OpinionJournal wrote Whatever happened to the party's middle?
Tim Russert: "In your home state of Vermont there is a vacancy for the United State Senate. Bernie Sanders wants to run for that seat. He is a self-described avowed socialist. Is there room in the Democratic Party for a socialist?"
There seem to be several of themHoward Dean: "Well, he's not a socialist really. . . . He is basically a liberal Democrat."
--NBC's "Meet the Press," May 22No, we aren't saying that modern Washington Democrats are socialists, Party Chairman Howard Dean notwithstanding.
You may be afraid of saying it, but I am not. Certainly all Dems are not socialists, but the socialists seem to have control of the extreme left wing of the Democratic partyBut this also isn't your father's Democratic Party. As tough as these columns have been on the current Republican majority in Congress, Democrats bear their share of the blame for its dysfunction.
The Democratic leadership has arguably never been more overtly hostile to free markets, deregulation, tax reform and free trade than it is today. The National Taxpayers Union reports that last year the House Democrats recorded their lowest taxpayer rating ever, having voted just 13% of the time for smaller government and less taxes.
Professor Stephen Bainbridge blogged Indeed, while it would be nice two parties devoted to limited government, it's essential to have at least one.
John Hawkins blogged A few quick thoughts inspired by this graph...
- The Democratic decline in the Senate is not a fluke. It has been a long, slow, steady slide that started during the Vietnam years, was masked for a short period in the post-Watergate years, and has sped up since the early nineties. So this is not a "band-aid" problem for the Dems, it's serious business.
- Also, notice that although there are peaks and valleys, the height of the peaks is getting progressively lower. Furthermore, now that the Dems have almost completely lost the South, they may not even have the capacity to get more than a seat or two above 50 for the foreseeable future.
- How low will the Dems go? Well, given the polarization of the country, that Bush took 31 states in 2004 and Kerry took 19, and the political die-off of "conservative" Southern Dems at the national level, it's entirely possible we could see the GOP reach the magical "60 number" sometime between 2008-2016, unless something changes. Of course, it goes without saying that's speculative....
- Here's a scary thought for Dems: the two biggest troughs on this graph occurred when Democrats took over the White House. If Hillary Clinton were to take the White House in 2008, that could be the very event that would help the GOP to finally go over the 60 seat mark.
Ed Driscoll blogged John Hawkins has spotted a really interesting trendline in the recent history of the Senate. This Wall Street Journal editorial also helps to explain this trend.
The Dems in control of that party have gone so far to the left that I think that Bernie Sanders is just the only Congress Criter that admits he is a socialist. The moderate Dems have now become Republicans, but I agree with Professor Bainbridge, "while it would be nice two parties devoted to limited government, it's essential to have at least one."