Right On: Are the majority of Americans ‘hard right?’ Hardly

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION — Progressives seem to think vast numbers of mainstream Americans are politically “hard right.”

I came to that conclusion after reading a recent liberal opinion column by St. George News columnist Ed Kociela. He said that Utah politician Jason Chaffetz was elected by appealing to a “new wave conservatives who latched onto the outer edges of the far, far right.”

He went on to call Chaffetz a “Hillary Clinton-hating, anti-Affordable Care Act, fiscal conservative, anti-marijuana legalization, global warming disbelieving, Planned Parenthood-hating, same-sex marriage opposing kind of Republican.”

Read more: On the EDge: Bailing out early is a smart political move for Chaffetz

Are these positions really at the “outer edges of the far, far right”? How many people hold these “hard right” positions?

A little fact finding shows that a majority of Americans hold a number of these positions. On others, majority opposition has developed only recently as liberals pushed societal norms away from long-standing values.

Let’s look at them one by one.

Hillary Clinton-Hating

In describing the public’s opinion of Hillary Clinton, the words “distrust” and “dislike” are better fits. Sixty-seven percent of voters distrusted her. Quora, a left-leaning website, reported that even among Democrats her popularity declined precipitously as her 2016 campaign wore on to its disastrous end. Even back in 2008, Hillary Clinton was the most disliked candidate in her party.

If disliking and distrusting Hillary Clinton makes one “hard right,” lots of Americans are over there.

Anti-Affordable Care Act

The un-Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was the least popular piece of major social legislation in history. It singlehandedly led to massive Republican gains in Congress and in state legislatures.

A majority of voters are anti-Affordable Care Act. Is the majority “hard right?”

Fiscal Conservative

Fiscal conservatism depends on which foot the political shoe is on. Allow me to quote a well-known fiscal conservative expressing his opposition to increasing the national debt ceiling:

Raising the debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. We now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our reckless fiscal policies…

We will spend more on interest this year on our debt than we will on education, homeland security, transportation and veteran’s benefits combined…

The Senate continues to reject a return to common sense pay-as you-go rules….

– Sen. Barack Obama, 2006

Eighty-five percent of Americans agree with then Sen. Obama and believe the federal government should be required to balance its budget. That’s a lot of folks over on the “hard right.”

Anti-marijuana legalization

The percentage of Americans in favor of legalizing marijuana has gradually increased since the 1960s. In 2013 for the first time a majority were in favor while 39 percent were opposed.

It’s quite a stretch to claim that 39 percent of Americans are “latched onto the outer edges of the far, far right.”

Global-warming disbelieving

Semantics confuse this issue. In almost all cases, those accused of climate change denial, including President Trump, don’t deny that warming is taking place. Instead they want to wait until scientists sort out how much warming is man-made and how much is naturally occurring.

A large number of scientists are in the wait-and-see camp, including me, since science can’t explain why no warming took place between 1998 and 2014, a period when carbon dioxide emissions increased 25 percent. If scientists can’t explain the pause, they can’t explain the cause.

While we wait, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions continue to fall dramatically contrary to what the media would have the public believe.

Nonetheless, progressives call any scientist or politician a “denier” who is not willing to attribute all warming to man-made carbon dioxide.

Read more: Right On: Liberals’ global warming fetish and Right On: Earth Day illiteracy

Planned Parenthood-hating

Planned Parenthood provides a variety of health services but like it or not it has become the poster child for abortion.

Abortion is perhaps the country’s most divisive issue and not necessarily a left-right issue. Americans have been about evenly split between anti-abortion, or pro-life, and pro-abortion, or pro-choice, camps for many years.

Tom Perez, the new Democratic Party chair, insists that all Democrats must be pro-choice. I guess that means half the country is “hard right.”

Same-sex marriage opposing

So who changed positions on this fast-changing issue?

In 1996 the Defense of Marriage Act passed the House 342-67, passed the Senate 85-14 and was signed by President Bill Clinton. Even staunch LGBT-rights supporters voted for DOMA arguing for legal recognition short of traditional marriage.

Our entertainment media now portray LGBT lifestyles as the “new normal” and public opinion has changed. As the adage goes, first we abhor, then we tolerate, then we embrace.

Both Obama and Hillary Clinton “evolved” from feigned abhorrence to embracing but not until after the 2012 election. Even the Supreme Court, divided 5-4, showed it is influenced by popular opinion, declaring parts of DOMA unconstitutional in 2013. I am quite sure it would have been ruled constitutional in 1996.

