This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress
Back in the mid and late 1980s as the Democratic Party had just lost its second straight presidential election a landslide and third landslide lost in twelve years and about to lose their fourth landslide in 1988 a new democratic coalition emerged in the Democratic Party. And essentially took over the party by the early 1990s. And was made of governors for the most part and Washington outsiders in general. Bill Clinton is the most famous member of this group, but add Governor Mike Dukakis, when Governor Bob Kerry, Senate John Kerry, Senator Gary Hart, Senator Al Gore, Representative Dick Gephardt and many others.
These New Democrats ideologically formed the Democratic Leadership Council, The New Democratic Coalition and The New Democratic Network which is still in business today. The New Democrat would be the Democratic version of the Reform Conservative. Smart Liberal vs. Smart Conservative. The Republican Party has been going through an adjustment really since 2007 and haven’t recovered yet politically from the Iraq War, Great Recession and other mistakes both politically and on policy grounds from the Bush Administration. And looking for ways to comeback and broaden their coalition to become a governing party again which means having the White House.
But what the Republican Party is going through now is very similar to what the Democratic Party went through in the 1980s. As their far flank meaning the Far-Left if not took over their party at least was viewed that way by too many Americans that it not only cost them one presidential election after another, but they lost four landslides within a sixteen-year period from 1972-88. Because Democrats were seen as Far-Left. Anti-business, anti-military, anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-success, anti-wealth, pro-tax and spend, pro-big government as it related both to the economy but personal health as well. They were seen as anti-law enforcement and pro-convicted criminal and anti-victim.
What the Republican Party is going through now happened to the Democratic Party forty-five fifty-years ago when the New-Left from the 1960s became a big part of the Democratic Party. Except the GOP doesn’t have a Far-Left and is seen as their Far-Right taking over their party. To the point they are seen as anti-women, anti-minority, anti-secular, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-Latino in general, anti-science, anti-intelligence, anti-education and I’m sure several other things that I can’t think of right now that Americans tend to support. And now you have so-called Reform Conservatives who are trying to change the image of the GOP so they don’t scare so many Americans. Especially people who would be willing to vote Republican if they don’t scare them.
The New Democrats didn’t move the Democratic Party to the middle, as much as the mainstream media wants to portray that. They moved the party back to the Center-Left where John F. Kennedy had it and where Lyndon Johnson wanted to leave it and Jimmy Carter wanted to bring the party back to. And say Democrats are also pro-military, but don’t think we should try to govern the world. We are pro-business, but don’t believe business’s should go unregulated or untaxed and believe their workers should have a right to organize if they choose to. We believe in law enforcement, but we also believe in civil liberties and being smart on crime. And not arresting people who didn’t hurt anyone. We believe in government and freedom and that government when used in a limited way and empower those who need it to also live in freedom.
And hopefully what the Reform Conservatives are saying is that Republicans are still conservative, but we aren’t the Far-Right and we are not haters. They believe in the American melting pot and liberal democracy and that conservative values based on freedom from both an economic and personal perspective can benefit everyone. And if they are successful in doing that as the New Democrats were successful in the Democratic Party, they’ll save the Republican Party and save the center in American politics. Where a center-left Democratic Party and a center-right Republican Party can both equally compete for the votes of Americans who don’t see themselves a pure Democrats or pure Republicans.