Monday, April 25, 2005

Individualism vs. Republican Social Conservativism

The contradictory beliefs of more traditional small government conservatives and the religious right, which promotes a government which is more intrusive in individual's lives, is bound to cause problems for conservatives In The New Republic Andrew Sullivan warns that:
unless the religious presence within Republicanism becomes less dogmatic and fundamentalist, the conservative coalition as we have known it cannot long endure. Advocates for government restraint cannot, in good conscience, keep supporting a party that believes in its own God-given mission to change people's souls. Believers in fiscal discipline cannot keep backing an administration that boasts of its huge spending increases and has no intention of changing.
Sullivan doesn't think this will necessarily lead to an end of Republican dominance of the government, but there are areas where the Republican electoral strategy is in danger. The Los Angeles Times warns that the social conservativism of the South is incompatible with the individualism of the west. They note that "The social conservatism that keeps the South red may not be enough for the West. Old-fashioned individual liberty and Democratic populism are getting a hearing."

Loss of the west could eliminate the GOP's advantage with thier lock on the south:
Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona have elected Democratic governors, as have the swing states of Oregon and Washington. Democrats picked up a House seat and a Senate seat in Colorado and won both houses of the Legislature. Democrats took the Montana Legislature to go along with their new chief executive.

Even in the presidential contest, Democrat John Kerry had strong showings in New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado. If they had gone to Kerry instead of George W. Bush, Kerry would have won. . .
Rather than trying to sound more like the religious right on the so-called moral issues, Democrats might be better if they did a better job of differentiating themselves from the Republicans in supporting individual liberty and opposing the Republican support of bigger government and more intrusion in individual's lives. With the Republicans in control of all three branches of government, the traditional mistrust of government seen in the west should be easy to turn against the Republicans.


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