Does holding a consistent, mainstream opinion on marriage for the last 20 years – an opinion once shared by leading Democrats and still shared by over 37 percent of Americans – make one “hard right?” Only for those moving left at a high rate of speed.

I am confident that a majority of Utahns, including me, fit all seven of these descriptions. I wouldn’t be surprised if as many as one-third of all Americans would check yes to all seven descriptions. I call these mainstream conservative views.

At the same time, I don’t demonize liberals who reject all seven by calling them “latched onto the outer edges of the far, far left.” Disagreeing with me doesn’t make someone a demon.

Throwing around phrases like “hard right” and “extreme left” contributes to hollowing out the political center. Be suspicious of those who do.

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • dogmatic June 8, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Good article Howard. Ed Kociela’s predictions are 99% wrong and his characterizations of the right are always extreme. Eddy is so far out of touch it’s laughable.
    I’m looking forward to your future articles Howard, keep up the good work.

    • Utahguns June 8, 2017 at 11:43 am

      As “dogmatic” points out, Howard Sierert did write an exceptional article and I agree with dogmatic’s opinion.
      Lets take it one step farther on a few other topics:
      Many on the left believe that the death penalty is barbaric and does not deter crime. Meanwhile, the right generally believes that certain crimes deserve death as a punishment, somewhat akin to the “an eye for an eye” doctrine.
      Proponents believe that:
      * The death penalty is an effective deterrent against crimes, especially crimes of a heinous nature.
      * The death penalty is an appropriate punishment for perpetrators of heinous crimes. The alternative — life in prison — would only mean spending taxpayer dollars to keep them confined, fed and provide healthcare services to them.
      * Victims and their families deserve justice; often they can only get closure when the perpetrator is put to death.

      Opponents of the death penalty cite the following reasons for their position:
      * Several people on death row were innocent and have been exonerated. The justice system is not perfect and it would be wrong to kill an innocent person. (Shall we include abortions?)
      * It is inhuman to take a life, even that of a murderer. (Tell that to the families of murder victims)
      * Minorities and poor people are given the death penalty in disproportionately larger numbers, so criminals with means can escape death row. (With all the appeal processes, it already takes 8 to 12 years for a criminal to receive justice.)
      It’s not so much about how heinous the crime is but how much the defendant can afford to spend on lawyers.

      Many on the “right” support Voter ID laws to combat voter fraud, which seems to be quite popular these days.
      The “left” is against Voter ID laws citing “an undue burden on lower income groups causing them to be disenfranchised”. (Seriously ? Seems there’s no problem with showing your ID to cash a paycheck or check into a hotel…)

      On Economic Policy, the “right” wants lower taxes and less regulation on businesses, reduced government spending and a balanced budget. The “left” embraces extreme measures toward income equality, higher tax rates on the wealthy, more government spending on social programs and infrastructure (through higher taxes) and stronger more stringent regulations on business.

      I tend to side with Howard on categorically where he said he falls. However, it seems popular for some readers to condemn others here on this site as “hillbillies”, “whacko nut jobs” and successful entrepreneurs as “clowns” just because maybe they are extremely envious, lack the ability to truly see things as they are or are just “one taco short of a combination plate”.

      I also am looking forward to Howard’s future articles. Once again Howard, keep up the good work.

      • comments June 8, 2017 at 1:20 pm

        Ok, guns. You and I are probly on the same page with a lot, the billionaire oligarch class, who a lot on the right will call ” successful entrepreneurs” are nothing more than elitist parasites who’ve found ways to game the system. There are, of course, successful entrepreneurs who’ve made millions, tens of millions even, and they’ve done it legitimately while providing jobs to citizens and benefiting the US (not china, or the globalists). But let’s be real, the billionaire class of oligarchs and the political elite of our country have become mostly bloodsucking parasites. Keep in mind, Mr. Howard Sierer is a full-on globalist. This means he puts the interests of multi-national business before the interest of American citizens, and Howard is all too typical of the current mainstream Republican party, also known as ‘RINOs’.

        • comments June 8, 2017 at 1:23 pm

          Ok, guns. You and I are probly on the same page with a lot, *but the billionaire oligarch class…

          oops, forgot the *but


          • Utahguns June 8, 2017 at 4:23 pm

            ….it looks like we have some things in common.

  • Conserve June 8, 2017 at 12:08 pm


  • comments June 8, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    As a dem voter and sort of a “liberal” (if you use the term loosely) let me go thru some of these

    Hillary Clinton-Hating: I hate hillary

    Anti-Affordable Care Act: The ACA was written by and for the multi-billion dollar insurance industry. Why are we surprised it didn’t turn out so great?

