I mentioned a few times during the election that it is more fashionable to be a Democrat, and this has its effect. I have been saying similar things for years, and it draws ire. I can see why. I mean it to sting, thanks. But it is only fair to say exactly what I mean by that. If I am to give offense, at least let it be for the right reasons.
The central argument is three points:
1. In every society, some ideas, people, or associations are more fashionable than others.
2. Some people give their support on that basis and no other. That is, whatever they say, the fashionableness accounts for all the variance.
3. Democrats, including Obama, are currently net beneficiaries of this.
I don’t see that any of these three can be seriously questioned. However, I quite consciously used the qualifier net beneficiaries in that third one. It doesn’t all flow in one direction. There are many American subcultures, and in some it is more fashionable to be Republican. In many evangelical circles, you have to be prepared to justify an Obama bumpersticker.
It is in fact the third premise that causes all the controversy. First, “Fashionable” is a clear pejorative, which I do not turn away from. Second, I suspect that there are those on the left who are quite certain that fashionableness flows away from them, not toward, and are prepared to give evidence. Third, with so many unmeasurables, it would seem that at a minimum, I should not be so sure of myself. Point three will be hard to prove with any reliable numbers, yes?
Yet I am sure of myself.
For openers, everyone needs to return to the first two premises: there is fashion in politics, and for some people, that is enough. Can anyone mount a serious argument against that?
My first contention is that liberals consistently pretend that no such thing as 1 & 2 occurred in the last election, or indeed, has been going on for some time. Yet when you put it out there as a general premise, they reluctantly, suspiciously have to acknowledge that of course that is what human nature is like. My second contention is that by acknowledging this, the argument is over, and only the mopping up remains. The mopping up will be lengthy, however, and will take at least two more posts. For now, conservatives can feel smug – that will change by the end – and liberals can seethe. That may or may not change.