If the US Has Gone Center-Left, Where Do the Center-Right Folks Go?

by Martin Harris

Even before the just-accomplished re-election of Prez 44, the talking heads and typing hands of the chattering class were expressing glee or dismay over the “major demographic shift of ethnic minorities” supposedly underlying what was about to happen, if not this time around, then even more surely next time. In a logical non sequitur most of them identified the minorities supposedly involved: blacks, Hispanics, the youth vote, the single-female vote. Indeed, all four voted for #44 in (race or other loyalty?) percentages far exceeding a “normal” pro-and-con vote distribution, where typically only a few percentage points separate the yea’s from the nays. There was one more, separate results unidentified: the Gentry-Left vote, made up predominantly of upper-middle-class middle- to upper-income-quintile whites who voted, not entirely for more economic “stuff” for themselves, but to demonstrate their ideological solidarity with those who did so vote. A new label, “dependency politics,” has come into use. Added together, the four minorities, two racial and two not, plus the G-L’s (now found in significant numbers in rural-gentrification enclaves across the country, like Vermont) made up a fairly solid “normal” Prez-vote majority, 50.4% to 48%. Your Humble Scribe was unable to find any vote analysis which showed the results for another racial minority, the East Asians. That’s the group with the highest household income, student test scores, college enrollment, family stability, and so on; and, presumably, a minority unlikely to vote for a pol promising more re-distributed free “stuff” in preference over a pol promising more economic and intellectual individual freedom.

In respectful disagreement with the above heads and hands, therefore, your Humble Scribe would suggest that the “major shift” wasn’t demographic in the sense of ethnic minorities but ideological in the sense of re-distribution enthusiasm, and that the much-derided benefits-seeking-and-drawing 47%, plus their sympathizers, is now the new majority. The original 47% was justly criticized on the grounds that candidate Romney included in it those benefits-recipients who had previously paid from their working-years earnings into their eventual Social Security, military pension, and MediCare accounts, but he didn’t include the battalions of voters who derive active income from ever-larger government, from “crony-capitalist” government-funded employment, or from politically-favored regulation or licensing (think public-service unions and too-big-to-fail banks) whose membership, in sum makes up not 47% of the new electorate but at least 50.4%. Add in the Gentry-Left vote, (in Vermont, the eventual Presidential count went 69 to 31%, and it wasn’t because of demographics in the usual sense of ethnic minorities) and there’s a permanent majority (unless and until attitudes and ideologies change, that is) which will elect any pol promising more re-distributionist “stuff” over any pol promising more freedom of intellectual and economic opportunity. It’s an over-simplification (HS opinion) to assert, Rush Limbaugh fashion, that the “free stuff” vote is the Socio-Economic-Status under-class and the risk-averse government-security-seeking youth and single-female sector, because, as the Vermont vote shows, it also includes the group sociologist/author Charles Murray and journalist/author David Brooks both call the new “upper class”, above average in SES standing, wealth and/or income, education, and political activism. Many of these folks are now to be found in the new rural-gentrification locales, Vermont of course included, where they lead in such movements as Smart Growth, mini-farming, and wind-energy (except, of course, on their own ridgelines or sailing waters). If the new majority is permanent, does the new minority stay and pay? Or does it leave and re-group? And isn’t that not-demographic-but-ideological change the real one, as shown by some States, via selective in-migration, already going ever-more “red” (like TN) or ever-more “blue” (like VT)?

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The typing hands which wrote the most persuasive (HS opinion) description of this “new Majority” phenomenon belong to Minnesota blogger John Hinderaker, who opines thus:

“…the proposition…that was proven false last night: that America is a center-Right country…We have to admit that it is false. America is a deeply-divided country with a center-Left plurality.” He goes on to describe the well-known political-theorist view (Plato, then Alexander Tytler, then Benjamin Franklin) that “democracy will survive until people figure out that they can vote themselves money,” and asks “once we are governed by a majority that no longer believes in the America of the Founding, is there any path back to freedom and prosperity?” He offers, not an answer, but a reprise of how it happened that “…among young Americans, socialism enjoys a higher favorability rating than free enterprise…” and names the usual suspects: “the education system, the entertainment industry, the news media, and various cultural institutions…” that have succeeded in producing widespread “historical illiteracy”. Maybe an answer is in his question “Will Americans be forced to look elsewhere for opportunity?” And maybe the answer is that we’re already doing just that: 27 States, at last count, are pursuing the Tenth Amendment/Nullification option. It’s worth reading up on the Tenth Amendment (limitations on Federal control over States, among other things) and previous Nullification movements, mostly based on attempts by the Feds to tax some States for re-distribution to others, just like today’s situation; but historically they never worked, for the usual political reasons. Secession didn’t work too well either, and was “cured” by military invasion for the Lincoln-defined purpose of tax-collection-by-force, not, at first, for abolition: 30 (maybe 31?) States and Territories against first 7, then 11. There’s now a national Tenth Amendment Center, with some 27 States directly pursuing the subject. Some States, mostly “red” and freedom-oriented, have their own TAC groups; States with “blue” and free-“stuff”-oriented majorities mostly don’t. Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Maine are in the former category, while Vermont and Oregon are in the latter group. Even Wisconsin has a TAC, while cautious Texas has a “Center for the Study of Tenth Amendment Issues”.Should the efforts of the TAC’s to restore the Constitutional strength of the Tenth Amendment fail, supporters’ Plan B is governance separation from the free-“stuff” taker-majority States. In all 50 States, the WeThePeople website reports, the restless natives (even Vermont’s 31% conservative minority) are already sending secession-type “peaceful withdrawal” petitions to whitehouse.gov; the White House will treat them with disdain.