If you don’t think ideological perceptions matter in American politics, you need read no further. If you do and you’re a Democrat, there’s something to worry about. Even as the terms of the political debate in Washington, in the eyes of many Democrats, have moved steadily to the right, the electorate is increasingly likely to see itself as ideologically closer to the Republican Party than to Democrats. Unless Obama and Democrats can find a solution to this riddle—and find one fast—they will be contesting the 2012 election on forbidding terrain.
If you find that straight-up schadenfreude doesn’t sit well in an empty stomach, let me summarize for you: in the last six years the electorate has gotten somewhat more conservative and somewhat less moderate; better and better, moderates agree with the Republicans that the Republicans are conservative, but do not agree with the Democrats that the Democrats are moderate. Hence Galtson’s (presumed) drinking: there’s a reason why self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals in this country, and if the rest of the population thinks that the Democratic party is made up of those people then the Democratic party is going to have a devil of a time next year.
Yes, yes: you’re all just weeping into your coffee at that news.