As long as I can remember, people have claimed the United States as a "center right country." Maybe it's still a response to the liberal 60s (the same way the GOP is still responding to Nixon's resignation) or maybe they are just still trying to repeal the FDR administration but this fiction has been repeated often enough that I believed it. Why has that changed? Look at the numbers:
On the issues:
More than any other there are three issues that make me a Democrat: women's reproductive health, marriage equality and social justice. I paused when writing about the last because it's hard to pinpoint what I mean about not judging people by their gender or color. On each, the Democrats come out ahead in polling than Republicans.
In terms of women's reproductive health, polls consistently show that at least 95 percent of women have used some form of birth control in their lives. When Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) tried to sign a bill that would have required women seeking abortions to get a vaginal ultrasound, the response was unequivocal; women don't want the government probing them. Moreover, most (by a small percentage, but still) Americans think the procedure should be legal and this has not changed since Gallup began polling on the issue in 1975. (Read the full report here.)
The addition to the Constitution of an anti-abortion amendment is a part of the GOP's national platform and has been a cornerstone of almost every presidential campaign that I can remember.
This will be legal in all 50 states in my lifetime. The good news is that people who oppose it are older and will die eventually (don't hate me, it's true). The US form of government was formed to protect individuals from their government, not impose some random morality. I am so tired of hearing about "traditional marriage." When the institution began, women were property and men were allowed to have as many as they wanted. As many as 70 percent of people born after 1980 support marriage equality (here).
Before I continue, both of these issues should be no brainers for conservatives who favor less government. Luckily for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), they are not.
The first law President Obama signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Act. For those unfamiliar, Lilly Ledbetter found out she was making less than her male counterparts but learned of this after the statute of limitations had run out for her to sue. This law allows people to sue past that time. Obama has come under fire (correctly, in my view) for having a pretty all white, all male second term cabinet but the Democrats have been been better than Republicans on issues of race since the Civil War (and granted, Democrats were horrible them). Anecdotally, did anyone watch the conventions in Tampa and Charlotte? Wow. The GOP even had a strategy named after the practice of using racism to win, it's called the "Southern Strategy."
Recently, the Republican College National Committee (RCNC) issued a scathing report that the GOP means it with "Grand Old Party" because they see it as a party mired in the past. That report called the GOP "rigid," "racist" and "old fashioned." Granted, my requests for an official copy have not been returned (their web site is here, if you can find it there, please let me know).
Political parties are not mentioned in our Constitution or documents about our founding but we have them now. Having more than one vibrant party strengthens the debate -- it's why I liked Jon Huntsman, who was more conservative but also more sane them his Republican rivals. It's more than a shame that we cannot have an actual conversation about the issues of our day but starting off assuming the country is where it is not doesn't help anything.