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Dr. Frank Luntz
Nov 29, 2021
Despite talk of a political center, there’s little evidence anyone actually resides there. America is deeply divided. Voters are moving further and further to the sides, and fewer people are identifying as moderates. President Biden is following suit, pandering to the far-left, and it’s costing him. His approval rating is down. Some say he should move to the middle to regain support, a strategy that worked for another Democrat in the White House. However, before we can find common ground in the middle, Americans have some serious questions to consider.
So much discussion about a political center. What Political Center? is my questions.
In a new USA/Suffolk University poll, President Biden’s approval is down to 38%, which looks pretty good compared to Vice President Kamala Harris, whose approval now stands at 28%.
Democrats have just been reprimanded by voters, with Republican election victories happening all across the country. They happened on November 2, 2021 in areas you would not expect.
It’s not rocket science that Joe Biden and his party have lost touch with the voters who elected them. Large percentages of these Democrats did not vote for AOC and the Progressives squad.
And they are now showing this unhappiness that they have with Biden capitulating to the far-left element of his party. Even respected Democrat strategist Mark Penn is weighing in. He has a piece in the New York Times urging Biden to shake off these Progressives and reconnect with the moderates in his party. He said that that is what Bill Clinton did, he reminded readers: this is how Bill Clinton saved his presidency in the mid-1990s.
Former Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal offers up a similar message in advice in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. He said, Statesmanship, that means understanding the need to move to the middle. What middle? I have real problems with this advice.
One, voters themselves are moving away from the middle. Two, the reality of culture and politics in our country is that things keep moving left.
The only difference between when Republicans are in control and when Democrats are in control is how fast it happens that things move to the left.
Yes, it’s true that Bill Clinton saved his presidency by turning to the middle. But then, in 1994, according to Gallup, 25% of Democrats self-identified as liberal, 25% conservative, and 48% as moderate. Today, even the same Gallup shows that the percentage of Democrats identifying as liberal has doubled to 51%, the percentage identifying as conservative is half of what it was in 1994 – 12%, and percentage identifying as moderates has dropped from 48% to 35%.
What political center?
At the same time, Republicans, they’re becoming more conservative than where they were in 1994. In 1994, 58% of Republicans identified as conservative. Today it’s 75%.
Statesmanship and compromise are only realistic when most voters, of both parties, are generally on the same page regarding core values.
But what happens when the common ground of core values is lost? What happens?
I started writing several years ago noting the similarities to what is happening today in our country to where things stood in the 1850s when the institution of slavery was tearing at the soul of our nation.
Where is compromise about whether slavery should have been accepted or not in a country that is supposed to be about freedom?
Some insisted yes, some insisted no, and everything exploded into a civil war.
What is happening today is similar.
In a Pew Research survey from 2020 November, 80% of Biden voters and 77% of Trump voters agreed with this statement about voters from the other party:
They said: “Not only do we have different priorities when it comes to politics, but we fundamentally disagree about core American values.”
Culturally, there is no more room for compromise about differences of opinion regarding those accepting and those rejecting biblical values regarding marriage, family, and private property than there was about slavery.
The challenge today is not to find a middle that does not exist. The challenge today is for Americans to choose who we are and what kind of country do we want – free country, or not.
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