President Barack Obama’s second term has brought plenty of controversy to the table.
Whether it be drone strikes, the ever-expanding National Security Agency, the confiscation of phone records from journalists or the fervent witch hunt of information leakers, the Obama administration is changing the face of the Democratic Party.
The modern party has its foundations in liberal ideals and has been the mainstream representation of the American left and left-leaning moderates.
With recent information coming out about certain policies and the way Democratic leaders are reacting to these policies, we must begin to question if the Democratic Party still represents its liberal base.
A recent Pew Research Poll suggests that Democrats have drastically changed their opinions on NSA surveillance programs. According to the poll, only 33 percent of Democrats found these programs to be acceptable during the Bush administration, but by 2013 that same percentage had nearly doubled.
This spike in approval of a program that most consider to be a severe violation of civil liberties and privacy is uncharacteristic of the social-liberal ideology that the Democrats often boast is one of their defining qualities.
Although only a handful of U.S. legislators voted against the Patriot Act in 2005, a majority of those who voted against it were Democrats.
The Democratic Party hasn’t only changed its opinions on the acceptability of the NSA.
A 2012 Washington Post-ABC News Poll shows some startling numbers in regards to the use of drone strikes. When asked whether they approved of the use of drone strikes on American citizens suspected of terrorism who are living in foreign countries, 65 percent of respondents were in favor.
Among the respondents who identify as Democrats, 58 percent approve of drone strikes against American citizens, compared to 33 percent who disapprove. Even among those who identify as liberals, 55 percent approve of the practice and 35 percent disapprove.
Why would a party that so passionately opposed the Iraq War be on board with this type of military tactic? After decades of anti-war agendas that extend back to Vietnam, one would assume that Democrats would be inherently against the U.S. drone program, but apparently not.
Earlier this summer, the Justice Department secretly seized phone records from Associated Press reporters while investigating a leak. Journalists are being threatened with prison time for investigating government affairs too deeply. The effects this could have on the future of governmental transparency and hard journalism are frightening.
It’s pretty clear that there is a radical change within the Democratic Party in regards to foreign policy and civil liberties.
Voters and low-tier politicians alike are aligning with the leaders of their political faction with little regard to the lasting effects these policies have. The desire for camaraderie and solidarity when facing a unified conservative opposition is becoming so strong that important liberal ideals are being left in the dust.
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