Victor Davis Hanson
Our two parties have both changed, and that explains why one will win, and one lose in the midterm elections.
The old Democrats have faded away after being overwhelmed by radicals and socialists.
Moderates who once embraced Bill Clinton’s opportunistic “third way” are now either irrelevant or nonexistent.
Once considered too wacky and socialist to be taken seriously, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the performance-art “squad,” the radicals of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and her hard progressive wing are today’s Democratic Party kingpins.
The alienating radicals of Antifa and Black Lives Matter often serve as the new party’s shock troops on the streets. They opportunistically appear to push the party to embrace no-bail laws, defunding the police, and the destruction of the fossil fuel industry.
Since none of those positions poll even close to 50 percent with the public, the Democrats routinely either slur their opponents as racists, nativists, and climate denialists or obsess on another Trump psychodrama distraction from the Russia collusion hoax to the Mar-a-Lago raid.
What “blue dog” centrists are left in the Democratic Party either keep mum or, like Tulsi Gabbard, flee in disgust.
Donald Trump also recalibrated the Republican Party and helped to turn it into a nationalist-populist movement that would rather win rudely than lose politely. The MAGA agenda pushed Jacksonian deterrence rather than unpopular nation-building abroad. It finally focused on fair rather than just free trade. Republicans now unite in demanding only legal immigration and promoting domestic investment rather than globalist outsourcing and offshoring.
In response, many of the old Bush-Romney country-club wing left in disgust. Others licked their wounds as fanatical NeverTrump something or others.
Both parties have also been radically changed by additional issues of class, race, and wealth.
Compare the income profiles of voters, whether by ZIP codes or congressional districts. A once lunch-bucket carrying, union member Democratic Party has become the enclave of three key constituencies.
First, there is the subsidized and often inner-city poor.
Second, the meat of the party, is the upscale, bicoastal professional and suburban credentialed classes.
Third, the real rulers of the party are the hyper-rich of Big Tech, Wall Street, Hollywood, the corporate boardroom, the administrative state, the media, and the legal world. Almost all these institutions have lost public confidence and poll miserably. Their cocooned leaders are never subject to the ramifications of their own often unworkable policies.
In contrast, Republicans this election cycle concerned themselves mostly with material issues of the battered middle classes—inflation, the price of fuel and energy, a secure border, crime, parental control of schools, and realist foreign policy.
Reforming social security, reducing capital gains taxes, and pruning back regulations are still doctrinaire Republican agendas. But they are not iconic of the middle-class dominated party as they once were in the age of Ronald Reagan.
Democrats, as the champions of the well-off, remain redistributionist and seek to tax the middle class to fund ever more government programs.
Joe Biden canceled some student loans. He printed lots of money. And he expanded entitlements. But even these calcified Great Society issues are drowned out by the real concerns of the professional leftist elites who run the Democratic Party.
After all, they do not worry much about the price of diesel fuel, or whether border communities are swarmed by illegal immigration. They are indifferent to whether it is unsafe to take a late-night subway ride. And they are not too worried about being mugged or whether they can splurge for a weekend steak.
Instead, condescending Democratic movers and shakers are obsessed with climate change and sermonize about ending fossil fuels. Diversity, equity, and inclusion—all mandated equality-of-result agendas—are their cultural religion, along with transgender advocacy, and abortion on demand in all 50 states.
The net result of these radical shifts is that Republicans began bonding with the neglected working classes and those without college degrees. That way they drowned out left-wing racial obsessions with ecumenical class concerns.
In the process, the new Republican Party in 2022 is poised to win 45-50 percent of Hispanic voters and a near record number of African-American men.
In our changed political landscape, poorer Republican candidates are routinely outspent in most of their races. Conservatives are more likely to be canceled by left-wing anti-free-expression institutions like Facebook and Twitter. Their access to online knowledge and communication is often warped by monopolies and cartels like Google and Apple.
The Democrats claim Republicans are racists. But they cannot explain why record numbers of minorities are now deserting the Democrats, and the blue-state urban areas they run, to join the new Republicans.
