Main menu


Democrats have a medium-term strategy for the culture wars.column

featured image

Who is now using the culture wars to distract from the economy?

Democrats have long believed – at least going back to Thomas Frank’s famous 2005 book, what happened to kansas – Republicans cynically develop cultural issues to distract attention from issues at the table.

If only the Democrats could convince voters that real populism as opposed to Republican false culture-based populism was on their agenda, the spell would be lifted and the public would pay for higher corporate tax rates and “everything”. People would eagerly accept medical insurance.

This has always been an illusion, and indeed, the Democrats are regaining their footing in the midterm elections with a completely opposite approach.

Over the past few months, the Republican Party has used a variety of issues to launch a culture war to beat the Republican Party. Democrats are one of the most controversial issues in American politics, while Republicans across the country are desperately trying to keep their focus on the ultimate household concern: inflation. I insist on talking about abortion.

As of July, he was dismissive of the idea that Dobbs would have a major impact on the midterm elections, but there was clearly a difference.

Republicans outside the deepest red sphere continue to retreat in earnest, either trying to avoid the topic or readjust on the fly.

Not just miscarriages. Democrats have portrayed Dobbs as a threat to a range of “privacy rights” issues, from birth control pills to interracial and gay marriage.

Even Biden’s focus on Trump has a cultural component. The lawsuit against his predecessor is shrouded in pro-democracy rhetoric. Trump is the country’s greatest cultural lightning rod. For both his supporters and opponents, the most important thing about Trump is Depending on who you ask, he may be an advocate of state or xenophobia, anti-elitist or anti-intellectual, protean strength or against rules. Represents threat, credibility or undirected demagogy.

Cultural issues have never been inherently vulnerable to Democrats. It has always depended.

They are strongest when they can express their position as a logical extension of individual autonomy and choice, similar to abortion and gay marriage.

Where their positions conflict with strongly held community values ​​such as patriotism and legitimacy, or where their positions reflect the priorities of a few uncontacted elites (e.g., “Latin” promotion of the adoption of the term), or take the Hectoring tone.

The past few months should underscore, if doubted, the legitimacy of culture war politics.

Cultural issues are especially powerful because they involve conflicting values ​​and fundamental questions about who we are as people. They are “dividing” in nature – people are deeply entrenched and emotionally committed to both sides. And they almost always involve identifying the insider threats that must be defended in beleaguered constituencies.

It’s not that Republicans don’t have their own cultural issues in this campaign, especially borders, crime, and hyperradicalism.

But what they overwhelmingly want to focus on is the economy. As usual, it looms incredibly large.

But Republicans, as Democrats have proven over the years, cannot simply talk or hope for the cultural pitfalls of their party. The need to establish a compromise position on abortion that we are confident to avoid as much as possible and avoid as much as possible.

Using cultural issues to your advantage to complain to the other side may provide some satisfaction, but having effective answers is much better.

Rich Lowry is on Twitter @RichLowry.