Are Democrats about to set themselves up for a George McGovern-type electoral disaster by nominating Bernie Sanders, or another leftist? An editorial at The Wall Street Journal explains that the data don’t show strong support for a leftist ideologue, and the demographics don’t bode well for future leftist candidates. They write (abridged):
When Gallup began asking the question in 1992, 17% of Americans said they were liberal, with 36% identifying as conservative and 43% as moderate. The share of liberals has since steadily increased at the expense of moderates, peaking at 26% in 2017. It stayed there in 2018 then declined to 24% in 2019. The share of conservatives ticked up from 35% to 37%.
Hispanic voters roughly match the rest of the population, with 35% identifying as conservative and 25% as liberal in the Gallup survey. Other polls show educated whites as the most left-wing Democratic constituency.
It’s true voters age 65 and older are the most conservative. Yet they may hold their political power for longer than expected as people live longer and birth rates decline.
As the British political scientist David Runciman told the New Yorker, “the central demographic fact of Western democracy is that there aren’t enough young people” to carry the left.
America’s political complexion may not be transforming as fast as liberals hope and conservatives fear.
If that’s the case, then Democrats could be making a 1972-like mistake if they nominate a leftist, or if Mr. Biden lets himself get drawn too far down that road.
Read more here.