Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Southern Democrats and the Rise of Partisans

Writing for Real Clear Politics, Bruce Bartlett argues that the demise of Southern Democrats has led directly to the partisan nature of today's politics. For one of the first times in our nation's history, our two parties are nearly ideologically pure. Liberals are Democrats. Conservatives are Republicans. This makes compromise and even civil discourse incredibly difficult.

The problem is, where do those of us who aren't pure liberals or pure conservatives go? Outside of local politics, it's hard for a liberal Republican or a conservative Democrat to win because their views don't ignite the radical bases who donate most of the time and money. Not to mention that politics has become so nationalized that even a hawk of a Democrat is going to have to overcome his or her party's weak-on-defense liability. Conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans don't only run against their opponent, they run against their own party's image.

What's the answer? Michael Reynolds over at The Mighty Middle argues that we need to advance a moderate state of mind in both parties. But who can change the culture? Well, the voters, for one. And talented Centrist politicians who have the courage and conviction to put their views over their party's views.

It's a long road. But the ideological purity of our parties is not proving to be good for anyone but the interest groups and most extreme among us.


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