By David Hill - 07/02/13 11:11 PM EDT
In case you haven’t noticed, left-wingers in America are suffering a hangover as they recover from the bender that followed the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage issues.
This court led the left into the promised land of marriage equality, so what’s next?
Ideologues are primeval, emotional people that need a bonfire. So what will be the next issue to ignite a blazing flame that liberals can encircle like primitives?
There seem to be four possibilities.
First, there could be a full-scale assault on the rich to radically redistribute wealth that offends progressives’ sensibilities. Or, there might be renewed vigor to redefine or even change the Second Amendment, taking guns away.
The left could mount an assault on “organized” religion. So long as Catholics and orthodox Protestants cling to traditional values, they are a threat.
And the most likely direction for the left is a newly impassioned green movement.
America could be ripe for a wealth redistribution campaign.
Over the past decade, our middle class has shrunk, falling back into a sort of underclass status that could foster resentment of the rich and enable deeper bonding with the genuinely and intractably poor.
Pew Research polling conducted in 2012 shows that 55 percent of American adults feel that “rich people” are more likely to be greedy than is the average person. But more telling is that 65 percent of Democrats — the party of the left — say that the rich are greedier. Two of every three Democrats demonize the rich.
Wow. Has George Soros seen these data?
The same poll found rich people wanting in the department of honesty. And 78 percent of Democrats say the rich are not paying their fair share of taxes.
By painting the rich as avaricious, corrupt and unjust, they have the perfect brew to rouse the spirits of primitive souls, urging the seizure of their ill-gotten wealth and sharing the bounty with the “average.”
The left could also turn to gun control — again.
In fact, we are probably only one more mass shooting incident away from this occurring.
There are several problems with this strategy by the left, however.
First, it might not succeed. It is hard to imagine a more palpably emotional springboard for change than the Newtown school killings. If that didn’t ignite a big enough bonfire to incinerate opposition to more gun control, what will?
There are also more significant and clear legal barricades to hurdle than, say, gay-marriage backers faced.
An actual amendment to the U.S. Constitution might be needed. And the polling on gun issues is just too balanced to ever imagine the left trying that route. But an amendment would be a tangible symbol to rally around.
An assault against religion by the left could be premature, not quite ready for MSNBC prime time.
A Pew Research poll released just this week finds that a majority of Americans won’t say that the decline in the number of religious people is a bad thing. But only 11 percent of Americans say outright that the decline is a “good thing.”
Yet something is brewing.
In 2012, after Catholic bishops voiced concerns about policies that interfere with religious liberties, like mandating birth control services in healthcare plans, a plurality of Americans, 47 percent, disagreed with the bishops.
But that’s still short of what the left needs for a movement.
Green issues are most likely to be the focus of the next wave of left-wing activism.
There are just too many juicy targets, from “global warming” and “climate change” to fracking and greenhouse emissions.
Most test well in polls. Get ready, because here they come.
Hill is a pollster who has worked for Republican campaigns and causes since 1984.