No, really. I’ve been registered to vote since March of 1976, and my first Presidential vote was for Jimmy Carter, which I have regretted ever since. (In the primaries I voted for Birch Bayh; father of the current Indiana Senator Evan Bayh.) My uncle was the local Republican Chairman in the town I grew up in, but most of the rest of the family were Democrats. My other uncle was a Union shop steward.
Thanksgiving was interesting, to say the least.
But something very odd started to happen about the 1972 election cycle. George McGovern ended up being the Democrat nominee, and a more liberal Democrat you could not find in the party if you tried. Many have speculated that Nixon’s dirty tricks squad manipulated the Dems into nominating McGovern, but still, he had overwhelming Democrat support.
The party started to shift left. I didn’t — I stayed where i was. A lot of us did that, although the leadership o the Democrat Party (who became more liberal) deny we existed. We were ignored, naysayed, pooh-poohed, and generaly treated like traitors to our parties.
We were given many names, as name-calling became the stock-in-rade of the new liberal Democratic Party.
- Blue Dog Democrats
- Conservative Democrat
- Dixiecrats (a holdover from the Truman years.)
- New Democrats
- DINOs (Democrats In Name Only)
And “Reagan Democrats”.
Reagan Democrat is an American political term used by political analysts to denote traditionally Democratic voters, especially white working-class Northerners, who defected from their party to support Republican President Ronald Reagan in both the 1980 and 1984 elections. It is also used to refer to the smaller but still substantial number of Democrats who voted for George H. W. Bush in the 1988 election. The term can also be used to describe moderate Democrats who are more conservative than liberal on certain issues like national security and immigration.
The work of Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg is a classic study of Reagan Democrats. Greenberg analyzed white ethnic voters (largely unionized auto workers) in Macomb County, Michigan, just north of Detroit. The county voted 63 percent for John F. Kennedy in 1960, but 66 percent for Reagan in 1980. He concluded that “Reagan Democrats” no longer saw Democrats as champions of their working class aspirations, but instead saw them as working primarily for the benefit of others: the very poor, the unemployed, African Americans, and other groups. In addition, Reagan Democrats enjoyed gains during the period of economic prosperity that coincided with the Reagan administration following the “malaise” of the Carter administration. They also supported Reagan’s strong stance on national security and opposed the 1980s Democratic Party on such issues as pornography, crime, and taxes.
Researchers have not tracked what political path these voters took after the end of the Reagan and the elder Bush administrations.
Well, I can save them the time and investigation: we’re still here. we still vote conservatively in fiscal matters, and most of us in social matters too. Like all Democrats we believe that the government has a role in social welfare (as in Medicare and indigent care), but also believe in limited federal government. (The heart of the Reagan Democrat movement are Southerners and Christians; two groups who have reason to fear governmental largesse and intrusiveness.)
Many “Real Democrats” think that a Democrat has to have certain views. Pro-Choice. Pro-Unions. Pro-Labor. (No, those last two are not the same thing.) Pro Big Government. Pro-Diversity. Pro-Green. Global Warming Believer. Pro Civil Unions. Anti-War.
Yet I’m none of those, for my own reasons.
And I am, indeed, a registered Democratic Party voter. I get all the newsletters from SEIU and AFSCME and the Democrat Websites. i read them, I disagree with them. And many Democrats say I’m not a “real democrat?”
This from the members of the Party of Tolerance. Go figure.