More Democracts than Liberals: What?

Historically, the Nation has been split in thirds over party affiliation with Republicans, Democrats and Independents all hovering in the low 30’s. However American ideology is not an equal split, instead moderates and conservatives hover in the 40 range and with the liberals in the high teens and just cracking 20% for the first time a decade ago.

What gives?

Does this mean Democrats have done a poor job espousing the virtues of liberalism? Or that liberals aren’t determined enough to field their own party? Or something else?

“Liberal” has a bad connotation in much of America. There are probably a lot of Democrats, especially in the South, you don’t identify as “liberal”. I’m surprised this is a surprise.

It’s certainly in the interest of conservatives to cast the Democrats as liberals, the numbers are on their side. Given how few Americans identify as liberal its strange to me Democrats ever call themselves ‘liberal’ or propose ‘liberal policy’.

Why haven’t they cast themselves as the Moderate Party?

Because that would piss off the liberals who think Obama is the Black George Bush.

Position on the social issue axis is irrelevant for benefitting from machine politics.

Linky no worky. But I’m willing to guess that, like most polls of this kind, it only asked responders to self-ID as “liberal” or “conservative,” etc. The Pew Political Typology is better, it is not based on self-ID but on answers to issue-related polling questions, and in that study “Solid Liberals” are 15% of the Public, “Next Generation Left” 12% and “Faith and Family Left” 15%, totaling 42%, while those groups in any way conservative only amount to only 36%.

What exactly do you mean by “machine politics”? The old urban political machines and county courthouse rings are all but extinct now, and neither national party is very much in the way of a machine, as we’ve learned this year. Not even the donor class counts as a political machine, it’s not cohesive enough and there’s no central direction or leadership.

Plus the Democratic party does not kick out or demonize non-liberal members. There used to be lots of non-conservative Republicans most a lot of us got fed up and left.

I think it is generational. The generation who came of age under FDR probably had a better impression of liberalism, but for the last 40 years liberalism has been associated with the failures of Jimmy Carter, and then the Reagan recovery.

However right now people are seeing the worst of capitalism. Income inequality, a broken health care system, lack of good jobs, low wages, expensive educations, plutocratic capture of the government, private sector inefficiencies compared to public, etc. Plus the Bush jr years left a bad taste in people’s mouths for conservatism.

Nowadays, young people have a better view of socialism than capitalism.

Actually they do a bit. I recall a lot of hostility towards blue dog democrats among liberals like those in the Daily Kos back when blue dogs were a thing. Now many of those seats are republican.

I don’t think it is as active or intense as it is on the right, but the opposition to DINO does exist on the left.

I wonder who the conservative dems and liberal pubs are out there. I don’t hear “blue dog” any more, but apparently there are still a few in congress.

The problem with the liberal-conservative axis is that most people don’t neatly fit into it neatly.

You can be pro-same sex marriage while advocating a flat tax. You can be pro-Israel and have no particular feelings at all about single-payer health care.

In which case, you end up saying something like “Well, in that case I’m neither conservative nor liberal. I guess that makes me a moderate.”

Generally you can tell by geography. The west coast and northeast are liberal, the south is conservative. A democrat in the south or a republican on the west coast or northeast is more likely to be a moderate.

The link works, not sure why you can’t access it. I disagree with your more nuanced poll being a better indicator of what I am talking about. A person identifies with an ideology and if common enough usually manifests into a coherent political party. That’s why “your plan is Socialist” is a smear, it’s not one group dismissing another group it is a majority dismissing a minority. Conservatives have this. A two party system means the other is defined by being in opposition, so the Democracts are held together by opposition not by ideology.

This is all obvious, I guess my question is why is this so. Why is this accepted Democratic Party strategy?

It isn’t. Your premise is faulty.

Is being pro same sex marriage a liberal position because of something inherent in it, or because people who self-identify as liberal are generally for it? You could make the argument that this should be a conservative position, because conservatives generally believe the government should stay out of people’s lives, and thus should be able to marry anyone they choose. I am aware that this is not a ground-breaking idea on my part, but that is always the trouble with these types of discussions. There is no cut-and-dried way to determine where the next socio-political idea to come down the pike should fit in the ideological spectrum.

That’s not how political parties form. The Democratic Party has been around since 1828, with the modern liberal strands within the party not really appearing until the beginning of the 20th century, and significant conservative elements within the party ongoing through the Dixiecrat rebellion and even up to the 1980s. I guess one could argue there are still some significant conservative elements in the party, but ideological sorting in parties in the US seems to have become more powerful from the late 1990s to the present.

The Republican Party has been around since 1854 and had a significant liberal faction in the northeast - and there are people sometimes described as “Rockerfeller Republicans” even today - Christine Todd Whitman and Colin Powell have been described this way, according to wikipedia.

Really parties shift ideology by long internal struggles, rather than coalescing ab initio.

And even more so since that was published, if I’m reading the links in the OP right.

And yet you can still feel that the Democratic Party is closer to what you support, or that you absolutely cannot support the Republican Party due to its extremism. So then you decide to call yourself a moderate Democrat.

And a moderate Democrat is still a Democrat.

That’s where you get into definitional problems. What you are describing as the conservative position is, from an ideological standpoint, a liberal or libertarian position, as opposed to an authoritarian one. Conservatism, from an ideological standpoint, is about preserving the old. So, since Same Sex Marriage goes against tradition, it isn’t conservative, but progressive.

In other words, the U.S. Right’s opposition to same sex marriage is based on its conservatism, not its libertarianism. Libertarianism doesn’t give a shit about tradition.

You can sort concepts if you can agree on what words mean. But when you have people saying “conservatism” means “less federal government control” or treat “liberalism” as a synonym for “progressivism,” it gets far more confusing.

I don’t agree with libertarianism, but their 2 axis system is rather good. Sure, there are more political axes, but focusing on two is still quite simple while being much better than trying to lump them together as only 1.