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The Hunt For Liberaltarian Candidates

At Democracy in America, E.G. asks [1] this question in response to the New York Times article [2] on declining support for Democrats among the young*:

Why don’t we see more candidates who are socially liberal and fiscally conservative? It’s a huge and largely untapped political market.

I’m not so sure that it is such a huge market. For one thing, social liberals have needed political organization and candidates representing their “issues” far less than social conservatives insofar as popular culture and social norms have gradually been liberalizing without that much encouragement from political leaders. On the whole, there aren’t very many fiscally conservative candidates because there is no significant political constituency interested in an electoral message that tells people that they have to pay for the government services they receive. If they can delay paying for the services, or avoid paying for them all together, the consumer culture people have grown accustomed to over the last thirty years leads them to think that this is what they should do. Despite what Tea Party activists and their sympathizers may tell you, fiscal conservatism is absolutely not a vote-winner, and in many parts of the country social liberalism isn’t going to make candidates very popular, either. There are relatively few places in the U.S. where the combining these two fairly unpopular stances is not politically folly. Even if there were a “huge and largely untapped market” of socially liberal/fiscally conservative voters, it is probably not concentrated enough in that many districts or states to create the demand for candidates tailored to these voters. This is a rough impression, but that’s my guess at why there aren’t very many of these candidates.

* The article is odd not only for its reliance on old polling data, as E.G. mentions, but also because it completely fails to mention that the Pew data was part of its report on Millennials. The report was arguing that Millennials were relatively more pro-Democratic and continued to be generally supportive of the administration’s agenda despite the more dramatic shift in public opinion among other cohorts against the Democrats. I did have to laugh at one student’s remark that he thought the Republicans “cared” more.

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14 Comments To "The Hunt For Liberaltarian Candidates"

#1 Comment By superdestroyer On September 4, 2010 @ 3:13 am

LIberialatarian was almost always supporters of big government because they want the government to subsidize and enable their socially liberal policies. Sexual hedonism needs to be supported by a large government supported public health effort to offset the negative health consequences of the hedonism. The socially liberal want the government to provide health care so that they work freelance. They socially liberal want a big government so that more education careers will exist. The socially liberal want a big government so that they can used the government to control their neighbors (See a city like Burlington Vermont).

Fiscal restraint and small government would mean that the hedonistic would have to endure the negative outcomes of their life decisions. Small government means that writer/director/actor/producer wannabes would have to be more careful about career choices. Smaller government means that social liberals would have to live with the choices of their neighbors.

Since social liberals are part of the Democratic Party, social liberals have to endure big government and high taxes because the other parts of the Democratic Party coalition such as blacks, Hispanics, and government workers need the high taxes and high spending.

#2 Comment By William Burns On September 4, 2010 @ 6:36 am

The real untapped market is the socially conservative but fiscally liberal. Church-going African Americans are voting for the Democrats, when they are in many ways closer to the religious right in social views.

#3 Comment By superdestroyer On September 4, 2010 @ 12:55 pm


Blacks are not socially conservative. Look at the Congressional Black Caucus website. Not a single socially conservative position. Blacks do not live their lives as conservatives and black culture has zero conservatives aspects to it.

Too many idiots like Karl Rove keep getting church attendance with being socially conservative. That is only correlated for whites. All non-white church goers are liberals and have zero interest in socially conservative issues.

#4 Comment By William Burns On September 4, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

That’s exactly my point, superdestroyer. Black politicians are far more socially liberal than blacks generally, because they’re Democrats.

BTW, statements like “All non-white church goers are liberals” make you really hard to take seriously. Every single one?

#5 Comment By BubbaDave On September 5, 2010 @ 9:39 am

It all depends on how you define “socially conservative.” The best example I can think of of a fiscally liberal/socially conservative party was the Democrats of the South during Jim Crow. Take a look at that old George Wallace comic book from when he was running for governor: he was going to increase state spending on roads, farmers’ markets and old age pensions at the same time he sent those NAACP troublemakers back North. Frankly, the Glen Beck crowd looks ready for a similar candidate– somebody whose message is “We’re going to make Washington look out for the hardworking white Christians who’ve gotten shafted by that blackity-black Moooslim” could pick up a lot of votes, I fear.

#6 Comment By superdestroyer On September 5, 2010 @ 1:37 pm


Maybe you could point out Asian, Hispanics, or black religious leaders who could be described as socially conservative. Other than some blacks hatred of white homosexuals, there is no evidence that social conservatism extends beyond whites. Hispanics and black have very high level of out of wedlock births. Not exactly a bunch of social conservatives.

Maybe you could point to a non-white politician who puts social issues ahead of economic issues. I doubt if any exist. For non-whites, politics is about extracting wealth from whites.

