A few days ago, Jason Kottke linked to a graphic depicting how the Republicans in Congress have become more conservative over the last thirty years, while the liberal Democrats have remained unchanged.
I’m not familiar with the methodology and I don’t doubt that the main point here is true, but a few points to ponder:
- Are we supposed to believe the GOP has become more conservative in a vacuum? I disagree that liberal Democrat ideology has stayed roughly the same. To wit:
- Where are the Scoop Jackson Democrats?
- Does anyone think JFK could win a Democratic primary today?
- If voting to basically nationalize 1/6 of the nation’s economy with Obamacare is not a leftward shift, why did it only happen in this decade?
- How does this ‘radically conservative’ GOP manage to still win elections? How did they pick up 63 House seats in 2010, more than the 54 gained in 1994?
I don’t dispute that the Republican Party has shifted rightward over the years, but I also think a very large portion of the electorate has as well.
Update (29 Oct): xkcd has a much more interesting chart (standard) that shows much the same thing, but also indicates a significant leftward shift as well.