I agree that both the left and right threaten to take freedom hostage—but in different ways—and that’s why America works: the left generally holds the right in check and the right generally holds the left in check. To my mind, this is the genius of the country—its stark balancing of powers.
What I mean when I say that I want (and look forward to, thanks to demographic shifts) a more liberal America is this:
- America is secure in its balance of powers.
In other words, the right is in check and the left is in check. The problem is that we have Manichaeans on the right who want a one party state; a state dominated by a single party. They want to control everything and give no ground anywhere. They are essentially fanatics. And so what heartens me about the nation’s shifting demographics toward traditional democratic constituencies is this:
- America need not ever fear a right-wing takeover of all three branches of government.
Every decade this overwhelming of the balance of powers lessens, and that’s a good thing. It’s true that there are people on the left who would like to see leftists take over everything, but the reality is that this will never (and could never) happen because their constituency is simply too small. The right is in the process of moving in the same direction, toward marginalization. That’s why those on the right are so noisy now. The broken wheel squeaks loudest. In short, the country is drifting away from the wet dreams of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. The country is like a ship moving ever further from the one party port. That’s what I find hopeful in a shift to the left of center. At some point, the Republican Party will realize that it has to marginalize its far right to compete in elections, and that day is probably coming over the next decade or so.
As for me, I don’t want high taxes, let alone capitalism abolished. I hope that American conservatism keeps such inclinations from the left in check. But what the right must not do is dominate and vanquish the center and left from American politics. But that’s the shout radio right’s goal—a one party controlled state—and that’s what I am hoping we can avoid. The American far right is, essentially, a movement that would bring the country to a form of Herderian nationalism—to authoritarianism. It has an outside chance of taking over the country so long as terrorist and economic cataclysms stand in the offing. That’s what they are gaming for, the seizure of power in crisis, and that’s why I’m heartened by the nation’s demographic drift. It makes their goal ever less likely to be achieved.
The website I recommend that tracks and reflects on America’s shifting demographics toward traditional Democratic constituencies is TheDemocraticStrategist.org.