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Old 05-07-2019, 11:42 AM
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Have Democrats become the more "moralizing" party?


Back in the 1990s, the Republicans were the ones talking on and on about morals - Clinton's sex scandals were morally wrong, abortion was morally wrong, homosexuality was morally wrong, etc. etc. etc. But since then it looks like the Democrats have firmly supplanted them as the "party of morality" (not about who is actually right or wrong, but rather, who talks about morality more.) Now it's that locking children in cages is immoral, homophobia/bigotry/racism is immoral, not doing something about climate change that will affect future generations is immoral, etc. The GOP by contrast has become comparatively more silent about morality, especially in the Trump era.

How did this happen and how long is it going to continue?
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Old 05-07-2019, 12:46 PM
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When one party's presidents start wars under false pretenses, appeal directly to white supremacists, threaten to lock up political opponents, call the media a public enemy and enact family-destroying policies to combat non-existent border crises, the question shouldn't be, How did Democrats become the more moralizing party?

It should be, How did Republicans lose their morality?
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Old 05-07-2019, 12:51 PM
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When one party's presidents start wars under false pretenses, appeal directly to white supremacists, threaten to lock up political opponents, call the media a public enemy and enact family-destroying policies to combat non-existent border crises, the question shouldn't be, How did Democrats become the more moralizing party?

It should be, How did Republicans lose their morality?
But I think this Democratic trend predated Trump. Even during the Obama years, Democrats (at least, many of the younger Democrats) had begun to adopt a tone that they were moral and the opposition to their policies (i.e., opposing same-sex marriage) was immoral.
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Old 05-07-2019, 01:04 PM
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Could it be that they were always talking about their own morals but were drown out by the VERY LOUD GOP TALKING ABOUT THERE OWN MORALS!!!!!!!11

It's only now that the GOP has stopped (because that tank is empty, yah?) that you can hear the Dems at all.
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Old 05-07-2019, 01:08 PM
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But I think this Democratic trend predated Trump.
So do I -- that's why I mentioned starting wars under false pretenses.

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Even during the Obama years, Democrats (at least, many of the younger Democrats) had begun to adopt a tone that they were moral and the opposition to their policies (i.e., opposing same-sex marriage) was immoral.
Agreed -- because people who insist on denying other people basic rights on the basis of their sexual preferences "because God said so" are petty and bigoted, and opposing bigotry is morally just.
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Old 05-07-2019, 01:20 PM
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Agreed -- because people who insist on denying other people basic rights on the basis of their sexual preferences "because God said so" are petty and bigoted, and opposing bigotry is morally just.
But it didn't use to be like this. It used to be that homosexuality was squashed in the name of "opposing immorality." Now, LGBT is upheld in the name of "opposing immorality." Something flipped.
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Old 05-07-2019, 01:28 PM
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But it didn't use to be like this. It used to be that homosexuality was squashed in the name of "opposing immorality." Now, LGBT is upheld in the name of "opposing immorality." Something flipped.
Yes, what flipped was that millions of Americans realized homosexuality wasn't the threat to society the religious right had made it out to be. We went from "gays are immoral because God says so" to "gays are just normal people, and anyone who tells you they're immoral because God says so is just a bigot."
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Old 05-07-2019, 02:12 PM
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Society's values have changed over time. Republicans tapped the old morality for all it was worth, defining morality as supporting prayer in school, opposing abortion, criminalizing recreational drugs (except alcohol of course), and opposing homosexuality. Things have changed. Those that oppose abortion are still quite vocal and for many it is their one and only issue. But gays are now much more accepted, marijuana is legal in more places, and nobody seems to talk about prayer in schools anymore. Now in my opinion, being more inclusive and tolerant more reflects modern morality and that puts Democrats on the moral high ground.
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Old 05-07-2019, 02:52 PM
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Yes, what flipped was that millions of Americans realized homosexuality wasn't the threat to society the religious right had made it out to be. We went from "gays are immoral because God says so" to "gays are just normal people, and anyone who tells you they're immoral because God says so is just a bigot."
Exactly. What we're left with are things that really are a threat to some segments of society. Many of the positions of the Democrats are now of the greater good outweighs some local harm variety. Things like cutting back on the use of coal and oil, reforming the immigration system, globalization vs. isolationism, etc. These are things that can be measured objectively, so the big arguments have now shifted to "we're right and you're wrong on the facts" style of arguments. That's why Trump has had to resort to the whole fake news thing. Abortion is the big exception to this overall trend, and still functioning on the morality model rather than arguments that resort to denying facts.
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Old 05-07-2019, 04:24 PM
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Society's values have changed over time. [ . . . ] Those that oppose abortion are still quite vocal and for many it is their one and only issue.
They have indeed. One of the changes is that many of the religious groups now railing against abortion had little or no problem with it before Roe vs. Wade, or even around that time. It got blown up into a huge political issue later on.

