An ongoing shift of influence to the ideological poles of our political parties has already produced its share of odd events.
For example, the groundswell of opinion that forced Trent Lott out of his position as Senate Majority Leader actually involved more than simple outrage at the inappropriateness of his remarks at Strom Thurmond’s retirement party, where he had suggested the country might have been better off under Thurmond and his segregationist platform. A significant behind-the-scenes force in the drive to oust Lott was actually the frustration of conservatives, who didn’t consider him far enough to the right.
Trent Lott not conservative enough? The prospect may sound absurd to many Americans, especially since there are only a tiny number of Senators more conservative than Lott. Yet we have reached the point where such sentiments can in fact derail a major political career.
This phenomenon is not unique to Republicans. Large numbers of ordinary, middle-class Americans who are just trying to make enough money for a good home to raise their children in have already written off the Democrats as not interested in anybody but feminists, gays, and minorities.
What's left for those of us in the middle?