I’m not old enough to remember the days that Congress enjoyed sustained approval ratings above 70%. I’ve never known a Democratic Senator that was able to debate a Republican on the floor and then discuss strategies for synergy over drinks at night. Instead, I’ve grew up during the era of the so-called Conservative Revolution. American political forces are polarizing: Bill & Hillary Clinton, George Bush, Newt Gingrich, Edward Kennedy. So what happened?
Perhaps I will sound biased, but hear me out. The root of the change seems to be, in my mind, the rise of the religious right. When I listen to many of the Republican candidates speak on healthcare, they are quick to contrast American values with European values. When professors at my university bring up world politics, they inevitably point to Europe as the opposite of America. But there are conservative and liberal countries in Europe. Much like America has “blue states” and “red states,” Europe has “blue nations” and “red nations.”
So what is the x-factor? What delineates between American conservatism and European conservatism? The religious right. For the past several decades so-called social conservatives in America have taken a stranglehold to the Republican party. So why is this important?