Government Watch / Politics

Democrats are Trapped by the Extremism of Their Own Base on Cultural Issues

AMAC Exclusive – By Daniel Roman


In the aftermath of their defeat in Virginia, a few, mostly older liberal commentators have begun warning about the Democratic Party’s leftward drift on cultural issues. Some have criticized Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe for his failure to distance himself from the far left on CRT or the transgender bathroom and sports issues that had inflamed parents in Virginia schools.

It is easy to condemn McAuliffe for this choice, but the way he chose to navigate the race highlights a much larger problem for the party than many have understood. The challenge is that given the dynamics he faced within the Democratic electorate, it is unclear what other choice McAuliffe had. In all likelihood, McAuliffe did not decide to adopt his losing strategy thinking it was good. He probably deduced, correctly, that was simply the least bad option. And the alarming fact for Democrats nationwide is that if their least bad option was not good enough to win in a Biden+10 state earlier this month, there are a lot of other places it will not be good enough either.

McAuliffe’s choice on the cultural issues was both simple and impossible. If he spoke out against the radicalism of the left, he would be on the wrong side of a majority of Democrats, and potentially enrage 30% who would think him a bigot or at least pandering to bigots. If he supported their policies, he would offend the nearly quarter of Democrats who think the “woke” turn of Democrat politics is total nonsense, and potentially a danger to their kids – not to mention alienating a majority of independent voters McAuliffe desperately needed to win. So, facing this choice, McAuliffe did nothing, hoping he could hold the coalition together. Nothing may indeed have been his best option—but as we saw, it could not get him across the finish line.

McAuliffe’s conundrum shows why, for all the newfound recognition among some Democrats that radical social policies are liabilities, it is unlikely Democrats will be able to successfully execute the pivot they would need recover from their dalliance with the radical left. Despite the glee MSNBC and other liberal media outlets have shown since 2009 regarding the supposed extremism of the GOP base, it is increasingly Democrats who are out of touch culturally with American voters, and who are being held hostage by the extremism of their own base.

Take for instance the issue of transgender rights and gender policy. A recent survey from the liberal Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) demonstrates the enigma facing thoughtful Democrats on these issues. The PPRI survey indicated that Americans of all parties support not discriminating against LGBTQ individuals. This would seem to be an encouraging fact for Democrats. And yet, Democrats have not limited themselves to advocating for non-discrimination—rather, in many cases, they have abandoned that position in favor of stances where they are almost diametrically opposed to mainstream public opinion.

For example, 62% of Americans do not think those born biologically male should be able to play women’s sports. Yet 61% of Democrats think they should be able to do so. Opinion within the Democratic Party on the issue is therefore a mirror-image of that of Americans as a whole, and anyone opposing this would be advocating against a policy favored by a majority of Democrats. Thus, in order to be able to win a primary, a Democrat candidate would have to win the votes of people who support allowing trans individuals to play sports of the opposite gender, while winning a general election would likely require securing the votes of people who oppose such a policy. And to do that, the candidate would need to be able to explain to the public why they oppose transgender athletics on the merits. Instead, the default position of Democrats who have tried to take the majoritarian stance has been merely to explain that the Democrat Party’s position is “unpopular” in the nation at large. This does not really work in a general election, as it implies you still think the 62% of Americans are wrong or even bigots. This underscores the problem with even Democratic moderates. They tend to couch their moderation in tactical considerations, in effect insulting the morality of those whose votes they are supposedly trying to appeal to, while intimating that in their hearts, they aren’t really moderate at all.

Yet even this cynical political positioning to enable Democrat candidates to win over mainstream Americans may be a bridge too far for many Democrat voters. An increasing portion of the Democrat base is intolerant of anyone with a political profile capable of winning national elections.

Take for example Democrat voters’ views on a basic question, or rather, what a majority of Americans regard as a simple factual statement: the notion that there are only two genders.


Overall, 60% of Americans believe there are two genders, and 40% believe there are more or a range. However, not only do 61% of Democrats disagree with that statement, but a plurality actually feel their disagreement is important enough to be a voting issue.

Once more, opinion among Democrats is the exact inverse of that of the American people. Worse for Democrats, however, are the numbers of those who feel strongly. 42% overall feel strongly there are only two genders, compared with only 17% who feel strongly there are more. But among Democrats, those numbers are 23% and 30%. In other words, a fringe view, backed by around one sixth of the electorate, has a near plurality among Democrats. Worse, Democrats, unlike Republicans, have divisions. Among Republicans, 87% think there are two genders, while only 4% feel strongly that there are more. Democrats are much more evenly split. While 61% think there are more than two genders, a full 23% feel strongly that there are only 2 genders, making serious and bitter infighting among Democrats much more likely.

