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Why Culture Wars? This Is Why

For years the culture war has driven Republican turnout in the South, the Mountain West, and (in recent years) the Midwest.
Why Culture Wars? This Is Why
Sign from the January 2020 Women's March Image from: Karoli Kuns

Why is America in a permanent culture war? Why are we always fighting over issues such as abortion and guns? This is why:

Progressive Democrats, who had hoped unified party control of the government could spur transformative tax increases on multinational companies and wealthy individuals, look like they will have to settle for a more modest outcome....

Democrats ... had planned to use higher taxes, tax enforcement and other policy changes to pay for their $3.5 trillion, 10-year package....

But it is far from certain what can pass, and lawmakers have acknowledged they may need to pare their ambitions....

For years the culture war has driven Republican turnout in the South, the Mountain West, and (in recent years) the Midwest. Democrats need to defer to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema now because they lost 2020 Senate races that appeared winnable in states such as Iowa, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Montana. Strong turnout for Donald Trump helped the GOP Senate candidates in those states -- but the extra votes came on top of a strong, enduring base of support for the GOP that's rooted in decades-old culture wars.

Democrats want to take your guns. Democrats kill babies. Rich people back the party that runs on these messages, and then that party forms a solid bloc of opposition to increased taxation on the rich. Add to the mix a few corporatist Democrats (who fear they can be replaced by Republicans the next time they run, so they do whatever their rich donors ask), and the tax increases can apparently be forestalled forever.

I'm not sure how much longer abortion and guns will continue to serve the bait-and-switch function they serve now -- the Supreme Court has now all but officially overturned Roe v. Wade, and a case that could take away states' rights to limit firearm carry outside the home will be decided next year. But there are many other culture war battles to fight. Critical race theory! Mask mandates! Vaccines! Mexican immigrants! Afghan refugees! It's all intended to keep the rabble voting to block progressive tax and reguzltory policies. And it always seems to work.

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