America Got a Little Less Liberal Last Year

Here’s a timely reminder from Gallup:

Since 2018, the country has moved slightly to the right. As you can see, 37 percent of Americans call themselves conservative, and if you add in the one-third of moderates who are also pretty reliable conservatives (even if they don’t admit it), about 47 percent of the country is conservative. This means that Republicans can rely on a strategy of appealing solely to conservatives and still have a pretty good chance of winning.

Democrats are in a far tougher position. Even if you add in the liberal fraction of moderates, only about 30 percent of Americans call themselves liberal. This means that if Democrats try to move left and appeal solely to liberals, they’re most likely doomed. This, not spinelessness, is the reason the Democratic Party spends so much time and energy trying to appeal to the center.

But here’s another chart that, if anything, paints an even grimmer picture:

After years of getting steadily more liberal, even Democrats themselves moved slightly to the right in 2019. A full half of them identify as conservative or moderate, up three points during a year consumed by Russia, Ukraine, and impeachment. This compares to only a quarter of Republicans who identify as liberal or moderate.

My guess is that practically every ranking Democrat in the country, from Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on down, have these charts stapled to their mental foreheads. It may seem sometimes as if they hate activists—and maybe they do—but more likely it’s just that necessity forces them to work off a framework of knowledge that activists can choose to ignore if they want. It’s unlikely that will change until Bernie Sanders or someone like him proves that these surveys are wrong and America is ready to elect a real lefty. Until then, the Democratic leadership will stick to the facts as they know them.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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