The gender issue is one of many that follow this pattern. It is not Republican primary voters who are out of touch with Americans. It is Democrats. And this is a key reason why Democrats are so despondent and Republicans so optimistic about 2022.

The more rational members of the party know they need to pivot, they know how to do it, but they nonetheless cannot do so because of the rigid ideological orthodoxy demanded by their base, an extremism that in many cases they themselves have sown. And that is why so many Democratic incumbents are headed for the exits rather than running for reelection. It is not that the situation is bad now and they don’t know how to fix it. It is that it is bad and they know they cannot do the things needed to fix it.

Daniel Roman is the pen name of a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...

As we prepare for what promises to be a pivotal year for America, we're asking you to consider a gift to help fund our journalism and advocacy.

The need for fact-based reporting that offers real solutions and stops the spread of misinformation has never been greater. Now more than ever, journalism and our first amendment rights are under fire. That's why AMAC is passionately working to increase the number of real news articles we deliver WEEKLY, while continuing to strengthen our presence on Capitol Hill.

AMAC Action, a 501 (C)(4), advocates to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, the rule of law, and love of family.

Thank you for putting your faith in AMAC!

Donate Now

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter
and Download the AMAC News App

Sign Up Today Download

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 months ago

How odd is it that many Americans seem to be unsure about how many sexual identities exist in the Nation much less how many there are in humanity. The Democraps seem to be fixated on this topic!! I guess it is the political tactics of the Dumobcraps that they will cuddle up to any group to get votes and reduce pressure on their need to rig the elections. The Democrap leaders are getting nuttier and nuttier with each passing day. This topic is too weird to think of rationally and/or seriously.

Geraldine McGann
2 months ago

Hope the Democrats self implode, and/or that millions leave the woke party!

2 months ago

They are imploding like a hand grenade. The clear and present danger is that many good Americans are going to suffer for it who were NOT supportive of the Democraps selfish and irrational desire to be Communistic in their governance practice and implementation.

2 months ago

Remember the guiding motto of the Democrap Party … RULE, not GOVERN! In time it will morph to a Communist control which the Democrap Party is and has been for decades ready and willing.

2 months ago

I hear a renowned author is in the early stages of writing a historical book about the upcoming elections from the view of a Democrap candidate. It’s title will be “Lie Hard….!”

2 months ago

If we do not fix the corrupt voting Around the country you are living your future – more control / dictatorship is on the way!

David Millikan
2 months ago

The world they created:

2 months ago
Reply to  David Millikan

Reminds me of a guiding principal of the Democrap Party … “Never Let a Tragedy Go to Waste!” And if a tragedy doesn’t exist, make one … or more!!!! Joe Hidin’ Biden is clearly following this to a “T” and maintaining an old Obama tactic.

2 months ago

The democrats were so into the LEFT, now the LEFT will do them in. Look what you did to yourself by not caring a hoot about the American tax payer. lol lol lol

2 months ago

Wrong, wrong, wrong. McAuliffe DID do something. He told American parents, who pay his too-big salary and the same for all the dead weight in schools, that THEY had no right to determine the education they wanted for their children.
Rather an extremely NAZI thing to say…
Those who support these overpaid gluttons have EVERY right to have a say so in how that money is spent.

2 months ago

While the democrat leftists are certainly “out of sync” with the rest of the world, since they have the power base and numbers in congress and can twist arms, blackmail, threaten and cajole moderates and even some RINOs they still can be successful. They may be willing to take some hits along the way, serious hits, but in the end the machinery of government churns on in spite of the efforts of many to curb the tide. I am no especially optomistic about the future of this Republic…not as long as the progressives and leftists have a voice that is allowed to shout out all others.

2 months ago

Whoever would’ve thought fifty years ago that elections would hinge on such an insane belief? North American culture has come to this? More than two genders? It astounds me that people would be so gullible as to believe such a narrative from ANYBODY! Never mind political parties – this is simply insane.

That said, the win in Virginia was a flash in the pan. All’s it did was provide a template for liberals, progressives & democrats to develop more sophisticated ways to cheat. And, they WILL cheat. It is because of the Communist/Socialist/Fascist DNC the American taxpayers will not have a voice.

David M
2 months ago

This is not difficult. For starters, McAuliffe’s position on parent’s role is education is disqualifying. There are many others, but a salient aspect is that he is either a coward or fool, or both. As the father of three daughters and two grand-daughters, the 61% of democrats who think transgender males should be allowed to participate in female sports are 100% wrong. Very dismaying that so many people could be that screwed up. McAuliffe has no principles other than trying to feed at the public trough. Thank God minorities are waking up, and leaving the democrat plantation. Hooray for Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears!