As Republicans diminished the role of race, the Democrats grew ever more obsessed about it—and ignored class. The Oprahs, Meghan Markles, and MSNBC anchors of the world fixate over skin color in direct proportion to their own affluence, status, and privilege—as their hypocrisy turns off the middle classes of all races.
In sum, the party of old left-wing progressives has become one of rich regressives. And once country-club Republicans are becoming a party of middle-class populists. And the election will reflect both those changes.
16 thoughts on “The Switcheroos of the Two Parties”
we all lose.
politics is used to enhance ones bank account and social status.
all politicians suck.
only because of the necessary evil of these scum we vote and slap ourselves and try feeling good about defending the constitution only to end up yelling at each party for the mush going into a bill containing 800 or so different funding expectations.
i thank you for your understanding history and projecting into our next phase.
The system itself is corrupted. Fiat currency…all the real checks and balances have been gone for awhile. Just an advanced level of greed fed by the complexities of stealthy manipulation of all branches of goverment and big business. Its just incredible! Who needs to watch any fiction or third world shenanigans? We got Biden and Fetterman style politics now? I swore I saw strings on Biden the other day. Jills’ such a good puppeteer! Its truly a decadent condition!
This should be printed in massive quantities and dropped from the air over all American cities.
The switcheroo is not yet complete but its close.
I can clearly recall the ‘turning’, 25 years ago when ‘Blue’ state districts started electing GOPers, the news would be full of ‘for the first time’ in 50 years,’ first time since reconstruction’ etc etc District so and so had elected a Republican….
The south has ‘fallen ‘, again lol, now its the NE and some NW state districts turn, Maine hasn’t sent a GOP congressman to the house in 100 years, and that race is neck and neck.
The realignment is almost there, remember, when the Dems were the Reps, they held the house for a uninterrupted 47 year stretch, and the senate all but 16 of those years….we can only hope.
I certainly hope so.
Perfect summary of what’s happened to the parties.
Victor Hansen is a treasure.
Excellent breakdown of the key constituents aligned with each party. One still wonders if our two-party system is not also part of the problem. Do hope you are correctly predicting the midterm election results. But if we have just another example of elite capture, in which the new people join with and are assimilated within the existing networks of power and influence, what do the election results really mean? We need a renunciation of the globalist agenda in policy and practice, not just in promises and soundbites. We need a check and balance on the emergent Administrative State — Permanent Washington. We’ll see.
Eloquent and on point. Excellent, as always.
I hope so.
The essential message here: If you vote Democrat, you are part of the problem…
NO ONE ARTICULATES THE STATE OF OUR COUNTRY LIKE VDH…he is a treasure & i am a huge fan of all his commentary…i can’t get enough…reading all his books too.
Politicians lie, but politicians backed by a media lie exponentially, even to themselves.
Hispanic and Black Americans of ordinary means want the same as all Americans.
This fixation, demonization, projection & obsession with Donald J. Trump and his supporters has run its’ course.
The radical progressive Democratic Tower of Mordor is about to implode. Thank goodness.
With all due respect, Professor Hanson, what I see in the Democratic Party and especially the current administration is the puppeteering of the Obama faction. No other faction of the Democratic Party seems to have any significant influence. Although AOC is a first-magnitude star, she and her Squad are more visible than influential. The Clintons have found it almost impossible to raise substantial sums of money. Bernie Sanders inspires a certain amount of loyalty, but kowtowing to Hillary after the rigging of the Democratic primaries cost him a lot of support and probably whatever future he had.
The NY Post article linked in the article does not indicate Republican’s are poised to win 45-50% of the Hispanic vote in the 2022 elections. Here is the relevant text from the article, “Asked which party they would like to see in control of Congress after November’s midterm elections, 54% of Latino voters picked Democrats, while 33% went with Republicans, giving Democrats a 21-point edge, an NBC News/Telemundo poll found. ” The Post article did clearly indicate the GOP is gaining favor among Hispanics but not to the extent claimed by Mr. Hanson. I am surprised by such an egregious misstatement/error by Mr. Hanson.
Presently I am reading a book on the fall of Berlin 1945 and learned something I didn’t know. In the 30s and 40s, the German Communist party members referred to themselves as Antifa…quite appropriate for today’s ideology of the American Antifa