The "L" word — liberal — is enjoying a comeback of sorts, according to Bill Scher, senior writer at the progressive Campaign for America's Future.
In a piece penned for Politico
, Scher opines that centrist America may be joining Democrats in moving to the left in a movement he characterizes as a "surge of political pride."
"'Forty-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents now identify as both socially liberal and economically moderate or liberal,' Gallup's Frank Newport announced on Thursday," writes Scher. "That's up eight points since 2008 and 17 points since 2001."
"Earlier this year, the NBC/Wall Street Journal polling team deduced that 26 percent of voters overall self-identify as 'liberal,' a four point spike since 2011. These new numbers are in line with longer-term trends: last year Pew found a 26-point increase since 1994 in 'mostly or consistently liberal' Democrats."
Scher offers a counterpoint to former Bush administration aide Peter Wehner's contention in The New York Times
last month that polling data paired with last year's Republican sweep are evidence that the "Republican Party is the governing party in America."
Wehner argues that it's Democrats who have grown increasingly extreme in their views, a position he bolsters by drawing a comparison between President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
Obama, according to Wehner, is far to the left of Bill Clinton on everything from loosening "welfare-to-work requirements, gay rights, religious liberties, abortion rights, drug legalization and climate change points."
Scher says Wehner's points are "too dismissive of the liberal revival," noting that "anyone can cherry-pick polls to argue that their side is winning the ideological war."
"Americans are quicker to embrace the L-word when it comes to social issues than economic issues," Scher said.
"Economic conservatism still struggles to impress voters who remember the collapse that capped the George W. Bush presidency, while Americans still seem to be watching the economy's slow mend and weighing a final verdict on Obama's remedies. What the polls do crystallize is the sense that American liberals have a newfound confidence. And confidence can be infectious."
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