Wayne Peterkin
2 months ago

My issue right off the top is by saying Democrats are “trapped” infers it is against their will. It is not. They have freely chosen the path they are on and if they don’t like that path they can abandon the “Dark Side” and join the “Force” at any time. The Democrats have become the anti-American party bent on our nation’s destruction by adopting policies that violate our founding principles, violate our Constitution in some cases, and are fundamentally destructive to Free Enterprise and basic liberties. .

Robert Chambers
2 months ago

Democrats have assumed they owned and deserved to own the black vote for sixty years.

They are about to find out the that assumption was a pretension that could not survive the votes of a generation or two of blacks who are well educated, sophisticated, What are well aware it’s not 1963 anymore.

Robert Chambers
2 months ago

CORRECTION … that that assumption…
…sophisticated, and are well aware that…

2 months ago

The Victor writes the history, not [email protected]@ers.

2 months ago

A Democrat incumbent might be able to get away with doing/saying nothing (on gender issues, for example, since that is what this article looks at) but that will not work when there is a primary competition. In the current climate within the Democrats, primaries are likely to become a race to the far left. Meanwhile, the GOP will be keeping track of every comment made by Democrat candidates, to be used against the eventual winner. A horrible dilemma, but one that the Democrats brought upon themselves.

2 months ago

I am completely out of sympathy for Democraps at this stage of our Nation’s development. It baffles my sanity to understand why a whole political Party wants to damage the intended function of the Nation’s Constitutional Democracy to appease and gratify a small RULING group of so-called citizens by bringing about a Communist form of governance where in the majority doers NOT set the standards of civil rights and governance authority.

2 months ago

Yeah, higher taxes, higher prices, and low availability of goods and services. Everybody’s missing Trump and his pro American policies. It’s just that the liberals can’t bear to admit it !! It gives them the vapors!! Long live President Trump, and his ideas and ideals!!

2 months ago

A very good article and explains very directly why the people in the USA are divided but we must stop listening to the radical 10% who will never be satisfied with normal relations between adversaries. In other words STOP pandering to them. STOP basing our politics, everyday life and our children’s future on the radical leftist’s fringe. To most of us they are just plain NUTZ

Lee S McQuillen
1 month ago
Reply to  JJB


2 months ago

Anti-White liberals and respectable conservatives that support unlimited third-world immigration and FORCED assimilation for EVERY White country and ONLY White countries say that they are anti-racist, but their policies will lead to a world with no White people i.e White Genocide.
Anti-racist is just a code word for anti-White.

Ted Shepherd
2 months ago
Reply to  Larkenson

“Equity” and “social justice” are also code words for anti-White goals. (Equity also has another meaning: how much of an asset is yours outright after considering debt pledged to that asset; that is, the value of your house minus the mortgage balance. Equities in your investment accounts refer to ownership interests (such as stocks) as distinct from lenders’ interests (such as bonds). )

Jeremy Buchanon
2 months ago

If the Democrats do get swept away in the next two cycles, and there is a replay of 1980, the deed to the whole mess is signed by two names: Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Robert Chambers
2 months ago

Barack Obama never got my vote,
but I feel Obama is far more sophisticated, far more intelligent, far more nuanced and far more reasonable than hapless Joe Biden.

Biden’s essential problem is that he is just not that bright and never ought to have been nominated for the presidency.

Jeremy Buchanon
2 months ago

I agree Biden is a nit-wit, but he is a snake in the grass too. So is Obama. He is a major cultural fire-starter but he’ll blame it on the other side. His Kenyan step brother once said he is a “schemer.”

Lauren R MacArthur
2 months ago

Obama may be more sophisticated, intelligent and nuanced. But, reasonable? No. He just is able to better hide the fact that he is not reasonable at all. Obama is a senior puppet in this attempted takeover we are witnessing. Joe, of course, is at the bottom.

2 months ago

This should be a wakeup call for the Democraps, but probably not. If they would think about what’s good for the country and it’s people instead they continue to govern against the will of the people to keep the lefties happy in their party and line their own pockets either directly or indirectly.

Eddie Van Halen
2 months ago
Reply to  EdG

EdG – get serious. This is about agendas. The ( D ) communist party has been chipping away gradually since the days of that socialist dog FDR. Gold confiscator, war monger, money grabber (90%) “wealth tax.” And the stupes kept voting him in.
Their 4 main points:

2 months ago

spot on

Lauren R MacArthur
2 months ago

You are correct. However, they actually have been chipping since the Dem party inception. It was created for that purpose. It picked up a lot after World War I, and got a huge boost with FDR.

2 months ago
Reply to  EdG

I guess the Democrap Party wants to be know as the Party that has TLC. Too Little Constitutionality.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x