Saturday, August 1, 2009

Categorizing the Electorate Redux

First of all, I'd like to thank Lewis for using the word "redux" recently, and hence bringing it into my vocabulary.

A few months ago I posted a categorization of the U.S. electorate which looked something like this, each with about 25%:

  • Social Conservative
  • Economic Conservative / Libertarian
  • Moderate
  • Progressive

Another way of looking at things is that globalists account for 50% of the electorate, and isolationists account for 50%. Social Conservatives and Progressives tend to be more isolationist, at least in terms of being against the multi-national mindset which looks at the world as one big integrated economy. The powerful centrists -- Moderates and Economic Conservatives -- tend to be more globalist in perspective.

Of course, there are exceptions. The Ron Paul Libertarians tend to be isolationist. And many progressives have a strong global perspective. So the globalist v isolationalist categorization doesn't map all that neatly on top of my previous categorization schema. But there is a generalization which can be made: the centrists tend to be in favor of free trade and a more integrated global economy, while the left and right wing tends to be against the recent torrid pace of globalization.

Both the left and right are in this sense conservative. They oppose different aspects of rapid change. The right is conservative with regard to behavioral standards. The left is conservative with regard to the environment. Both are conservative with regard to the economic dislocation caused by globalization.

In this regard, the Obama Administration, like the Clinton Administration before, is right smack in the center. Both the left and right are marginalized. However, if the economy fails to improve and, in fact, worsens, the center will become weaker as more and more American realize the global economy isn't working to their benefit these days...

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