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Notable & Quotable: ‘Peak Left’ for Democrats WSJ

walter_russell_mead.jpegWalter Russell Mead writes that Americans are increasingly rejecting the progressive agenda. Dec. 26, 2014 6:35 p.m. ET

Walter Russell Mead writing online for the American Interest, Dec. 19:

For liberals, these are bleak times of hollow victories (Obamacare) and tipping points that don’t tip. For examples of the latter, think of Sandy Hook, the horrific massacre in Connecticut that Democrats and liberals everywhere believed would finally push the American public toward gun control. Two years later, polls show more Americans than ever before think it’s more important to protect gun access than to promote gun control.

Sandy Hook isn’t the only example. There was the latest 

2014 IPCC report on climate change that was going to end the debate once and for all. The chances for legislative action on climate change in the new Congress: zero or less. There was Ferguson and the Garner videotape showing the fatal chokehold, both of which set off a wave of protests but seem unlikely to change public attitudes about the police. There was the Senate Intelligence Committee “torture report” that was going to settle the issue of treatment of detainees. Again, the polls are rolling in suggesting that the public remains exactly where it was: supportive of “torture” under certain circumstances. . . .

The liberal rout at the level of state and local politics is even more alarming. A wave of Republican Governors in blue Midwestern states (Walker in Wisconsin, Snyder in Michigan, plus the Dem-crushing Kasich in purple Ohio) and large GOP gains in state legislatures across the country point to a widespread reaction against liberal ideas, and lend credence to the idea that, even accounting for the GOP-skewed electorate in off-year elections, the country as a whole is drifting to the right. . . .

It took the unique circumstances of two wars and a financial crash to open a path to the White House for Barack Obama ; absent similar circumstances, successful candidates are likely to come from his right for the foreseeable future.

In that sense the Obama administration may represent “Peak Left” in American politics, and what we are getting from the left these days is a mix of bewilderment and anger as it realizes that this is as good as it gets. America is unlikely to go farther to the left than it went in the wake of the Iraq War and the financial crash, and while that wasn’t anywhere near enough of a shift for left-leaning Democrats, the country has already moved on.

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Notable & Quotable: ‘Peak Left’ for Democrats WSJ
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