    Fiscal Conservative: Repubs fail at this every bit as much as dems (again go back to the 8 year reign of baby bush the 2nd)

    Anti-marijuana legalization: Cannabis’s reputation is still plagued with the images of 1960s hippies and stoner, basement-dwelling millennials. Even these hardcore UT LDS’ers may come to realize it’s legitimate medical use some day, or maybe the mormons just love their opioids too much?

    Global-warming disbelieving: Problem with right-wing wingnuts in my book is failure to address water, air, and environmental pollution and degradation. At the end of the day greed takes priority. I’m on the fence w/ the actual “globalized warming”.

    Planned Parenthood-hating: So many of these folks getting abortions with PP are so unfit to be parents I feel like it’s the best thing. Probably keeps a lot of future prison inmates from being born. In bad taste? yes, but you gotta be pragmatic.

    Same-sex marriage opposing: homosexual marriage is disgusting. If they wanted to do ‘legal unions’ (or some such thing) maybe, but the whole idea of calling it marriage is toilet thinking. homosexual marriage and the mainstreaming of transgenderism/ transexualism(which I think is a severe mental illness) has been pushed hard by a fully zionist agenda in the last decade or so. They’ve forced it into hollywood, movies, TV, music, basically all of the media they control, and they’ve pushed it hard. Giving zionists any sort of moral authority in any context will end badly. Lessons learned from the Weimar Republic have obviously been forgotten.

    • comments June 8, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      Oh, and too bad Howard is such a globalist neo-con/neo-liberal. You aint a real conservative, Howard. Maybe someday he’ll get his head screwed on right.

    • comments June 8, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Just a followup to put into context why I’m a dem voter. The R party has proven themselves time and time again to be the more corrupt and un-American of the two ruling parties, Of course, individually, there are good repub politicians, but we have to look at an overall agenda. The dems have gotten bad over the years, real bad, but I believe they are still a lesser evil, and that’s not saying much, but it is what it is.

    • Utahguns June 8, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      You know “comments”….it looks like we have some things in common.

    • voice of reason June 8, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      A “zionist agenda”? careful comments, your bigotry is showing again.

      • comments June 9, 2017 at 10:25 am

        What would you call them? If there’s a better term for them let us know…

  • BCM June 8, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    This is an opinion piece and everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. However, I have a major problem with the statement that scientists cannot explain the “global warming pause”. That is not true. There is no global warming pause. If you look at the temperatures over all of recorded human history there is an undeniable warming happening.
    Here’s a great video that explains it and includes the data and graphs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm8msUaTqnU

  • voice of reason June 8, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    I’m sick and tired of abortion being a cornerstone issue for the conservative movement. That is one of the many reasons I left the Republican Party. Or rather, the Republican party left me. Personal freedom and freedom of choice used to be important.

    • comments June 9, 2017 at 10:55 am

      It lures in a whole spectrum of religious nutters to vote for them. They’ll keep playing that card til it’s played out. The “religious right” in this country has a track record of being pretty dumb as a voting block–maybe extremely dumb. They got us 8 years of baby bush II. It doesn’t take a lot to get their votes. Just rail on about “the evils of PP and abortion”, obamacare and the socialist death panels, etc. They are very simple folk–a lot of good folk, but simple.

  • commonsense June 9, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Oh my! “Republicans are more corrupt”, wow. I don’t know where to start on this. Let’s start with Al Shapton: racist , tax dodger, nonprofit charity abuser and still out of jail. Or Hillary, Obama, Sanders, Schumer none of whom has ever had a job but are each worth millions.

    Fiscal responsibility (financial integrity) is unknown to Dems. Just take two blue states for example: California is $300 billion in debt (Utah has no debt) and Connecticut will have $5 billion shortfall this year alone and projects more of the same for next year. Oh yeh, Obama spending doubled the ND in 8 short years.

    Howard you nailed it. Republicans represent most normal and responsible Americans. Dems represent fringe. It’s that simple.

    • comments June 9, 2017 at 11:57 pm

      ok dope, 8 years of a republican regime under bush the second and the republicans brought the entire economy to near total collapse. It seems the dems spend a lot of time cleaning up after years of failed republican policy. Yes, this was 9 years ago, but it was also the last time we had a republican administration. Problem with you wingnutters is you’ve got memories like goldfishes. A collapsed economy! It’s almost as if they were trying for it thru their unrelenting greed and corrupt policies. They brought us right to the edge. Remember $4.50 a gallon gas? It was a long time ago but I do. And guess who was responsible? repubs. UT is a fairly well managed state, I’ll give u that, but at a national level the R-party is an abysmal failure. cheers to u, buddy 😉

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