Below I’ve argued that if you want to be part of the mainstream establishment you cannot be a dove. This is just part of a more general rejection of “liberalism”.
Steve Teles, a Brandeis political science professor, has said that the only thing all conservatives have in common is a hatred of “liberals”. Many reasonably moderate voters would never vote for a Democrat because they think the Democratic Party is liberal.
If you ask them what they mean by “liberals”, however, they’ll often point to pot-smoking bisexual tree-hugging pacifist ecoterrorist vegans. But these people are not Democrats: they’re Greens, if anything.
In other words, the people who killed Gore by voting for Nader also hurt Gore by causing moderates to vote for Bush. Everyone knows that life isn’t fair, but this particular lose-lose proposition is an especially nasty one.
The Democrats have been bullied into driving away their fringe constituency, while the Republicans have succeeded in keeping theirs on board. And the Republican fringe is plenty nasty: neo-Confederates, Armageddon Christians, “nuke’em all” warmongers, and anti-tax anarchists.
In 2000 Nader got 2.7% of the vote and Buchanan and Browne combined got 0.79% of the vote. You know that there are a lot more racists and libertarians than that out there. That’s only 3.5% of the vote altogether, but suppose the proportions were switched (.79% Green votes, 2.7% Buchanan and Libertarian votes).
Gore would have got almost 2% more votes, Bush would have got almost 2% fewer, and Gore (who already had a .5% advantage in the popular vote) would have defeated Bush solidly, 50.3% to 46%. The Electoral College and the Supreme Court couldn’t erase that margin.
The Democrats have to stop running away from their fringe voters.