We all know about “yellow-dog Democrats” — those voters who would vote for an ugly yellow dog running as a Democrat before voting for any Republican. Have you ever heard of a “yellow dog Republican”? No? Not surprising, because the creature does not exist.
While I’m sure pundits could give you any number of reasons, I believe it boils down to this: Those who vote for Democrats are driven by ideology, while likely Republican voters are driven by principles. For clarity, I’ll define ideology as the doctrinal basis of a political or social system, i.e., groupthink; principles are fundamental truths, i.e., individually held concepts.
In today’s politics, the terms Democrat and Liberal are practically synonymous. Such is not the case on the other side of the spectrum. We cannot equate Conservatives and Republicans.
Democrats vote to advance their Liberal ideological agenda. They know that by voting for a Democratic candidate, no matter how imperfect (the ugly yellow dog), their chances of advancing their agenda are far better than if they vote for a Republican. Their agenda is not about individual freedom and responsibility. It is about control of individuals by the larger group, restricting freedom “for our own good,” and making decisions for us.
The Democrat’s Liberal ideology is rooted in socialism and collectivism. That ideology is out to destroy individual liberty and remove the idea of individual responsibility, replacing them with external control by big government and busybody elites. Liberals love the idea of European-style welfare state; they aspire to draconian government regulation — of markets, behavior, choices (consider the ridiculous ban on trans-fats, the CAFE regulations on our vehicles, the regulations on toilets). Democratic presidential candidates all push for some type of socialized health care. Democrats would even vote for global warming extremist Al Gore, who essentially promises to destroy the American economy.
On the other hand, Conservative or Libertarian voters are not trying to push an agenda. They have no ideologically driven agenda. These voters will vote for a candidate who shares their values and principles — or at least a majority of those values and principles. In general, those values and principles have been most closely reflected by the Republican candidates and platform, specifically by Ronald Reagan and by the 1994 Contract with America. Voters who tend to vote for Republicans admire honesty, integrity and a belief in a strong America.
First and foremost, Conservatives and Libertarians want to be left alone. They believe there are very few legitimate functions of government and that the Constitution is a limit on government power, not a restriction on individual rights. They want to see a government that abides by the rule of law, not the rule of emotion. They respect facts and empirical data, not propaganda.
The losses suffered by the Republicans in the 2006 congressional elections and the ongoing criticism of the Republicans by voters on the Right were caused by Republicans abandoning those principles and values dear to Conservatives and Libertarians. The Right will not support a socialist domestic agenda characterized by out-of-control government spending and massive government, higher taxes, exploding deficit, more handouts, more regulations.
Most recently, we have seen a wholesale abandonment of the Republicans by Conservatives as the president and Republicans in the Senate try to ram an unacceptable immigration reform bill down our throats. Conservatives want the border secured and the law enforced, not an amnesty reward for those who have entered our country illegally. Had this bill passed, George W. Bush could look forward to a legacy of having destroyed the Reagan Conservative Revolution and consigning Republicans to the minority for the next 20 years.
The lesson to be learned is that if Republicans want to regain a majority in our government, the party will have to understand and acknowledge the values and principles of their most likely supporters. The Republican Party needs to recognize it has a problem not encountered by the Democrats.
Democrats vote for yellow dogs. Conservatives and Libertarians don’t.
A retired Navy officer in Prince William County, Va.