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July 19, 2011

Left-Wing Coalition of Democratic Party Is... Doomed?, Claims Pundit

We hear a lot of this sort of thing about the Republican Party -- that we're simply "running out of white people" to get to vote for us, and that the Hispanicization of the US will spell doom for the GOP, at least as we know it.

Richard Miniter says it's the left that's doomed. Not due to demographics per se, but due to having run out of the government money it needs to bribe all the members of its coalition to vote Democrat.

The long-term trends are almost all bad news for the left wing of the party.

This week’s fight over raising the federal debt limit exposes a key weakness in the warfare-welfare state that has bestowed power onto the Democratic Party: Without an ever-growing share of the economy, it dies. Every vital element of the Democrats’ coalition — unions, government workers, government contractors, “entitlement” consumers — requires constant increases in payments, grants and consulting contracts. Without those payments, they don’t sign checks to re-elect Democrats.

Like it or not, Obama is not the new FDR, but the new Gorbachev: a man forced to preside over the demise of a political system he desperately wants to save.

Democrat champions in the punditocracy confidently predict that the future of the world’s oldest political party is bright. But in fact, the coalition that is the modern Democratic Party is doomed. Every pillar upholding its heavy roof is crumbling.

The Democratic and Republican parties are structurally different.

The Democrats are a coalition, forged in the New Deal, of diverse interests that do not get along well. Imagine the deer-hunting union member sitting down with the vegetarian college professor and the lesbian lawyer and you will begin to see the trouble party leaders have holding the horde together. So far, money and government preferences have been essential. It is largely a party of unions, government workers and retirees, “green” industries, “entitlement” payees, professors, teachers and social-change activists — all of whom require government payments in one form or another.

Apart from the high-income Cultural Liberals, Miniter notes, every single other segment of the coalition depends on government largess. What happens when the tap runs dry?

That is, of course, why Obama is so desperate to raise taxes; he can't give people free money if he's not taking it from somewhere else. Not with government debt already at the tipping-point level of 90% of GDP.

On the other hand, as a commenter pointed out, we are currently at the point where 49% of the country pays nothing in income taxes; that may already be the tipping point satisfying the old saying, "Democracy works until a majority of the population realizes it can vote itself a raise by taking money from a minority of the population."

Interesting Wrinkle: Miniter notes that as SS and Medicare consume more and more of the federal budget, that's actually bad for the Democrats, as that restricts how much they can spend on the other members of the welfare coalition. Unless they cut seniors' benefits to give them to another segment of the coalition, of course-- which was already done, when Obama raided Medicare for $500 billion to pay for ObamaCare. But that will alienate the vote-iest cohort in the country.

If the GOP were purely political, it would simply promise to keep those benefits at current levels and take from every other hand-out account to pay them.

The trouble is, the GOP can't really do this, as those programs are unsustainable at current levels, pretty much no matter what you do. I suppose if you severely, severely cut domestic discretionary spending you could manage it, but there are a lot of middle and lower class Republican voters that like some of those subsidies, too. Like student loans, for example.

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posted by Ace at 11:09 AM

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