I think part of the shift in the Democratic Party's discussion of moral issues is that they decided not to keep letting the Republicans keep claiming the moral high ground and framing the Democrats as immoral, but to instead point out in the terms of morality where they feel the Democrats are behaving morally and the Republicans aren't.

If the Republicans actually are doing it less (I'm not sure that's true), it might be because they've discovered that standing on a platform of Morality doesn't work as well if people keep pointing out that some of your planks are rotten.
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Old 05-07-2019, 04:42 PM
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It should be, How did Republicans lose their morality?
They only had the pretense of it in the first place, unless one believes that morality is primarily about how you use your sex organs.

Because they support Trump, they've had to abandon even the pretense, or alternatively (as some fundies have done) claim that Trump is somehow the most godly President we'll ever see. (No, really - Michele Bachmann said this the other day.)
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Old 05-07-2019, 05:17 PM
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I think part of the shift in the Democratic Party's discussion of moral issues is that they decided not to keep letting the Republicans keep claiming the moral high ground and framing the Democrats as immoral, but to instead point out in the terms of morality where they feel the Democrats are behaving morally and the Republicans aren't.
And instead of countering with facts -- even when such arguments might be plausible -- Republicans now simply dismiss Democratic positions as political correctness. If we insist opposing gay marriage is immoral, they don't try to offer reasons why their opposition may in fact be moral or even benign. They just label themselves victims of political correctness.

Like that poor horse in the Kentucky Derby. Unbefuckinglievable.
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Old 05-07-2019, 05:57 PM
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They only had the pretense of it in the first place, unless one believes that morality is primarily about how you use your sex organs.
The conservative view is that morality is about telling other people how they can use their sex organs.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:40 PM
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But, benghazzi!

Damn, it looks like I can't post in all caps anymore. But you get the idea.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 05-07-2019 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:53 AM
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Thinking about this some more ...

Americans (left, right and center) have a strong "You're not the boss of me" ethic. A business owner who bristles at seemingly pointless regulations may feel very similarly to a homosexual being told they can't marry the person they love. "The damn government is meddling in something that should be none of their business."

The difference is that those business regulations were enacted -- in theory, at least -- to protect all the people in a jurisdiction from a real potential harm. (That harm may be a million-to-one fluke, and a business may have a vanishingly small chance of causing it, but no law or regulation can be perfect.) The fact is, no free-market system can thrive for long in a rule-free environment, and insisting that laws be enforced seems moralistic to people who believe "You're not the boss of me."

But laws against gays marrying protected no one and hurt many. The prohibitions seemed moralistic because they were -- they were based on nothing but "morals."
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:52 AM
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The Republicans are still a moralizing party, it's just that a lot of national level Republicans are more quiet about it, only trumpeting it to select audiences or leaving it to the local level members in areas where it still plays well.

Pence is constantly gloating to US Christian fundamentalists about the fundamentalist moralizing policies the Trump administration has implemented, red states are doubling down on taking benefits away from the "undeserving", the mindbogglingly stupid abstinence only policies and taking health care away from women inside and outside the US because they are even afraid of the words "reproductive health".
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:01 AM
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If the Democrats are "moralizing" does that make the Republicans "demoralizing"?
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