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America the 50/50 nation

The Democrats will likely take the White House in 2008 to add to their control of Congress. Anti-war sentiment is reaching previously staunch Republican regions, particularly those areas in which poor white families are bearing the brunt of a conflict that has taken thousands of their sons and daughters. Presidential candidates are lining up to court the gay vote, where four years ago they were clambering to reject same-sex marriage. Even evangelical Christians, so vital to Bush’s 2004 re-election, are talking more these days about global poverty than they are about abortion.

Yet The Economist is wrong to imply America is turning to left, just as commentators were wrong to argue that US voters had ever moved to the right. The country remains, at its core, a 50-50 nation. In the 1960s there were pro-segregationists and there was the civil rights movement, just as 100 years previously there were slave traders and abolitionists. In the noughties, we had more Americans vote for Gore than Bush, and 47% voting Kerry in 2004.

The Democratic revival has as much to do with the party adopting Republican themes as it does Americans finding their progressive voice. A Clinton White House is every bit as likely to pursue terrorists as the Bush administration. As mentioned in previous posts, Democratic candidates are talking about God and, if they are to be believed, to him as well. Add to the mix Republican inability to field candidates with any real pizazz and the US turning left debate starts to look a little flaky.

That the US is beginning to accept the views of Mike Moore doesn’t make it left-wing. After all, most British Conservatives would accept the film maker’s view that the US healthcare system is not a model of efficiency, that the war in Iraq was deeply flawed in its planning and execution, and that allowing citizens to own guns is not a good thing.

While US parties have raced to wear ideology and British parties have fought to shed it, the relative fortunes of left and right continue to wax and wane over time. Perhaps instead of turning left, America has simply come to its senses about Bush.

A graphic account of 9/11

How Cameron can win