The shifting left and the rise of Trump

Berny Belvedere describes for National Review Online the role the political Left played in Donald Trump’s rise to political power.

Should the government ramp up its efforts to help the needy? Democrats overwhelmingly say yes (71 percent); the other party, at 54 percent, is less enthusiastic. Is racial discrimination the primary reason why black Americans can’t get ahead these days? Sixty-four percent of Democrats say yes; you know what the other party thinks: Only 28 percent answer in the affirmative. Do immigrants benefit the country? Democrats overwhelmingly say yes (84 percent); their counterparts are split at 50 percent. Same-sex marriage is approved of by 73 percent of Democrats, but only by 53 percent of those on the other side.

Clearly, ours is a polarized age, with tribal consolidation happening at a breakneck pace.

Yet what will come as a surprise to many readers is that the above is a comparison, not between Democrats and Republicans, but between Democrats and Democrats — specifically, Democrats in 2017 and Democrats in 2010. The contrasting percentages as shown in a new Pew Report show the Democratic party’s dizzyingly fast leftward turn. …

… The more significant discovery is that this Democratic liberalization has meaningfully contributed to the Republican party taking the shape that it has. The speed and scope of the Democratic Party’s leftward turn should itself be seen as a partial factor in the development of the current iteration of the GOP. An ascendant alt-right is unthinkable apart from this Democratic drift. Trumpian populism would never have moved the electoral needle as much as it did absent an accelerated liberalization.

A golden man who travels on golden escalators promising to return us to a golden era — would this pitch have worked a decade or two ago?

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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