Ross Douthat offers some keen analysis of the 2012 election:
Liberals look at the Obama majority and see a coalition bound together
by enlightened values reason rather than superstition, tolerance
rather than bigotry, equality rather than hierarchy. But it’s just as
easy to see a coalition created by social disintegration and unified by
Consider the Hispanic vote. Are Democrats winning Hispanics because they
put forward a more welcoming face than Republicans do one more in
keeping with America’s tradition of assimilating migrants yearning to
breathe free? Yes, up to a point. But they’re also winning recent
immigrants because those immigrants often aren’t assimilating
successfully or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates.
The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker
trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary
government support inevitably seems.
Likewise with the growing number of unmarried Americans, especially
unmarried women. Yes, social issues like abortion help explain why these
voters lean Democratic. But the more important explanation is that
single life is generally more insecure and chaotic than married life,
and single life with children which is now commonplace for women under
30 is almost impossible to navigate without the support the welfare
Or consider the secular vote, which has been growing swiftly and tilts
heavily toward Democrats. The liberal image of a non-churchgoing
American is probably the “spiritual but not religious” seeker, or the
bright young atheist reading Richard Dawkins. But the typical unchurched
American is just as often an underemployed working-class man, whose
secularism is less an intellectual choice than a symptom of his
disconnection from community in general.
What unites all of these stories is the growing failure of America’s
local associations civic, familial, religious to foster stability,
encourage solidarity and make mobility possible.
This is a crisis that the Republican Party often badly misunderstands,
casting Democratic-leaning voters as lazy moochers or spoiled children
seeking “gifts” (as a certain former Republican presidential nominee
would have it) rather than recognizing the reality of their economic
Bottom line, as several others have observed:
it is about culture. Because culture is a way of thinking and living
based on what one worships (cultus!) and believes, even if implicitly or only partially and imperfectly.
In short, for many people, the State has become semi-deified; while it
should support the common good, it has for many people become the Good, the End, the Goal.
The State increasingly destroys institutions and associations that are
necessary for a healthy society and whole families; it has become the
enemy of subsidiarity. It supports, and increasingly advocates, for
abortion, contraception, and immoral, unhealthy sexual practices; it has
become the enemy of life, love, and the personalist principle. And it
plays favorites with political impunity, with little care for the virtues that should bind and guide a nation; it has become the enemy of
solidarity. Yet we are told that secular liberalism and its high priests
are the essence and epitome of "social justice", even while society
suffers and justice is savaged. And so it goes. To what end? What is the prize? What does it profit a man....?