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America’s national elite has become leftist, and it’s time that Idaho’s establishment pushed back

America’s national elite has become leftist, and it’s time that Idaho’s establishment pushed back

Fred Birnbaum
September 21, 2023
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September 21, 2023

There is a political phenomenon we should all find interesting. Look at how the term “extremist” is used to describe those Republican officeholders in Idaho and nationally who don’t hew to the establishment narrative. Those who are called “extremists” are consistently opposed to the notions: 

  • That America is systematically racist;
  • That minors should be allowed to attempt to change their genders if so inclined;
  • That biological males who identify themselves as females can participate in women’s sports and use female bathroom facilities;
  • That abortion — especially abortion up until the baby is at full term — should be permissible;
  • That government solves all problems, and more programs and more people on those programs are a measure of helpfulness;
  • That massive increases in government spending are the new normal;
  • That allowing virtually everyone on the globe to show up at the border and claim asylum constitutes an effective border policy, something that every president before the Biden era opposed.

But what leaves me scratching my head is that those who support the above list are never called extreme by the establishment nationally and seem to dodge slings and arrows in Idaho, too. In fact, the establishment elite is openly driving these policies, and while these notions aren’t embraced by the Idaho establishment, many of them are more perturbed by those Idaho Republicans who openly and consistently repudiate these policies. 

The strongest voice in dissent, outside of the rightist elements of the Legislature, has been Idaho’s Attorney General Raul Labrador, who has engaged in a number of lawsuits against the Biden administration policies. Governor Brad Little has issued many letters and a couple of lawsuits pushing back but hasn’t called for Biden’s impeachment. And frankly the governor has refrained from sending a clear message by not calling for the end of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) bureaucracies in Idaho’s Colleges and Universities, for example. 

Doesn’t anyone wonder why this shift among the elites has filtered into every nook and cranny of the Democratic party? And sadly, this leftist shift doesn't get enough pushback from establishment Republicans like Utah’s junior senator Mitt Romney, who can’t seem to stop talking about how bad Trump is.

I ask this because people seem to forget that as a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama stated that he opposed gay marriage and only favored civil unions among gay couples. He was asked this question several times throughout his presidency, finally flip-flopping in 2012. The larger point is that you can’t find any major political figure who even addressed boys using the girls’ room or gender transitions for minors back when President Obama broke onto the national stage, yet now President Biden supports all of these ideas as a matter of national policy, despite positioning himself as a centrist!

When we speak of elites, we are including the nation’s wealthiest and best-educated (credentialed) citizens. Nine of the top ten wealthiest congressional districts are represented by Democrats. Three of the wealthiest ten are adjacent to the nation’s capital: Maryland’s 8th and Virginia’s 10th and 11th congressional districts. 

These three districts had a 2021 median household income average of $133,589, more than double the median income of Idaho’s two congressional districts, at $66,687.

The wealth of these districts is only part of the story. Their leftward shift is even more interesting, particularly those districts in counties adjacent to Washington, D.C.: Montgomery County, Maryland, and Fairfax County, Virginia.

Montgomery County went for Ronald Reagan in 1984, giving him a win with just 50% of the vote. By 2012, when the moderate Mitt Romney ran, he only got 27%. Trump received a mere 19% in 2020. So, from voting for Reagan to giving Joe Biden a supermajority. This county’s largest employer was and is the government, with the National Institute of Health based here as part of the US Health and Human Services conglomerate. Montgomery County is not unsurprisingly an epicenter for biotechnology and biomedical research.

Fairfax County went for Reagan in 1984 with 63% of the vote, yet by 2012, the more moderate Romney only got 39% of the vote, and Trump got 28% in 2020. Like her Maryland cousin, Fairfax’s largest employer is the government, with both Fort Belvoir and the CIA headquarters located in the county. In addition, Fairfax County is the headquarters of many Fortune 500 companies, including defense and technology companies like Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics. 

What all of this means is quite startling. The two major urban counties next to the nation’s capital, which employ scores of federal civilian workers, many military service members, and a large swath of defense, technology, and medical corporations, are unwavering supporters of today’s leftist Democratic Party. 

The battle of ideas among the D.C. elite has been lost to leftist elements of the Democratic Party. That is not to say that everyone who lives in this region is aligned with these ideas, but large majorities clearly are. 

There are those who will bristle and claim that Trump pushed these people away, but my earlier review of the voting evolution says otherwise. Mitt Romney, never identified with rightist elements of the Republican party, got creamed here in 2012 before Trump even showed up. 

This is not to say that conservatives should abandon D.C. and not attempt to send “extremist” Republicans to try to roll back the damage.

What it does suggest is the battle of ideas has shifted to the states, like Idaho. The establishment here in Idaho ought to be clear about who they see as a bigger threat: their own party brethren or the D.C. monolith sending unconstitutional and destructive policies our way. If the establishment believes that simply doing “Biden light” by allowing DEI to flourish in public institutions, Medicaid expansion to go unchallenged, and loan forgiveness on a smaller scale — e.g., just for nurses and not all college students — then the battle will be lost. Idaho needs to establish a robust opposition to these leftist ideas at the foundational level, based on first principles, and not merely adopt more saleable versions of them. 

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