In a recent Washington Post op-ed, left-wing activist Steve Rosenthal sounds a lot like other wishful thinkers arriving at a comfortable partisan conclusion. America, he writes, is only a few years from a full-blown progressive electorate. “A close examination of U.S. attitudes in the past decade-plus,” Rosenthal contends, “reveals that the United States is steadily becoming more progressive.”
It seems to be widely accepted by the media that demographics, GOP ineptitude and internal division, and a generational shift on social issues place the American voter on an enduring leftward course. Is this inevitable? Well, about as inevitable as Karl Rove’s durable Republican majority.
You don’t have to be a stickler for academic rigor to appreciate that an 825-word column with a few links to some Gallup polls is not really a “close examination” of anything. But you don’t have to be a historian to understand that the electorate, though hardly immune to terrible ideas, is, in the end, stubbornly moderate with little use for philosophical consistency. Which is to say, no one knows what the future will look like.