America Got a Little Less Liberal Last Year

Here’s a timely reminder from Gallup:

Since 2018, the country has moved slightly to the right. As you can see, 37 percent of Americans call themselves conservative, and if you add in the one-third of moderates who are also pretty reliable conservatives (even if they don’t admit it), about 47 percent of the country is conservative. This means that Republicans can rely on a strategy of appealing solely to conservatives and still have a pretty good chance of winning.

Democrats are in a far tougher position. Even if you add in the liberal fraction of moderates, only about 30 percent of Americans call themselves liberal. This means that if Democrats try to move left and appeal solely to liberals, they’re most likely doomed. This, not spinelessness, is the reason the Democratic Party spends so much time and energy trying to appeal to the center.

But here’s another chart that, if anything, paints an even grimmer picture:

After years of getting steadily more liberal, even Democrats themselves moved slightly to the right in 2019. A full half of them identify as conservative or moderate, up three points during a year consumed by Russia, Ukraine, and impeachment. This compares to only a quarter of Republicans who identify as liberal or moderate.

My guess is that practically every ranking Democrat in the country, from Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on down, have these charts stapled to their mental foreheads. It may seem sometimes as if they hate activists—and maybe they do—but more likely it’s just that necessity forces them to work off a framework of knowledge that activists can choose to ignore if they want. It’s unlikely that will change until Bernie Sanders or someone like him proves that these surveys are wrong and America is ready to elect a real lefty. Until then, the Democratic leadership will stick to the facts as they know them.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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