Democrats, Mike Pence, and the “Hang Mike Pence” Party

1. Mike and the Hang Mike Pence Party.

@Mike_Pence, Oct. 19 Freedom is under attack! Having served many years in Washington, leaders in this Nation’s capital have never been more out of touch, more intent on imposing their agenda or walking out on people who don’t have the same point of view.

Mike Pence, Today American Freedom is under attack. Big media, Big Government, Big tech and even Big business have locked arms to advance a pernicious woke ideology designed to control the American people and destroy the American Dream.

These tweets are excerpts from the beginning of former Vice-President Mike Pence’s speech to the right-wing Heritage Foundation on Oct. 19 in Washington, D.C. Mike Pence is one of the strangest figures to ever occupy high political office in the U.S. As straight an arrow as you can find in politics, Pence accepted a VP nomination from Donald Trump while knowing as much as I do that Trump is a pathological liar, con man, rapist, and flaming bigot. Once in office as the VP, Pence spent four years sucking up to Trump in the most demeaning way possible before having Trump approve of the mob trying to kill him for refusing to overturn the 2020 election. Even more weirdly, Pence travels around the country shaking hands, kissing babies, and giving speeches for all the world like he thinks he can win the 2024 nomination of a political party certain to renominate chief insurrectionist Donald Trump.

Why would Mike Pence want to be the head of the “Hang Mike Pence Party?”

2. Democrats in Touch with Public Opinion. I’m interested in the relation between the Democrats and the claims in Pence’s tweets. Of course, the truth is the opposite. Democratic leadership is more in touch with public opinion than any administration in recent history. After Pres. Biden proposed his far-reaching 3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” legislation in 2021, public support for all the various items in the bill was over 50% and in the 70’s for expanding Medicare. Indeed, what public opinion on Build Back Better revealed is that independents were almost as interested in large-scale legislation as Democratic voters. The people with whom Biden, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi are “out of touch” are the 30% of conservative voters who hate government, science, and anything that would benefit poor and minority voters so much that they oppose legislation that would benefit themselves.

3. Democrats Imposing a Popular Agenda. To the contrary, Pence writes that “Leaders in this Nation’s capital have never been more out of touch, [or] more intent on imposing their agenda.” One of the things that’s characterized GOP leadership and voters is a sense that white conservatives have become a smaller part of the population and the Republican Party itself is losing touch with urban/suburban majorities. That’s reflected in opinion on a large range of culture war issues as well. Support for reinstating Roe v Wade for the country as a whole is at 60%, gay marriage 71%, stronger gun control 52%, women in the military 66%, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants 71%, and opposition to restrictions on transsexuals at 64%. Majority and super-majority opinion on all of these cultural issues reflects the extent to which civil rights values have become mainstream in the United States and the extent to which white conservative opponents are now a permanent minority. In 2021-2022, the Biden administration and Congressional Dems have found ways to pass over the Senate filibuster and united opposition from House Republicans to enact their agendas on the pandemic, climate, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, computer chips, and guns. In other words, the Democrats are in touch with popular opinion and “imposing their agenda” on behalf of majorities. The Democrats represent public opinion and have effectively translated public opinion into far-reaching legislation.

4. Civil Rights as Official Morality. In many ways, Civil Rights has been the official American morality on race, gender, LGBT issues, Native Americans, immigration, and disability since the 1950’s-1960’s black Civil Rights Movement and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There aren’t any well known histories of how so much came under the moral umbrella of Civil Rights but there has been a broad forward movement as more populations came under the umbrella of Civil Rights and various modes of white conservative resistance have weakened over time. To give a couple examples, the idea among white people in the 1960’s was that they would need to “tolerate” the presence of black people in “their” schools, stores, restaurants, neighborhoods, and the like. But the ethic of tolerance has given way to an ethic of “embracing” diversity and valuing all groups and cultures whether that’s racial and ethnic groups like black people and Hispanics, various religions like Islam, Hindu (Happy Diwali!), and Buddhism, and the varieties of sexual orientation and gender identity. Likewise, (heterosexual) whites are no longer considered THE reference point for a social ethics of multiculturalism as they used to be as late as the early 2000’s when our daughters were in elementary school. Black people, Hispanics, LGBT folks, and Native Americans, and other groups are routinely seen as defining reference points of their own. Given that the majority of white Americans identify with either conservatism or the extreme right, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see white people as a reference point for multiculturalism at all.

Pence claims that “Big media, Big Government, Big tech and even Big business have locked arms to advance a pernicious woke ideology” with “woke” serving as a way for conservatives to insult civil rights ethics. In fact, the major institutions of American society do have “official” ethics of valuing racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, and gender diversity, being interested in the history of black people and Native Americans in the United States, the various cultures of immigrants, and transnational cultural connections between cultures in the United States and abroad. “Big Media, Big Government, Big tech, and even Big Business” are also interested in veteran’s status, disability status and accessibility.

Pence isn’t kidding about big business. According to Delta Air: “Thoughtful action combined with a focus on championing diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace and within our personal lives will play a healing role to help us keep climbing.” Likewise Walmart has “a vision of a workplace culture at Walmart and Sam’s Club where everyone is included – one where associates with unique identities, styles, experiences, abilities and perspectives are understood, supported and championed by their leaders.”

Being the party of civil rights, the Democrats are also the party of the inclusive ideology that is becoming more and more characteristic of American corporations.

In other words, Democrats are on the right side of American social morality as well as public opinion.

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