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The letter writer has it exactly backward. It's progressivism, rather than conservatism, that has become a religion in this country. Moreover, the Democrat Party has long since been "taken over by left-wing extremists." The Republican Party is simply trying to figure out how to counter these extremists. Think of it this way: David Stout and his ilk are driving a bulldozer through American society, destroying everything in the bulldozer's path preparatory to rebuilding society according to a progressive blueprint. Republicans are trying to figure out how to stop the bulldozer before it destroys everything. Here and there, they throw up an obstruction that impedes the bulldozer's movement. David Stout is so convinced of his rectitude that he views these protesters as extremists. "Why would anyone want to stop us? Don't they know that we are in the right? Don't they realize that we are trying to make the world a better place for all concerned?" The dogmatism of progressives is shocking and dangerous.I couldn't say it better myself. Of course it's a bald faced lie that it is the Republicans who have become ideological extremists, unless we want to say that the Founders were also right-wing extremists (or if we mean by "change" a Cambridge Change). They would have laughed Democrats out of the building if they were told that gays can (really and not merely by some legal definition) enter into a marriage, let alone that a Constitutional Amendment about slavery would strip every single state of a right to decide who can be legally married. They would have been shocked that no state can ban abortions and at the Democratic platform's extreme view that there be no restrictions on abortion whatsoever. They would have been astonished at the vast, federal bureaucracy with its tentacles protruding into every facet of life, the massive expansion of presidential power and cabinets, etc. And it's never enough for Democrats! That's why to win a nomination today you either have to identify as a socialist (democrat) or try to be even further left of him, as Hillary has recently with gun control.
According to this report about a recent Gallup poll, the Democratic party has moved much more to the left ideologically than Republicans to the right in the last fifteen years:
Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll shows that 47% of Democrats today say they are socially liberal and moderate to liberal on economic issues. That's up from 30% who said so in 2001. Just 18% of Democrats now say they are social and economic moderates. A separate Gallup report , meanwhile, finds that while Democrats have become far more liberal on social issues (going from 35% liberal in 2001 to 53% liberal today), Republicans have become slightly less conservative in their views over the past several years.
And while the share of Republicans who describe themselves as conservative on economic issues is virtually the same now as in 2001, a third of Democrats say they are economic liberals, up from 24%.More reading:
Now, Donald Trump might be a clown, but his brand of showman populism doesn’t rest on any coherent ideology. Certainly in most ways it doesn’t represent the party. Bernie Sanders, though, who in a smaller field of Democrats can claim to be far more successful in his party, brings with him an ideology that has a long track record. Yet, what major player on the Left has voiced concern that an extremist is running strongly in a dominant American political party — or, for that matter, that most Democrats are starting to sound just like him?