How the People Are Lost in the Extremes of 'Right' and 'Left' in Politics
One of the greatest curses left over from the Cold War is the noticeably polarized nature of our political system. When McCarthyism ceased our Country in the 1950s, politicians abandoned their devotion to the unique American democratic process for faith in rigid ideologies designed around hardliner stances on key issues. Under an oppressive right, a radicalized, anti-establishment left grew in popularity. Since then, the United States has moderated as it sways back and forth between the polarized extremes. In reality, there is no such thing as a true conservative or liberal, but moderates have been lost in the intensity of these extremes.
As right wing political leaders gathered supporters, they had to appeal to a broad range of conservatives, so compromises were made. For example, social conservatives strongly opposed abortion, thus they had to be legally progressive, because before the pro-life movement began, abortion was not regulated by law while conservatives have also come to support neoliberal free trade policies, once sponsored by Democrats, to fight socialism. One the other side, liberals remained fractured longer due to their less formal nature, thus the voices of moderates, such as environmentalists who tackle climate shift with green industry, remained unheard until recently.
Most Americans hold a variety of right and left wing policies on many different issues, but politicians tend to take more extreme views on certain issues. One of the main reasons this is so comes from the leaders of political parties, as well as financial backers, sponsoring candidates who will take polarized stances to draw in passionate voters and the many who have tolerated extremist positions. From there, American voters maintained this system of right and left by abandoning one side when things go wrong then shifting back later versus supporting leaders capable of taking sensible, carefully considered stances on all issues.
Furthermore, a dynamic exists that can eventually lead to a middle ground. As the world changes, progressive ideas tend to gain in popularity, thus conservatives become outdated. This means the left will become the center and the right will grow more extreme. In turn, a dying right weakens resistance to ultra progressive views; therefore, fewer radical left ideas get noticed. The net effect is a former left wing party coming to represent the middle as the right wing party fades. Of course, the process then starts over again as the now middle, once left wing, becomes the right wing, but this is also part of a dynamic political world.
Unfortunately for the GOP, conservatives, who were once the blood of American politics, have become a symbol of extremism, thus a death mark seems to be stuck on the Republicans. Democrats, however, are in a better position to represent the middle as the party splits into Blue Dog Conservatives and liberals. Republicans are certain to resist as a social inertia takes over; regrettably, this will likely mean some very dirty politics as they diminish. Of course, finding the middle could be delayed if voters once against shift back to Republicans over disagreements in certain debates like healthcare reform.