Political Identification

Is America Shifting from Center-Right to Center-Libertarian?

Social issues shift in ballot initiatives, but budget conservatism still supported


Many debates have broken out about the meaning of last week's election, including over whether conservatives should still push their claim that America is a "center-right nation."

That claim suggests that the conservative message remains the correct one for most Americans and that Mitt Romney failed to articulate it in losing by 3.3 million votes to Barack Obama. Other voices on the right say, however, the Republican Party has failed to capture the center and needs to moderate its views to regain its winning form in national elections.

On one level, this amounts to a semantic piffle. But the argument is not entirely inconsequential because words are important in political messaging and the "center-right" feud relates directly to whether the GOP will reform or offer up more of the same.