What’s new, politically, for Monday morning? Nothing if you’re a Republican. Trump’s in trouble. The GOP’s Andria Tupola won a non-partisan City Council seat but Democrats hold our two U.S. House and U.S. Senate seats. Nothing seems to be changing in the State Legislature.
Gallup — the company known for its credible public opinion polls worldwide — says that starting last year Americans were turning more toward the Democratic Party than they had in the previous six years.
We’re still center-right, just not as heavily so as before. 37% of you say you consider yourself a conservative. 24% identify as liberal. But look at this — 35% pretty much dead center.
However, there’s a significant glitch there. Conservatives and moderates tend to be much more closely allied on major policy issues such as healthcare and immigration than are liberals and moderates.
Among all Republicans, 73% told Gallup they are flat-out conservative with no truck for moderates. 21% admitted to more moderate views and only 4% liberal.
And I really found this interesting: People who once might have been liberal or moderate Republicans increasingly identify as politically independent instead.
On the other side, Democratic voters are more ideologically diverse than Republicans, with 49% identifying as liberal, 36% as moderate and 14% as conservative.
I wish Gallup would poll Hawaii on that topic. I think the finding would be that we started out very liberal when Democrats came into power around statehood but then became much less so as that original force of AJA’s returned from WWII advanced in age and, politically at least, became their parents. The speed of change troubled them.
In fact, we probably would have had a significant Republican Party presence in our leadership now had it not been for that intrusion of religious conservative Pat Robertson, who drove some of the most promising GOP players into the Democrat’s camp.
The GOP never recovered. It did elect the liberal Republican Linda Lingle as governor and, notably for our Democratic state, more isle residents back then voted in the Republican primary than in the Democratic primary — 159,650 to 123,232.
But Lingle’s petticoat tails had no power to bring along a significant presence in the Legislature and the party went back to sleep. Its candidate after Lingle’s eight years was the religious conservative Duke Aiona and that didn’t play at all well here.
I hear complaints all the time about one party rule and how bad Democrats are for business and wise expenditure of money, but not an iota of substantial new policy ideas. Just complaints. The local party resembles the national one, which wants to kill Obamacare but never has a replacement program to offer people who need affordable healthcare.
For a while, the local GOP was bugged by ultra-conservative member Eric Ryan, who tried to jump-start a REAL Republican Party. But he’s a muffled voice now.
And even the rock-solid East Oahu Republicans stood by as their hero, Sam Slom, was ousted by young Democrat Stanley Chang in the State Senate. Hawaii Kai has retained Republican Gene Ward in the State House, one of just five rare birds there.
No change this year. The mayor’s office will be won by either an independent (Blangiardi) or a party Democrat (Amemiya). Democrat incumbents will be back in the Legislature and remaining in charge in the non-partisan-but-we-know-you City Council.
A chunk of voters may be unhappy with what they see happening with our one-party system, but they suffer it rather than take a chance on being given what Trump and McConnell have given the 50 states — embarrassment.