A popular meme (and talking point) on the right is that “America is a center-right nation”. The right loves to repeat this because it undercuts any Democratic plan as out-of-touch with what “America wants”. Even after America elected a Democratic President and filled both houses of Congress with Democratic majorities.
A few articles worth reading about our supposed “center-right” affiliation:
First, a Pew Research poll finds that younger Americans identify as Democrats instead of Republicans 41 to 22. The group with the highest Republican self-identification, the seniors, was still Democrat 38 to 31. And the young crew say that part of what defines their generation is ”liberalism/tolerance”.
Second, this post from Michael Lind on Salon, arguing that the right, out of power, has built a counterculture instead of an opposition:
Political factions that are out of power have a choice. They can form a counter-establishment or a counterculture. A counter-establishment (a term that Sidney Blumenthal used to describe the neoconservatives in the 1970s) seeks to return to power by reassuring voters that it is sober and responsible. A counter-establishment publishes policy papers and holds conferences and its members endure their exile in think tanks and universities.
In contrast, a counterculture refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of the rules of the game that it has lost. Instead of moving toward the center, the counterculture heads for the fringes. Like a cult, it creates its own parallel reality, seceding from a corrupt and wicked society into morally and politically pure enclaves…
Just as the New Left claimed that the New Deal era wasn’t really liberal, so the countercultural right claims that the Republican Party from Nixon to George W. Bush wasn’t really conservative…
A few decades ago it was the countercultural left that opposed science, technology and markets… Nowadays anti-science, anti-technology Luddites are more likely to be found on the right, among opponents of stem-cell research and evolutionary biology…
Paul Weyrich, the president of the Free Congress Foundation, [said], “The radicals of the 1960s had three slogans: turn on, tune in, drop out. I suggest that we adopt a modified version.”
Finally, there’s this summary of polls from FiveThirtyEight showing a breakdown by various issues, and analyzing whose position the majority of Americans take: Obama’s or the GOP’s. Surprise: most of the time, it’s Obama’s:
Of these 25 issues, Obama’s position appears to be on the right side of public opinion on 14… It would appear to be on the wrong side of public opinion on five issues: the GM/Chrysler bailout, Guantanamo Bay, health care, the extension of the TARP program, and terrorist trials. On the other six issues, the polling is probably too ambiguous to render a clear verdict.
Republicans, on the other hand, have been overwhelmingly opposed to almost all of these measures with the exception of Ben Bernanke and Afghanistan troops, both of which poll ambiguously, and the credit card bill, which polled well.