The Washington Post: Opinion: EJ Dionne: The Vital Incoherent Center
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
Again it depends on what you mean by liberal and conservative and you do lump Religious Conservatives, Neoconservatives and Libertarians in with Conservatives on the Right and do you lump in Progressives and Socialists, or Social Democrats in with Liberals on the Left. If that is how you do that then Conservatives will be the largest voting block in America. Because that includes the Bible Belt, with the Libertarian West and the Neoconservative large military at call costs traditional American Neoconservatives.
With Liberals or Centrists coming in second because when it comes to American politics Americans tend to have strong feelings on the issues one way or the other and are not stuck in what is called the mushy middle when it comes to Centrists. And Socialists whether they self-define their politics as socialist or not do not make up a very strong voting block in this country. 10-15 percent at best the religious-right badly outnumbering them.
But that is not how I define political labels or make up my mind which political camp people fall in. What I do instead of saying "someone is on the Left so they are automatically are liberal. And someone who is on the Right they are automatically conservative". What I do is look to see how far to the Right are they. If they are center-right, I call them conservative. A little further Right I call them libertarian. Lets say far-right people who I could call big government Republicans or rightists people who want to impose their social values on the rest of the country through government, I call them Religious Conservatives or Neoconservatives.
Same thing with the Left. Center-left such as myself would be the Liberals. A little further Left people who are a little more government oriented, but do not have a new government program or tax increase to solve all of our problems for us, I would call Progressives. People who are lets say on the far-left people who believe in big centralize government is the only way to ensure economic, social and racial equality and tend to have big government ideas to solve all of our problems for us. And tend to like high taxes and tend not to like the military or law enforcement, I call people of these politics Socialist or Social Democratic. Occupy Wall Street comes to mind or the Green Party.
If you just looked at the center-right and center-left in America and people who tend to not be against government all together, but who do not want government trying to run their lives for them from either a personal or economic perspective you would see that is where a solid majority of the country is. Whether they call themselves Liberals or Conservatives, or even Conservative Libertarians. And based on that I would say Liberals and Conservatives make up the overwhelming largest voting blocks in the country. With Independents who may consider themselves to be Centrists but have similar views as Liberals and Conservatives. That they don't want big government, but they don't want an ineffective government either.
Americans tend to want government to do the basics that we can't do for ourselves, or that we need them to do as well to see that certain things get done that need to be done. Like protecting the country, protecting the streets, seeing that everyone gets an education. Funding infrastructure, helping people in need get on their feet. These are not big government or small government ideas, but limited good government policies that Americans tend to support whether they are liberal or conservative. And that is where Americans tend to be and we tend not to like the fringes on the Left or Right.