Editors note: this post ran four years ago. It’s been updated to reflect recent opinion data and current events.
A poll from four years ago showed increasing numbers of people identifying as “liberal” in the United States. People describing themselves as “moderates” were on the decline while self-described “conservatives” remained steady at around 30 percent back then.
The gap between numbers of liberals and conservatives is narrowing, according to the pollster. Peter Beinart a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York agrees. He wrote a long The Atlantic piece about America growing more liberal.
From a mega-trend perspective, I wonder if this narrowing gap indicates a growing favorable climate for fundamental change towards real freedom.
Prosperity could be a factor. We already know people have fewer children as their prosperity increases. As people become more prosperous, could they also change their politics? Evidence does support this speculation. But the empirics also say that as wealth disparity increases, as inequality across the board increases, evidenced by #BLM, Occupy and the #MeToo, greater calls for fundamental change get louder.
Pollsters cited above throw out a caution saying: “The most obvious implication [of increases in liberalism among Americans] after the 2016 election is that the parties may increasingly nominate candidates who are wholly unacceptable to the opposing party. Additionally, it may be affecting the ideological bent of Americans’ representatives in Congress and the pressure these leaders face from their constituents to adhere to conservative versus liberal orthodoxy.”
That outcome always favors fundamental change. As politics grows more polar it becomes increasingly clear how the system works for a very few. This quote from the report is encouraging: “On the other hand, if the term “liberal” is simply growing in public acceptance, the shift could be more a matter of semantics than a paradigm change. People who once opted for the word “moderate” may be more willing to call themselves “liberal” even if their views on the issues are the same. However, with major changes over the past two decades in Americans’ acceptance of gay marriage, support for legalized marijuana and growing opposition to the death penalty, at least some of the shift in labeling appears to be rooted in changing perspectives.”
Indeed, The Atlantic’s Beinart suggests significant, deep shifts moving:
In July 2014, the Pew Research Center reported that 46 percent of Americans agreed with the statement “Our country needs to continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites.” By July 2015, after the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore and the rise of Black Lives Matter, that figure had risen to 59 percent. From the summer of 2013 to the summer of 2015, according to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who declared themselves “satisfied with the way blacks are treated in U.S. society” dropped from 62 percent to 49 percent. In 2015, public confidence in the police hit a 22-year low. Much of this shift is being driven by a changing mood among whites.
That was over five years ago. Today we see even more churn as people of all skin colors mobilize against conservative America. Yes, the right is lashing back, but in fewer, concentrated numbers. Which is why Republicans in November tried nearly everything to win the election because, according to some “America may never elect another republican.”
So what will come of all this change? I assert it paves the way for fundamental change towards real freedom. We at Copiosis define that specifically:
We’re going to have real freedom because the US is heading toward fundamental change just as it leans more left. That may leave the right in fear.
But growing more liberal is a really good thing, even for the right. The right will benefit tremendously by change brought by Copiosis. Some of them will have to wait and see because some on the right are too focused on the past to see the bright future in store for them.
Fear of change is not in our best interest, particularly when change is literally happening all around us, all the time. I’m eager to see the change that I’m calling for: one that allows everyone real freedom.