Have you taken the Pew Research Center's "political typology" quiz? It's fascinating and frightening.
Among the twenty questions, I answered in the affirmative such ones as "Government regulation of business is necessary to protect the public interest"; "The growing number of newcomers from other countries strengthens American society"; "Relying too much on military force to defeat terrorism creates hatred that leads to more terrorism," and "Hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people."
In answering yes to questions about too much power being concentrated in in the hands of a few large companies and corporations making too much profit, I am simply responding to well-known facts about consolidation, concentration and record profits as a percent of GDP while per-capita GDP remains below pre-crash levels. How else should one respond? A few of the questions are too simplistic, forcing answers about highly complex issues. Faced with one, I picked a strong military as the best way to ensure peace. Religion is a very important part of my life; I said so.
My results: I'm a "solid liberal" — along with 14 percent of the public.
None of the typology groups is huge; only 9 percent are "staunch conservatives." Still...
So I took the more nuanced Pew political party quiz. The result was the same. Here's what's scary: Most of my answers represent the old consensus that built America into a superpower with a strong middle class, stable and generally laudable institutions and a better life for ever more members of our society. Except, perhaps, for my support of gay rights, I would be in the company of Ike, Nixon (creator of the EPA), Ford, Sen. Howard Baker, the way Reagan acted in office, especially as governor. Who supports it now? Fourteen percent. For those paying close attention, the collapse of the consensus is not news, nor is the fact that the political center has shifted so far to the right. This is the cold civil war and it's a dangerous situation.
The other interesting take came from the second test. I stood at the far left of today's American political spectrum. This, even though my answers were sometimes hedged and once or twice "conservative." So the real left is dead. No questions were asked about nationalizing industries, paying every citizen a living wage, unilateral disarmament, reparations for slavery, etc. None even about breaking up the Too Big to Exist Banks, enforcing antitrust to curtail unhealthy consolidation in industries or enacting a constitutional amendment to roll back Citizens United. No question about addressing climate change.
The far left is dead, while the far right is very alive, carries influence far beyond its numbers and is growing more extreme.