Moderates no longer decide American elections.
For decades, the electoral philosophy of major American political parties has been that he or she who wins the moderates wins the elections. And to a certain extent, that’s been true: from 1972 to 2012, only three presidential elections have seen a candidate win independents according to exit polls but lose the White House (Gerald Ford won 54% of independents in 1976 but lost to Jimmy Carter, John Kerry won independents 49% to 48% in 2004 but lost to George W. Bush, and Barack Obama lost independents 50% to 45% but won re-election). It is worth noting that in two of those cases, an incumbent candidate won without winning independents. But it is also worth noting that this means that in two of the last three presidential election cycles, the candidate who won independents lost the presidency.
Fast forward to 2016. It’s clear that driving out the base is now the top priority for Democrats. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, fearful of losing her grip on the party base, is now moving swiftly to the hard left. This weekend, after endorsing President Obama’s gun grab and championing her support from Planned Parenthood, Hillary leapt into the socialist war on wealth by proposing what she termed, in Orwellian fashion, a “fair share surcharge” – otherwise known as a confiscatory tax on high-income earners. She explained that anybody who made more than $5 million in a year would be charged 4% extra, stating, “Right now we’re behind and we have to get the wealth and the corporations to pay their fair share.” Never mind that the top 1% of income earners already pay nearly half of all federal income taxes, and that the top 10% of earners make just 45% of all income but pay nearly 70% of all taxes. Nope, they’re still not paying their “fair share.” Thus they deserve a “surcharge.”
Hillary’s pandering to the far left.
And there’s a reason for that.
Today, Senator Bernie Sanders (Loonbag-Vermont) trolled the Clinton campaign by calling Clinton’s campaign manager out for his support of Sanders-esque ideas on nationalized healthcare:
If you ever want to work for a campaign that shares your values on health care, there's always room at Bernie 2016. https://t.co/sFhjtVhepF— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 11, 2016
Hillary has no good response. It’s just a question of how far to the left she feels the need to push in order to siphon off votes from Sanders, who now challenges her for the lead in both the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. And she’s not worried about the center of the country: she’s worried purely and simply about how to drive out her base.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side of the aisle, the establishment leadership looks to quash its own base. Yes, most of the establishment candidates are now making overtures to the right. But unlike Hillary, who has never sneered at Sanders supporters, the backers of Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Jeb Bush seem to get a personal high from bashing the supporters of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. They don’t seem to understand that the moderate voter matters less and less these days – if you don’t win your own base and drive them out to the polls in massive numbers, you’re unlikely to win.
Hillary gets that, which is why she has an advantage. The question is this: will the Republican establishment, which has indeed been pushed to the right by the grassroots – proof being former Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio – take yes for an answer from its own base?