Conservative nation affirmation

President George W. Bush received more votes than any president in the history of our nation.

This year’s presidential election was a great source of affirmation and jubilation for me and other conservatives across the country. For the first time in a generation, a sitting president increased his party’s majorities in both houses of Congress.

President George W. Bush received more votes than any president in the history of our nation and was the first president since his father to get a majority of the votes cast in this election.

My values as a conservative were reaffirmed. My view that the United States is a conservative nation was reaffirmed. Democrats nationwide, despite George Soros, Michael Moore and 527 money, were beaten.

So, what happened to the Democrats?

There are two different books that have competing ideas on that this year, one was Georgia Democratic Sen. Zell Miller’s “A National Party No More.” The other was “The Emerging Democratic Majority” by John Judis and Ruy Teixeira.

Judis and Teixeira are Washington intellectuals. To assume they are East Coast liberals is a safe bet. They are. Judis is a senior editor at The New Republic, and Teixeira is a senior fellow at the Century Foundation.

“The Emerging Democratic Majority” has a simple premise, one contained in its title. Judis and Teixeira believe that the demographics of the United States have changed such that eventually the Democratic Party will have a 20-year reign in our government.

They based a lot of their research on the fact that large city areas, which they call “ideopolisis,” are becoming more populous with a young, professional crowd of people who tend to be more socially liberal while fiscally moderate. These voters, they contend, will vote for Clinton-type Democratic candidates and help insure a Democratic majority.

The second column for Judis and Teixeira is the growing population of minorities, as a percentage of the population. The combined vote of blacks, Hispanics and Asians used to total less than 9 percent of the electorate. That number has more than doubled since Ronald Reagan was president to 19 percent. Minorities, since the 1990s, vote overwhelmingly Democratic.

Therefore, we are on the verge of a progressive era, according to Judis and Teixeira’s book.

Miller firmly disagrees. He sees the Democratic positions on guns, taxes and security as national losers.

He sees the Democratic Party moving toward political life support. Miller makes a number of strong points about U.S. tradition, special interests and the meaning of leadership. All warrant discussion, just not in this column. What’s important is that Miller believes that the lack of values in the Democratic Party will continue to hurt it nationwide.

So why, if Teixeira and Judis had such great numbers and statistics, did Bush and the Republicans win big? Was it social values, as Miller suggests?

In part, I think it was. But I also think Teixeira and Judis’ method is flawed. They follow a form of political science called “Identity Politics.”

Identity politics is simply the belief that people who belong to a specific group will vote a specific way. This is a broad generalization, but a fair one. In identity politics, if you are black, you vote Democrat. The same goes for any racial minority. The idea of identity politics removes the human soul and intellectual persuasion from the political process. The group to which you belong holds the key to your vote.

In recent elections, this might have been an accurate assessment.

However, it should be rejected outright. Both intellectually, and more importantly, politically. In this election, Bush proved the members of the secular religion of identity politics wrong.

Among blacks, Bush gained 2 percent support; his support from Hispanics grew 9 percent; from Asians, he gained 3 percent from his 2000 elections levels. Bush closed the gender gap by 5 percent; Bush even gained among the seniors by 7 percent. He did better among Catholics and Jews, 5 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Bush has even made inroads for conservatives in big cities. He increased his vote totals in big cities by 13 percent and in urban areas specifically by one-tenth.

How much did the war on terror and social issues such as gay marriage play in these totals I can’t say. However, the fact that issues are changing minds is enough to call into question identity politics.

Republicans believe human beings are more than the sum of their parts; I guess the United States is starting to agree.

Marty Andrade welcomes comments at [email protected]