Kathleen Parker: “Opposition to faraway authority remains a big part of our nation’s DNA. Democrats seem to forget this.”

From a Washington Post column by Kathleen Parker headlined “Take Note: Voters have a problem with authority”:

Tuesday’s election results, which apparently shocked the nation, have consumed days of TV talk as cable pundits and others have sorted through data for clues to explain why so many voters pulled the lever for Republicans….

Very seldom are election results unexpected if you bother to talk to people across this vast nation as opposed to “operatives,” which in the nation’s capital are as common as “producers” in Los Angeles.

Depending on the corridor — Interstate 405 or the Acela rail — every other person seems to be one or the other. That doesn’t mean they know what they are doing.

Democratic consultant James Carville would be an exception. In summing up why Virginia voters went for Republican Glenn Youngkin for governor instead of Democrat Terry McAuliffe, Carville said on PBS: “It’s this stupid wokeness.”

He was also correct when he said in 1992, during Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

More generally, I would suggest that the simplest explanation for the outcome is about national identity. It boils down to this: Americans hate being told what to do. And lately they’ve been told a lot: Stay at home. Stand apart. Wear a mask. Get a shot. Get the booster.

Also? They don’t like transparently cutesy slogans that lack a cutting edge. Whoever came up with “Build Back Better” needs to go back to the marketing department or wherever they came from. At least “Make America Great Again” didn’t sound like a 5th grade diorama assignment. When the House convened to consider the BBB package Friday, I half-expected a singalong: Everything is beautiful, in its own wa-ay….

Telling Americans how to live their lives is, unfortunately, sometimes necessary, and I acknowledge that covid is one of those times. But don’t expect people to like it. Or to line up to vote for more of it.

It’s partly the spending, stupid. All told, President Biden’s proposed federal spending would amount to $5 trillion over the next decade, according to government number crunchers. Even though Democrats say that most will be covered by increased revenue coming from the wealthiest, it won’t just be billionaires picking up the tab.

But the other weapon Republicans deployed was about parental control, or lack thereof. Some voters surely see Biden’s proposed expenditures for universal pre-K, otherwise known as day care, as a back door to ever-greater government control over their lives. Or, in the vernacular of the far-right: government-weaned babies potty-trained by socialist nannies, precursors to propagandist educators schooled in critical race theory. More or less.

Virginia’s gubernatorial race was a textbook case. When Fairfax County parents objected to library books they deemed too sexually explicit for their children, McAuliffe sealed his own fate in an instant when he said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

If you want to lose an election, say that….

Opposition to faraway authority was among our founding battle cries and today remains a big part of our nation’s DNA. Democrats seem always to forget this. We don’t like hearing that something is for “your own good.” When government tries to relieve us of the burdens of responsibility, freedom is commensurately weakened.

Until Democrats absorb this message, we’re likely to see another Trump, if not the Don himself, come 2024.

Kathleen Parker writes a twice-weekly column on politics and culture. She received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2010.

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