I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Democrats and Religion

There has been a lot of attention paid to Michael Duffy's appearance on Hardball where he asserted that:
DUFFY: Yeah. Well, I think, for the last 25 years, Democrats have done everything they can to alienate religious voters, faith-minded voters, and the --

MATTHEWS: Not a smart move politically.

DUFFY: Oh, no. And it seemed to be part of the program. They did it to woo a secular left that they thought didn't want to have anything to do with that.

MATTHEWS: Was turned off by the religious people, yeah.
The always brilliant Lance Manion does a great job of taking apart this foolishness in How would Jesus vote?. Please go read the entire thing. So why have people supported the Republicans? I tried to answer this question over at Running Scared about two and a half years ago. It's what Digby refers to as a fear of hippies. Here is that post in it's entirety.
Why people support the Republicans
Posted by Ron Beasley at Sun Apr 17, 1:58pm

Jazz talks about Tax reform bait and switch today and asks a question:
When you take into consideration these tax issues, the passage of the demonic bankruptcy bill which Bush is about to sign, increasing attacks on environmental protections and everything else we are seeing, why are red state voters consistently continuing to vote for people who are not acting in their own best interest? And how do they continue to defend them? All of these bloggers, pundits and commentors can't possibly be exclusively in the multimillionaire strata of society. So what would make them continue to support people and policies which are directly contrary to their own personal needs and rights? Can anyone explain this?
To answer this question we have to go back to the late 60's and early 70's and remember that for a majority social issues trump economic ones.
Three events shaped the socio/political landscape we see in the United States today.

  • The Vietnam War

  • The Civil Rights Act and

  • Roe VS Wade

All three played a part in turning "middle America" against the Democrats.

The Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was successfully sold as a battle against communism at a time when communist paranoia was still very strong in the US. Of course it had more to do with imperialism than it did political philosophy but that was not how it was presented by the MSM. The demonstrations against the war were seen as pro-communist and un-American even by many, like my father, who opposed the war. The demonstrators were also associated with the free love and drug culture which scared the hell out of the majority of Americans and resulted in a cultural backlash. As the anti-war party the Democrats became associated with what was perceived as a collapse of morality.

The Civil Rights Act
You can't legislate prejudice and intolerance out of existence. Even after the Civil Rights act was passed the prejudice was still alive and well and not exclusively in the South. Whites were terrified that voting blacks would take control. Prejudice did become politically incorrect and morphed into what is now the Evangelical Christian Movement. Once again it was the Democrats that were associated with this "threat". The "states rights" party of Jefferson had become the party of federal intervention that would have made the Hamiltonian Federalists proud.

Roe VS Wade
The religious social conservatives saw Roe VS Wade as another federal attack on their belief system. Once again this was associated with the Democratic party and the "activist judges" that had been appointed by Democrats.

All of this set the stage for the brilliant "Divide and Conquer" strategy of Lee Attwater. He recognized two things, the Republican Party could never regain power based on its' feudalistic economic policy and that a majority of Americans will vote on social issues over economic ones. This led to the successful demonetization of the Democratic party and the Republican superiority we see today. This strategy worked fine for a number of years but we now see that the lunatic fringe of the social conservatives have taken control of the party and are actually threatening the economic interests of the big business feudalists. The attack on the constitution may also be alienating even some of the social conservatives. The American people will continue to vote their heart before they vote their pocket book but we may have reached a point where their hearts are no longer with those in charge like Tom DeLay and Bill Frist. We can only hope.

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