Read all …
(W)hat historian Walter Russell Mead in Special Providence calls the “Jacksonians”, and David Hackett Fischer’s invaluable though regrettably interminable Albion’s Seed calls “borderers” (for their origins in the Anglo-Scots border region), remain the largest single component of the American political community. These folks left a huge stamp on America, with their rough and ready egalitarian manners and robust, unapologetic self-reliance.
It is they whom observers like Tocqueville took to be typical Americans and in large measure they still are. And though many will vote Democrat this time, it’s not because they share Barack Obama’s cultural or foreign policy instincts. If he doesn’t understand why he didn’t have to court them during the campaign he will become politically irrelevant with a speed that would astonish even Jimmy Carter. Especially given the growing contingent of “Blue Dog” Democrats in Congress, noted by Canadian commentator John Ibbitson in the Globe and Mail, who are classic Jacksonians, culturally conservative foreign-policy hawks.
At the moment Middle America is disaffected from the Republican party for good reasons. But not those the Democrats take for granted. Jacksonians have no patience with cultural radicalism. And they do not care that the world seems to despise America; Jacksonians despise foreigners and rally ferociously round the flag when America is attacked.