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I consider myself a liberal on social issues, conservative on economic issues. I’m guessing a vast majority of people who are still reading me after 20 years feel about the same.
Basically, you do you and leave me out of it when it comes to social stuff — you’re gay? Great. Want to smoke weed? Wonderful. Equal pay for women? Yeah, of course. All of it. I’m down with it.
As for economics? Well, I want to keep what I earn. That’s the nutshell. I don’t have a problem paying taxes, but I want to see something for my troubles. I don’t want my hard-earned tax dollars going to people who aren’t working as hard as I am.
Throughout the years, the Democrats have always — every single time — got my presidential vote. I lean Republican here in the state. This is not a hard needle to thread. Even the Republicans (well, the reasonable ones, not the “COVID isn’t real, the election was stolen” ones) are pretty socially liberal. Which makes voting with my wallet a lot easier in New Jersey.
But nationwide? I’ll give up a few bucks to make sure things keep moving along on social issues.
But things are changing. All of a sudden, the Democrats have their own “unreasonable” people — at least to my eyes. And believe me, I’m not the only one who sees this.
For instance: Do I think gay and transgender people should have the same rights as straight people? One thousand percent. But … do I think it needs to be discussed in grade school? Nope.
Do I think kids who come from difficult economic backgrounds should have more opportunities presented to them? Absolutely. But … not at the expense of my kids.
The list goes on and on and on. The pendulum, I fear, has swung way too far to the left.
And the Republicans are jumping on it. From Trump to DeSantis — and I promise you, once a “reasonable” Republican or two jumps in the race, they’ll hit the same notes — all you’re going to hear about from the right is social issues. All you’re going to hear about is how the “woke” left is ruining this country, how they want to turn your kid into a drag queen, etc. and on and on.
Of course, this isn’t true. The vast majority of Democrats are not the “woke’ left. They are just regular people. Much like the majority of Republicans aren’t Jewish space laser conspiracy theorists who stormed the Capitol.
To be clear, I don’t buy what Trump and DeSantis are selling, but I can certainly see how it can work. As I said, I’m socially liberal, but I have my limits. The Republicans are going to test those limits.
So what are the “reasonable” Democrats to do? Well, President Joe Biden is already doing it. In an Atlantic article, it was pointed out Biden — outside of abortion — is never, ever, never talking about these social issues. Instead, he’s talking about … the economy.
Every time he opens his mouth, it’s about jobs or Medicare or anything that will keep a few extra dollars in our pockets.
Honestly, it’s like a funhouse mirror — the Democrats are talking about money, the Republicans are talking about social issues.
Of course, we have a ways to go until the 2024 election, but if the Democrats want to keep the Oval Office — and probably regain the House — and, as a result, keep their liberal social policies moving forward, they should follow Biden’s lead and shut the hell up about social policies.
In short, and at least for the rest of this election cycle, the first rule of talking about progressive social issues is you do not talk about progressive social issues.
Much like I’ve voted with my heart since 1992, many right-leaning people have been voting with their pocketbook. The Republicans are trying to keep — or regain — those voters by slamming the left on social issues. Biden is trying to win them over with their pocketbooks. It’s dizzying. And it’s exactly where we are.
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