively constant, the distinction between the wingnuts and the rest has become more marked and was exploited by the winner.
If Democrats had to convince hardcore fundamentalists to vote for them in order to win, there might be reason for them to run from Christianity. But I believe Democrats don’t need to convince any of these people in order to win. Based on the closeness of the last two elections and the Clinton landslide in 1996, the Democrats need to convince the many moderates out there who already agree with them on the important issues but who somehow believe they are being “Un-Christian” if they pull the lever for a Democrat. If we could get the message out that it is OK to be both a Christian and a Democrat, I think the Dems could pick off enough votes to win. If the Democrats don’t even try to show that there are people out there like me who vote for Democrats precisely because I am a Christian, then they are really doomed to a long winter in the wilderness.
I’m thinking Leiberman
The Democratic party is incapable of nominating a moderate. And, the more they lose, the more they are likely to go further to the left in response. It seems incapabable of seeing Clintons success, after moving more to the center, as an example of what they can do, despite conservatives pointing this out to them.
BTW, if Leiberman had been nominated, and if I had been a Democrat, I would certainly have voted for him! He seemed to be the only sane man of the bunch.