It might still be a little risky, but America’s liberals are safer showing their faces today than they’ve been in decades. I know this may seem strange to non-Americans, but over the past half century or so, the liberal label has become a badge of dishonor in the USA.
Republican candidates have routinely used the label to discredit Democratic opponents. For example, Republican Connie Mack defeated Democrat Buddy MacKay in the 1988 Florida Senate race with campaign posters and sound bites that simply said, “Hey, Buddy, you’re a liberal.”
I suspect this odd situation resulted from a deliberate propaganda campaign funded by right-wing billionaires in reaction to the social upheaval of the Sixties. They have used their deep pockets to establish think tanks, buy up media outlets, shape curricula in colleges and universities, and so on.
But it seems Americans catch on eventually.
I just read in the Daily Kos that “approximately one quarter of all Americans are now liberals.” The article quotes a recent poll published in the Washington Post, which found that “a record low number of Americans now identify as ‘moderates’ — at least going back to 1992. And perhaps more illustrative, a record high number of Americans identify as ‘liberal.’ ”
According to the poll, the “liberal” label is accepted by 44 percent of Democrats. The Post notes that “just 29 percent of Democrats used the L-word in 2000.”
Of course, no self-styled Republican would never want to be called a liberal. Indeed, the Post reports that 70 percent of Republicans identify as “conservative.”
The Daily Kos writer speculates that the actual number of “liberal” Americans night be quite a lot higher than the poll indicates. Polls always show Americans favor programs that are generally regarded as liberal even though they might shy away from the label itself, the writer explains.
The writer, who uses the pen name Phoebe Loosinhouse, can’t resist crowing a little over the new trend:
Well, well, well. How about that? Perhaps after 40 years of seeing middle class living standards eroding, stagnant wages, and wealth being funneled upwards as a result of the Big Lies of trickle down economics combined with squishy moderate centrism pragmatism incrementalism I got Mine-ism, people are finally ready to dish up some push back.
The article makes the point that November’s dismal results were caused by the Democrats’ wishy-washy campaigning.
“Democrats win when they’re loud and proud about their commitment to justice and equality for all,” the writer declared. “It’s time for the Republican wing of the Democratic Party to step aside. Young people, workers, people of color, women, and people of conscience are taking the helm, and our country will only be better for it.”
If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know that’s exactly how I feel.