#7 Comment By William Burns On September 5, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

Well, superdestroyer, I don’t know if you’d call him a politician, but Clarence Thomas comes to mind. But you continue to miss my point I’m not arguing that black politicians are social conservatives, but that many black voters are. And of course, out of wedlock births among whites tend to be higher in areas of social conservatism, so your point there is also dubious. Indeed, people giving birth out of wedlock aren’t getting abortions.

If your social conservatism is going to be a whites-only phenomenon, it will never take power in America.

#8 Comment By superdestroyer On September 5, 2010 @ 5:13 pm


Blacks never vote for social conservatives. Look up Steve Cohen (
D-TN) a white who is very liberal and represents a majority black district. Rep. Cohen is to the left of Bernie Sanders.

If you believe that black voters are social conservatives, then you have to show where blacks have elected social conservatives. Other than voting against white homosexuals, blacks have zero interest in social conservative issues.

Do you really think a demographic with the illegitimacy rate, the crime rate, the divorce rate really cares about social conservative issues. Do you really think that just because some Hispanics attend church ( but rarely give money to other forms of support) that they will somehow vote for white conservatives who are anti-abortion and want prayer in school?

#9 Comment By Norwegian Shooter On September 5, 2010 @ 8:01 pm

“social liberals have needed political organization and candidates representing their “issues” far less than social conservatives insofar as popular culture and social norms have gradually been liberalizing without that much encouragement from political leaders”

What?!? Socially conservative is the status quo that needs political organization to overcome. Can you name one socially liberal policy that owes it enactment to a general acceptance of the topic and not an organized movement that pushed it into law or a court decision?

And whatever they actually do once in Congress, Blue Dogs market themselves as socially liberal and fiscally conservative. It works well in many districts.

#10 Comment By William Burns On September 6, 2010 @ 12:46 am


I agree with you that blacks don’t vote for social conservatives, however, I suggest that its because they are not offered social conservatism in a package with fiscal liberalism. Unless you have some evidence that they have been offered that package and rejected it, saying blacks don’t vote for social conservatives is irrelevant to my argument.

And I don’t know where you get the idea that social conservatism as a political ideology has anything to do with personal behavior. If anything, what I’ve seen indicates that the people getting married, staying married, and giving birth to and raising children in wedlock are social liberals.

#11 Comment By superdestroyer On September 6, 2010 @ 3:37 am

If being married and having children made one a social liberal, then Utah and Oklahoma would be filled with social liberals. Being white, married, and having children is highly correlated with being social liberals.

Being single, white, living in a large urban area, and not having children are about the most socially liberal whites there are in the U.S.

Unless you can provide data that shows that married whites with children are socially liberal, then I believe such an idea can be dismissed.

The only socially conservative black that you listed is despised by more than 90% of blacks and has zero influence on the black community. I list the entire, virtually very elected black, and the bast majority of black pundits who are very liberal both fiscally and socially and your only arguments is that since blacks attend church (even though they are black only churches) that they must be social conservatives. This is the mistake that too many Republicans keep making. Just because blacks go to church more than whites does not mean that they are socially conservative. Those churches push the idea that the government should be able to discriminate against whites and should punish whites for being white. Not exactly an atmosphere that will encourage social conservatives.

#12 Comment By William Burns On September 6, 2010 @ 7:28 am

Could you define social conservatism? We may be talking about different things here. If social conservatism is “politics aimed at making white people feel good about themselves,” then yeah, you won’t get too many blacks signing up to that.

A second’s googling revealed that the divorce rate in 2007 for Massachusetts was 2.3 and Oklahoma was 5.2. Ah, the joys of a social conservative environment.

#13 Comment By superdestroyer On September 6, 2010 @ 8:17 am

However, Massachusetts has one of the lowest marriage rates. People have to get married to get divorced. In addition, Mass. is older than the average. Older people get divorced less.

As far as social conservative what issue would blacks or Hispanics ever care about: abortion, sex education, prayer in schools, home schooling, homosexual marriage, covenant marriage, SAHM? Blacks will never vote based upon such issues.

I think you keep confusing the social clubs that call themselves AME or black baptist churches with other, white churches.

Blacks do not have to worry about limiting prayer in the public forum, they ignore the rules about prayer and the government. Blacks do not care about home schooling or sex education. They only complain about homosexuals because in the PC pecking order, homosexuals are ahead of blacks.

If you are looking for fiscal liberals/social conservatives you should keep looking because there are few of them.

#14 Comment By William Burns On September 6, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

So we seem to be at a point where I think fiscal liberal/social conservative would appeal to a significant number of people, including churchgoing blacks, you think it wouldn’t, and we agree nobody’s trying it. I’m willing to leave it at that.