11/06/04 — What the Democrats lack in the elections

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What the Democrats lack in the elections

What would happen if, next go-round, the Democratic Party nominated a presidential candidate who was at least as conservative as his average fellow countryman? What if a Democrat ran on a platform that promoted the moral values of Middle America?

The Democrat very likely would be elected.

Democrats need to catch on to this simple truth: Their party is too liberal.

That is why it has won just five presidential elections since Harry Truman, while the Republicans have won nine.

The Democratic Party appeals to an eclectic assemblage of interests. This assemblage includes well-intentioned people who are comfortable with expanding the role of government. It includes people who like to think of themselves as the liberal intelligentsia. It includes Big Labor, which can count on Democratic officeholders for legislation to benefit unions. And it includes minorities and others who believe they can benefit from so-called entitlement programs.

Those groups provide the Democrats with a lot of voters, but they omit a lot, too. They omit people who are conservative about the role of government and — this was vital in Tuesday’s election — many of those who hold strong religious beliefs.

Many of these ordinary people who are not members of the Democratic clique will sometimes vote for Democratic candidates. First, however, they have to be convinced that the candidate is in reasonable agreement with their moral and spiritual beliefs.

As we analyze what happened Tuesday, let’s look at the all-important state of Ohio, whose electoral votes, added to those of other Midwestern and Southern states, gave Republican George W. Bush a second term as president.

A fourth of Ohio’s voters identified themselves as born-again Christians, the kind of people who would agree with Bush and not Sen. John Kerry on moral issues like partial birth abortion and same-sex marriage. They turned out in large numbers to support an amendment to their state constitution banning the governmental sanctioning of homosexual unions. These people supported Bush by a margin of three to one.

So whatever had been said about the candidates’ military service, about the war in Iraq, about Social Security, about prescription drugs, it was people of faith, people to whom moral issues are important, who elected Bush and defeated Kerry.

The Democratic Party would help itself by getting in line with the country on social issues. It would help the nation, too.

Published in Editorials on November 6, 2004 11:01 PM