Is Conservative Strength Declining In America?

Does Obama’s election and re-election signify an historic ideological shift in America? My sense is that for the first time in the nation’s history, “the left” now constitute a majority, if only barely so.

Does Obama’s election and re-election signify an historic ideological shift in America? My sense is that for the first time in the nation’s history, “the left” now constitute a majority, if only barely so. (Obama received 50.4 percent of the popular vote; Romney received 48.1 percent.)

You could sense this during the recent presidential campaign. For the first time, when facing off against their Democratic opponents, most Republicans seemed apprehensive about dealing with moral issues such as abortion, religious rights and homosexual “marriage.” Could it be that they also sensed the cultural shift on these issues? When they were publicly cross-examined on these topics by left-wing media gurus such as CNN’s Piers Morgan, they generally tried to steer the conversation to “safer” topics such as unemployment, deficit reduction and the economy.

Remember when Republican leaders would champion the cause of “the silent majority?” The majority of Americans were, up until very recently, relatively conservative. They were called “silent” because the left-leaning media controlled the cultural dialogue. My sense is that the mass media and the public education system (both generally advocates for “the left”) have, after decades of cultural engineering, finally helped create a slight but significant pro-left majority. This is particularly true in the densely populated states in the Northeast, the West coast and the Great Lakes region – where, unsurprisingly, Obama did best during the recent election.

Of course, Romney did best in the “Bible belt” (the Southern states) and in traditionally conservative states such as Texas and Arizona. It is worth noting, however, that conservative strength in these states and in the nation as a whole seems to be declining. Conservatives tend to be white, older and church going. America is becoming less white, elderly conservatives are dying or going senile, and fewer people are attending church. Coupled with these factors, many more U.S. families are dependent on some form of government assistance than ever before. This is particularly true of recent immigrants. (49.1 percent of U.S. households received some form of government support in 2011, compared to only 30 percent in 1983.) Needless to say, people dependent on government support tend to vote Democrat. Finally, immigration trends since mid-1960s have resulted in a huge increase in the number of Hispanic Americans who also, for the most part, vote Democrat.

When the leftist revolution began in earnest in the mid-sixties, the vast majority of Americans were relatively conservative, so a massive conservative backlash occurred. The wave of reaction resulted in the election of Presidents Nixon (Ford), Reagan, Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. – together they ruled the White House for 28 of the past 44 years. The Democrat, Jimmy Carter, was a one-term president and was trounced by Ronald Reagan in 1980. Democrat Bill Clinton defeated George Bush, Sr. in 1992 only because Ross Perot also ran for president and split the conservative vote. Obama, it seems to me, has finally broken the domination of conservatives over the presidency. Also worth noting is that Obama, unlike Democratic presidents and presidential candidates before him, blatantly championed abortion and gay “marriage” during the recent campaign because, I believe, he also sensed that the culture had moved far enough to the left.

We will certainly see future Republican presidents but, given America’s new ideological make up, don’t be surprised if they aren’t very conservative, at least on moral issues. Much of their support will probably come from voters who think like Clint Eastwood — liberal on social issues, conservative on economic issues.

This is an alarming trend for the Catholic Church in America, as it seeks to be faithful to its conservative moral teaching. Many left-wing political and cultural leaders will likely escalate their anti-Church agenda as they sense the growing power of “the liberal revolution” in America.

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