Modern American Liberalism
By: Tyler Huff
What’s going on with liberals today?
That’s a question that many on both sides of the aisle are asking. I intend to thoroughly answer that question. However; to understand why the Democrat party has become to seemingly violent, we must first understand what the party once was.
**Disclaimer: I am not, nor do I pretend to be, or intend to become, a Democrat. I will also be writing about modern American conservatism.**
The year is 1860.
This was when Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, was elected and this is where we begin.
In the time of Lincoln, Republicans were the “liberals” and Democrats were the “conservatives”. Southern Democrats strongly disliked Lincoln and believed that he intended to dramatically change the South. Seven southern states seceded from the Union.
Lincoln became President on March 16, 1861. The American Civil War began on April 12. This was truly the first war between parties. The Democrats were largely in the South and the Republicans were largely in the North. Today, the roles have changed dramatically. The conservative Democrats wanted to keep everything the way it was in the South, while the radical, liberal Republicans wanted to change things.
So, how did the two major parties end up swapping roles? Let’s move forward about 40 years.
In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 26th President of the United States.
When Teddy Roosevelt became the president, the roles of the Republicans and Democrats were already changing, but he accelerated the shift.
With his “intense masculinity”, Roosevelt was a picture of what a Republican should be in the 1900’s. He was a true “man’s man”. He was also fairly conservative. He was a member of the progressive Bull Moose Party from 1912–1916. However; progressives in that era were in favor of smaller, not larger government. They were also in favor of strong borders and many other conservative ideals. The change was nearing completion.
In 1936, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected for the second time.
FDR defeated Alf Landon by a landslide of 60.8% to Landon’s 36.5%. He won 523 electoral votes and Alf Landon got only 8.
Roosevelt was a hardcore Democrat. By this time, Democrats and Republicans had fully changed positions. The Republicans now wanted a much smaller, less-intrusive government. The Democrats wanted a large government that depended on the citizens depending on it. FDR introduced many policies that reflected the ideals of Socialism, including the New Deal, Social Security, etc. He also managed to bring the U.S. out of the Great Depression, which is why he won four terms, mostly. FDR also showed great strength during WWII. He is largely regarded as one of the greatest presidents by both parties. In recent years, the opinion of him from the right-wing has changed somewhat.
So, after introducing various aspects of Socialism to the Democrat party, where do we go next? Well, we’re gonna skip pretty drastically here.
The positions of these parties remain largely unchanged until the 1990's.
In 1992, after many Democrats wondered if another liberal president would ever be elected after Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton was chosen to be the 42nd President of the United States.
Bill Clinton was looked at as almost a savior of the Democrats. Jimmy Carter had been defeated decisively by Ronald Reagan in 1980. This led to twelve solid years of Republican leadership. (Side note: Ronald Reagan will be a big part of my article about modern conservatism.)
Clinton brought the Southern Democrat charm with him to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He was a different kind of liberal, one who was willing to work with Republicans, and one who shared many values with them. But, his presidency ushered in the internet era, and with it the “SJW”s (Social Justice Warriors).
The Bush Era
In the year 2000, George W. Bush was elected with a controversial Electoral College victory, making him the fourth president to lose the popular vote, but win the election.
His win began to make the Democrat Party bitter with the system. They hated him with a passion, but there weren’t any protests. This was because in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, he was looked at as a unifying president when the U.S. needed to be unified the most. However; his terms were often overshadowed by the expensive, unpopular war in Iraq. This became a flash point between the Republicans and Democrats.
Barack Obama defeated John McCain in 2008.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Why did he use that photo of Obama?” I used this one because this was the person you saw most often during his administration. This was the image he wanted to project. He wanted the liberals to get up and take to the streets when something happened that they didn’t like.
Movements like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter came into existence between 2008 and 2016. When Trayvon Martin was shot by Hispanic-American, George Zimmerman, Obama stated that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon. This was not only a totally unnecessary statement; it incited violence to some extent. When Zimmerman was acquitted of murder, people immediately took to the streets rioting and threatening to kill Zimmerman.
When Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson, the same thing happened. Rioting, looting, and extensive damage occurred in primarily African-American Ferguson, Missouri.
All of these riots are exacerbated by the Democrat party. They almost always go the defense of violent groups like BLM.
Obama also spent much of his time signing more executive orders than any other prior commander-in-chief. This meant that circumventing Congress was not a big deal to him. In turn, that meant that the Democrat party got used to getting what they wanted.
So, in 2016, they were sorely disappointed.
That brings us to now.
Donald Trump became the fifth person to lose the popular vote, but still win the election on November 8, 2016.
The Democrat party went into a tailspin.
They immediately claimed that there absolutely must be collusion with Russia. Democrats have been grasping at straws to try and prove this to no avail.
Widespread protests took place after the election because liberals had gotten used to getting whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted it.
So, how did we get here?
Barack Obama’s seeming embrace of Marxism brought the biggest change to the Modern American Liberal.
It is my firm belief that if Obama had never been President that modern Democrats would be noticeably different than they are.
What does the future hold? Can the Democrat Party take back it’s name from the far-left? No one knows.
For anyone who wants to say that I didn’t touch as much on the parties themselves as I did on the presidents, this is because the president is literally the most important person in the party. They decide where the party goes.
Stay tuned for my article on how Modern American Conservatism became what it is now.